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Why Ask Jeeves Dropped Paid Inclusion

Why Ask Jeeves Dropped Paid Inclusion

Ask Jeeves has recentl decided to go against the Yahoo grain and cancel one of its programs that allowed companies to pay to have hard-to-index information on their Web sites updated frequently and included in the Ask Jeeves search engine index, a company official said Wednesday.

Yahoo recently made news with their hybrid Site Match Paid Inclusion service, however Ask Jeeves gave Resource Shelf´s Gary Price the following reasons why they have voted against the paid inclusion model.

1. Relevance. This is the main reason why we are eliminating Index Express. After considerable testing, we found that this program impacted the relevance of our search results. The reason, we believe, is that Index Express introduces structured (inorganic) data into an otherwise unstructured (organic) Web environment and the inconsistent data feeds are difficult to rank. Since our top priority remains providing users with the most relevant search results on the Web, and we have worked hard to achieve world-class search results over the past two years, we made the decision to eliminate it.

2. Revenue. We determined that Paid Inclusion – as it exists today – is not the most efficient monetization vehicle for a search engine and dropping Index Express will not have a material impact on revenue for the company. Additionally, we know that user experience drives searches, and increasing search volume is ultimately the best monetization strategy.

3. There must be a better way. Ask Jeeves supports some of the fundamental premises that paid inclusion is based on, notably the need to acquire deep-web content, and the right of search engines to share in the value they create for businesses. However, we have concluded that our Index Express program is not the right model to solve either of these issues.

It is also important to note that while Ask Jeeves is eliminating our Index Express program, we are keeping our Site Submit program in place. Site Submit allows web site owners to pay a fee, per URL submitted, for immediate inclusion of their site into the Ask Jeeves search engine, if the site passes inspection (sites are rejected for spam, porn, etc). Some customers also choose to have their sites refreshed on a more frequent basis. These are actual, organic Web sites who are simply paying to shorten the amount of time it takes for our engine to crawl their sites. We believe this program will continue to be useful to both search engines, users, and site owners. We also believe the model for this program avoids the pitfalls of Index Express, which is why this program has not historically been a hot button issue for those inside or outside the industry.

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Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]

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