Yahoo Announces Overture Site Match
At 6:00 pm on March 2nd, Yahoo announced their new paid inclusion program known as Site Match. At first launch, Yahoo! did nothing in the way of answering questions, and the whole process appeared to be very disorganized.
Essentially, this is what happened. Yahoo started a pay-per-inclusion program for their "free" search listings. This means that everything below the Overture-served "Sponsored Results" that once was free is now being sold for a price. Find out how this affects you. This pay-per-inclusion program is similar to what Inktomi has been using for the last few years. Inktomi charges a yearly fee to have your website included in their database and indexed every 48 hours. However, Yahoo’s new program has an interesting little spin. Not only do you pay $49.00 to be included in the database, you pay $.30 per click for traffic. This infuriated the majority of webmasters on the internet. People have no problem paying $49.00 to be included in the search engine for the year, but an additional $.30 for each click is outrageous. Many people viewed this as a slap in the face by the big corporation, and Yahoo! sure wasn’t answering any questions for the first few days.
Unfortunately, Site Match was launched during the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York, where various Yahoo executives were giving presentations of the future of search. It is said that during one such presentation (the day after Site Match was launched"), a woman stood up and confronted the Yahoo executives about Site Match. When she was done speaking, the audience applauded her! When we heard this, we knew we would be getting our answers soon, as Yahoo was getting loads of bad publicity during this launch.
A few days after, we started getting answers from a person known as "Tim" on a search engine forum we frequent. There is some speculation that "Tim" could be Tim Cadogan, VP of Search at Yahoo. At this point, Tim started explaining the program in more detail. Apparently, if you sign up for Site Match, your site gets included and reviewed by a human within 48 hours of submission. During this process, the editor determines if your site is worthy to include in the database. Once this is complete, your site is submitted and spidered by Yahoo, and ranked accordingly. According to Tim, being in the Site Match program gives your site no "bonus" in the free listings. This means not only do you have to optimize your site, and build link popularity, much like you do in Google, but you pay $.30 per click and for no more benefit to your position than if you were listed in Yahoo for free.
Shortly after the launch and after the Search Engine Strategies debacle, Yahoo decided to launch a page where you can submit your site for free. Yahoo claims that their goal is to spider sites aggressively during the next year to catch up to their competition; therefore, they are accepting free site submissions. Now this leaves a big question. Why would a person want to pay $49.00 per year and $.30 per click when you can get the same positioning for free? Apparently, by participating in Site Match you are paying for a "value-added" service. Your site gets spidered every 48 hours and you get a customer service rep who can give you "pointers" about how to get your site listed higher.
It is too early to tell if it is worth signing up for Site Match. We are testing it, and will have results soon. We feel that Yahoo’s entire business model with Site Match is doomed to fail. It is not difficult to imagine that some sites that are paying $.30 per click will be listed below ones that are not. Denying Site Match participants preferential ranking will cost Yahoo money. Furthermore, we don’t know of any website owner who will want to pay to be listed lower than his competition who’s listed for free."
At this time, we are recommending that our customers wait and see if Yahoo is going to keep this pricing structure, and if the Site Match participants really get no benefit from using this new service. On April 15. 2004, more changes are expected, so we probably won’t know what Yahoo is up to until that time. We know patience can be difficult while major changes are happening with the top search engines. However, we would like to remind you that this was our recommendation during the large scale Google changes in December 2003. It appears now that Google has fixed the mess they were in just a few months ago, and everything is back to normal.
For additional information on Yahoo’s new paid inclusion program please go to http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3320071 and http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3320161.