To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question | WebReference

To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question


To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question

By Alison Berke Morano (

Okay, so the cards are on the table. There is basically no way into the top search engines without paying for it in SOME way.

I know, I know, search engines are supposed to be free and everyone has a level playing field when it comes to listings and "He (or she) Who Has the Best Meta Tags" wins. But, it's now more than that. Your well-developed meta tags still count for a lot, but if you even want them looked at, you're going to have to pay for it.

Two search engines (Yahoo! & LookSmart) ask for money just to be considered for inclusion. Others offer ways to 'buy yourself to the top or purchase additional advertising in your categories or you might just get there through your keywords.

You could say that you're standing firm, and refuse to give in to the extortion, and keep submitting the regular, old-fashioned way, through the free submission pages or by using submission software. But, at this point, with some search engines actually blackballing you from using their own submission pages (e.g. Inktomi), you have an uphill climb on your hands.

So, if you are trying to decide where your money should go, what the best Return-On-Investment (ROI) is, and who to give your hard-earned money to, there are a few must-do submission payments you should make:

  1. Yahoo! ( - Yahoo!'s $199 for submission is the ONLY way you're going get into their top-level categories. Even though they say that the money only guarantees 'consideration' for your listing, it's a pretty good bet that you'll get into their directory if you do it correctly. (For Yahoo! Submission tips, please see my page

    Experience Notes: After submitting several Web sites to Yahoo! using their Express service – these are my helpful hints:

    1. Save your "Yahoo! Listing [Order #xxxxx]" e-mail – this comes when your listing has been accepted into the directory. It has a unique return e-mail address that you will need if you want to make a change, or "appeal" the listing they give you.
    2. They have yet to place my listings correctly. Three different times a site I submitted was added to a "Yahoo! Local" category and not a top level category. (The "Get Local" categories are supposedly still free to get into). I've had to go through the APPEALS process to fix these errors -
    3. You get 1 (one) chance to fix your listing if it's not added to the directory properly. They call this the APPEALS process and you must write to the original e-mail address that you received with your Yahoo! Listing e-mail mentioned above.

    If all else fails, I have gone so far as to actually call them on the phone and explain my position and beg for what I need.

    ***Additional Note about Yahoo!; once you're in the directory, Yahoo! also offers the opportunity to "Sponsor" your category. For prices ranging from $25 - $300/month (more for REALLY popular categories), you can have a text ad running in the Sponsored Sites area above the regular results. This is great if you're one of only 5 sponsors for that category. When the category has over 5 sponsors, and the ads are rotated each time the page comes up.

  2. LookSmart! ( - With 75% of Internet Search traffic, and alliances with: MSN, Alta Vista, Excite, iWon & CNN, $199 (or $99 for a basic submit, which can take up to 8 weeks) is also an excellent investment of your marketing $$.
  3. Inktomi ( Formerly one of the largest Search Engines out there, Inktomi now has secure listing results coming up in over 125 Search Engine partners, including: AOL, iWon, MSN & HotBot. For $20 per URL (& $10 for each additional page per URL) you will be listed in the directory in 24-48 hours, and they will RESPIDER your page every 48 hours.
  4. NBCi(,566,home-1078,00.html) - While NBCi (formerly Snap - a VERY popular Search Engine) doesn't charge to 'submit' your Web site, they are now offering a "Promote Your Site" option. For $199 (after March 1, 2001), they will guarantee that one of their live editors will review your Web site for inclusion in their 'recommended sites' listings. Since NBCi is a human-edited directory, your placement improves greatly if a live person has a hand in your listing.

The above are a few "must dos" for today Search Engine submissions, and please take note that "inclusion" in the Directory does not guarantee Top Placement. The only way to insure #1 positioning is through good meta tags & in the fast growing case of Pay-Per-Click & Sponsored Listings & "Shared Results":


Created: March 15, 2001
Revised: March 16, 2001