Lycos Paid Inclusion Woos Webmasters


Terra Lycos, the #4 portal, is launching a paid inclusion program for its search engine (powered by FAST Search). The new program is called Lycos InSite Select. Google is now the only remaining major spider engine without a paid inclusion option.

On the assumption that the Lycos search engine index is one of four major spider engines that are “musts” for web site marketers – Terra Lycos as a whole claims a global reach of 109 million monthly users – what’s the advantage of paid inclusion? The key is 48-hour guaranteed inclusion of all of a web site’s pages, and frequent respidering. While the unpaid database will remain a big part of the index, it isn’t guaranteed.

Pricing is similar to Inktomi paid inclusion; it’s based on the number of URL’s you want included.

Peter Gorman of FAST Search cited some interesting statistics for the paid inclusion service when it was recently piloted by FAST. 60% of the submitted sites classified themselves as primarily “content,” while only 35% claimed to be mainly “e-commerce” sites. 5% were adult sites. Frequent refresh and guaranteed inclusion are more likely to be vital services for e-commerce and adult sites, which are often shunned or poorly indexed by search engines, but as these numbers show, many webmasters with eminently spiderable content are seeking guaranteed inclusion. (Either these people enjoy losing money on free content, or their self-reporting as “content” doesn’t tell the whole story; I suspect the latter.)

Along with the paid inclusion announcement, Terra Lycos is promoting FAST-powered site search through a bundled offering called Lycos Insite Pro. Pro or Select customers will receive a newsletter covering search engine marketing issues, called Insites.

Corporate customers will no doubt be wondering if there is a special pricing option for larger sites, as is currently the case in special programs being offered by search providers like Inktomi and LookSmart. According to Tom Wilde, General Manager of Search Services for Terra Lycos, the company will soon roll out a “bulk inclusion” option for larger sites, probably to be priced on a per-click basis.

Paid inclusion, even if it is priced on a per-clickthrough basis, does not affect a site’s ranking on specific search key phrases. It only guarantees inclusion. The integrity of a search engine’s algorithm, therefore, is not compromised, and keyword stuffing and other tricks aimed at artificially boosting a page’s rank will still be penalized by the index.

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