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"Who's In, Who's Out in the Continuing Saga of the Search Engine/Directory Wars"

By Merle
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004

There have been a lot of changes on the search engine front in the past year. So many that it's hard to keep track of who's still a major player and who isn't in the search engine game. With so many turning to "Pay for Submission and Pay per Click" models, there aren't a lot left that still accept free submissions. And of those that do,it's hard to tell exactly which ones are worth your time.

Let's review the list to see who's still standing, who's charging and who isn't:

1) Yahoo: (http://add.yahoo.com/fast/add?+Business)

This is not an engine, but a directory where listings are added by real humans. With over a million listings, Yahoo is considered the largest directory online today. All commercial sites must pay a $299.00 fee to submit to "Yahoo Express" per year. Adult sites must pay $600.00 for submission. Be careful, though -- if they don't like your site they keep your fee. Yes, you heard it right. Even if they don't approve of your site and add it to the directory they do not refund your submission fee.

Paying Yahoo for submission is not the only way to get listed there. They also pull the top three bid positions from Overture (formerly Goto.com) and display them at the top of the search results pages. Yahoo calls those listings "Sponsor Matches,"and also runs more Overture listings at the bottom of the page,under the heading "More Sponsored Matches."

2) Altavista: (http://altavista.com/addurl/)

Reaches over 45 million visitors worldwide and one of the few still offering free submission. However, inclusion - if you are accepted - can take a while. But you can ensure that your site will be placed quickly by opting for their "Express Inclusion" service. For six months, one URL submission will run you $39.00, with 2-10 URL's for an additional $29.00 each.

Altavista also displays Overture's top 4 bid positions at the top of the search results page, under the heading "Products and Services." These listings include descriptions.And Altavista runs more Overture results at the bottom of the page. These are just clickable links without descriptions.

3) Google: (http://www.google.com/addurl.html)

Still a Net favorite, Google is used more than 150 million times a day for searches. Free submission is still an option. Google also provides results to other engines and directories such as Netscape Search, Yahoo and AOL Search. They recently launched their own "Pay Per Click" program, called "Ad Words Select." This allows you to bid on key phrases or words, and when someone searches for those words, your text ad is shown in the right-hand column on the search results page. For more on this go to: (https://adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=Login)

Ad Words Select will cost you 5.00 and a credit card number to get your site enrolled. Google is also the exclusive provider of sponsored links to AOL Search, pulling the sponsored links from its Ad Words Select Program. The top 3 ads will be displayed as sponsored links on AOL.Netscape will begin displaying Google's Ad Words sponsored links come August of 2002.

4) Inktomi: (http://www.inktomi.com/products/web_search/submit.html)

Provides results to many engines and directories such as Iwon, MSN, Hotbot, and more. Each URL submission will cost you $39.00 per year and only $25.00 a year for each URL thereafter.The benefit of listing with Inktomi is the exposure your site will receive with its search partners.

5) The Open Directory Project: (http://dmoz.org/add.html)

Also known as DMOZ, the ODP is hosted and administered by Netscape Communication Corp. All submissions are reviewed by a human before being added to the directory and each category has what is called an "ODP Editor" who is responsible for that category.

DMOZ provides results to many search partners, such as All The Web, DirectHit, HotBot, Google, Lycos, Altavista, etc. Submission is free, although cumbersome. You'll have to drill down to find the appropriate category to submit to, then click the "add URL" link located at the top of the page.

6) Overture: (formerly known as Goto.com) (http://www.overture.com/)

Solely a Pay Per Click search engine, with Overture you choose key words/ phrases that you want your site to appear under and try to outbid the competition for a top billing. The higher you bid,the higher your URL on the search results page. They have a $20.00 a month spending minimum and a minimum bid of 0.05 per keyword/phrase.

The biggest benefit of being listed here is the relationship that Overture has with some of the other major search engines /directories. Basically, if you bid into the top 3 or 4 positions, your site will also enjoy top listings in Yahoo, Altavista, MSN, Lycos, Infospace, Ask Jeeves, CNET and more. Generally, these listings are shown as "sponsored links" at the top of their search results page. Trying to get those top bid positions is well worth it with the type of exposure you'll receive on some of the majors. They recently lost the contract to supply sponsored links to AOL Search, but they do still provide search results for AOL's Europe Net properties in the UK, France and Germany.

7) Excite: (http://www.Excite.com)

Once a major player, Excite now resembles more of a Portal since being bought out a few years ago by @home, which subsequently went bankrupt. Search results are now pulled from Overture and Looksmart. As you can no longer submit directly to Excite, if you want to be listed here you'll need to open an account with one of the above to make an appearance.

8) LookSmart: (http://www.LookSmart.com)

A directory compiled by humans providing results to MSN, Iwon, Altavista, and others. Some of Looksmart's listings come from Inktomi as a back up. Now strictly a Pay Per Click directory, it will cost you a $49.00 set-up fee and .15 per click thru with a minimum of $150.00 account deposit. Looksmart angered a lot of its users when they announced this change. It remains to be seen if this policy shift results in the death of Looksmart or turns out to be a smart business decision.

A new agreement has just been signed which will allow LookSmart's listings to appear on InfoSpace's meta-search product over at Excite and WebCrawler.com . Looksmart also provides results to InfoSpace's other sites (http://www.Metacrawler.com) and (http://www.Dogpile.com)

9) AOL Search: (http://search.aol.com/)

Recently signed with Google to use their search results and to display their sponsored links from their "Ad Words Select Program." Listings also come from The Open Directory Project. You can submit at ODP, or search through the categories at AOL and find the best fit and click the "submit a site" link at the bottom of the page, which will take you over to the ODP for submission. The top 3 sponsored links on AOL's search results page are pulled from the top 3 ads in Google's Ad Words Select Program.

10) Hotbot (http://hotbot.lycos.com/addurl.asp)

Hotbot is owned by Lycos and is presently making some changes to their free submission page - how they will affect you remains to be seen. Results on Hotbot also come from Direct Hit and some from Inktomi and the ODP. You can also add your listing here by submitting to Lycos at (http://searchservices.lycos.com/searchservices/)

You can still submit for free, but you'll have to sign up as a member of Lycos first before they'll let you have the privilege. Hotbot also displays the top 3 results from Overture on their search results page.

11) MSN Search: (http://search.msn.com/)

MSN Search pulls results from Looksmart, then when no more listings are found they pull from Inktomi's database. They also pull some results from Overture.com which they display at the bottom of the page called "Web Pages."

You can't submit directly to MSN; you'll have to submit to Looksmart at (http://listings.looksmart.com/?synd=zdd&chan=zddresults) to show up here.

12) Ask Jeeves: (http://askjeeves.com/)

A different sort of directory where you perform searches by asking a question. There are two ways to get listed. The free way is to send an email to url@askjeeves.com with a URL and a brief description of your site. The other way is to go to (http://ask.ineedhits.com) and pay for inclusion. The first URL will run you $30.00; 2 or more only $18.00. The subscription period is 15 months. Since Ask Jeeves also owns Teoma, paying for submission will get you listed there, too.

Ask Jeeves also displays "Sponsored Links" on their results pages, with the top 4 bid positions from Overture being displayed there.

13) Netscape Search: (http://search.netscape.com/)

Results on Netscape come from The ODP and Netscape itself. Starting in August of 2002, the "Partner Search Results" that are displayed will be pulled from the top bids at Google's Ad Words Select Program. Overture had the contract to supply sponsored links but recently lost out to Google. However, you'll still see Overture's links being displayed until August.

To get your site listed you can submit at The ODP (http://dmoz.org/add.html)

14) Teoma: AKA Direct Hit (http://www.teoma.com/)

Formerly called Direct Hit, this is now owned by Ask Jeeves and renamed Teoma. These guys are now positioning themselves to give Google a run for its money. Teoma also provides search results to Hotbot. Sponsored results are also pulled from Overture and displayed at the top of their search results pages.

The only way to submit directly to Teoma is to pay for submission at (http://ask.ineedhits.com/) The first URL will run you $30.00, 2 or more URL's only 18.00 each for 15 months.

15) Lycos: (http://searchservices.lycos.com/searchservices/)

Lycos also owns Hotbot. Some of their listings come from The ODP, Fast Search/AllTheWeb with sponsored listings shown at the top of the search results pages coming from Overture.com.

You can submit for free at.... (http://searchservices.lycos.com/searchservices/lite_step1.aspor) or opt for "Lycos InSite Select" pay submission, with an annual membership fee of $18.00 and annual cost per URL of $12.00. If you go the pay route you are guaranteed inclusion within 48 hours of submission.

16) AllTheWeb.com: (http://www.alltheweb.com/)

Owned by Fast Search, you can still submit your site for free with no guarantee of inclusion at (http://www.alltheweb.com/add_url.php) Some of AllTheWeb's search results are pulled directly from The ODP and Fast Search.

There you have it, the who's and what's of who's still playing in the search engine games. Search engines /directories are always in a state of flux and it's quite possible by the time you read this some of the information I've gathered for you may have changed. To keep abreast of the changes I strongly suggest these sites and subscribing to their newsletters:

Search Engine Watch (http://www.searchenginewatch.com/) Search Engine Guide (http://www.searchengineguide.com/) Search Engine Headlines (http://www.searchengineheadlines.com/)

Bruce Clay has an excellent chart that shows the relationships of the search engines and who's feeding off of who that is continually updated at:(http://bruceclay.com/searchenginechart.pdf)

You need to be quick to keep up with all of the changes in this field so pay attention, because "Times they are a Changing" FAST!

About the Author
Merle (http://www.EzineAdAuction.com) "Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made" Buy & Sell Ezine Ads in a live auction setting! Publishers sell off your excess inventory and Buyers pick up some Fantastic bargains. Go now!