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Is $299 Too Much To Get Listed?

By Sage Lewis
Posted Friday, October 22, 2004

When it comes to marketing on the search engines, LookSmart has always been mandatory as far as SageRock is concerned. But now the choice isn't quite as ironclad. The reason is because they have recently increased the cost of their "Express Submit" program from $199 to $299. This service guarantees they will review your site within two business days. They also have a "Basic Submit" program that will get your site reviewed in eight weeks. This program went from $99 to $149.

But the paying doesn't end there. LookSmart has multiple ways for you to spend your cash. You are able to use the "Express Submit" program for up to 5 different URL's of your site. This is handy if you have distinctly different sections of your site. Each URL will cost you $299.

Additionally, if you are not happy with your LookSmart listing you can now utilize the "Express Modify" program. You are able to change your description for $199 and you are able to add an additional category in the LookSmart directory for your site for $149. However, if you are changing the address of your site you must use the $299 "Express Submit" option.

For those of you with a healthy marketing budget you can get involved with the "LookListings" program. This starts at $2500 a month for a pay-for-performance program.

Why all the aggressive pricing options? Jupiter Media Metrix, a leading Internet and new technology analysis and measurement company, reported in June 2001 that the LookSmart Network reaches 77% of Internet users in the US, through 5 of the top 10 portals, 5 of the top 10 ISPs, and hundreds of additional ISP and media partners worldwide. These partners include Microsoft's MSN, Excite@Home, AltaVista, iWon, NetscapeNetcenter, Inktomi and AOL Time Warner just to name a few.

The plus-side of all these pricing options is that they are onetime fees (except for the "LookListings" program). Once you pay your money then you aren't obligated to spend any more. So chances are, you are going to get your money's worth over the long haul. Additionally, being listed in a LookSmart category is probably going to help your popularity in the eyes of other search engines.

However, there are times where you might not see much value. There are certain categories that have very long lists of alphabetically organized sites. If you are a metals part maker, for example, and the name of your company begins with "W" you are going to be buried in 6 pages of alphabetically organized pages. You can see exactly what I mean here:
(http://www.looksmart.com/eus1/eus317829/eus317864/eus77825/eus266177/e us298950/r?l&)
Chances are, your site is not going to be found too often amidst all of the other sites.

In the world of marketing, $299 is not a lot of money - especially for the sweeping presence LookSmart provides and the fact that once you are in the directory you are in for good. Also, in this new Internet economy we are likely to see more price increases as companies scramble to find viable business models. 9 out of 10 times LookSmart is going to be a wise investment. My recommendation is to do a bit of research to see where you are likely going to be listed. If your category defines your company well and you will get a decent positioning in that category based on where your company name will fall alphabetically then LookSmart is probably going to give you a nice traffic boost.

About the Author
Sage Lewis, founder and president of the web promotion firm SageRock.com. He has been employed as an Internet Strategist and design/promotion consultant for 5 years. To subscribe to SageRock's marketing newsletter, send a blank message to sagerock- subscribe@egroups.com or visit the company's site at (www.sagerock.com).