Lycos launches paid search and inclusion services
By Joris Evers
(IDG) -- Web portal company Terra Lycos SA introduced subscription services on Monday that include a hosted Lycos-powered search engine and inclusion in the Lycos search-engine database. The paid-for listings in the database will go incognito.
Paid inclusion is not new, with competitors such as AltaVista Inc. offering it. Hosted search-engine services are also nothing new; several search engine technology companies offer such services. It is the combination of the two that makes Lycos stand out, according to Terra Lycos General Manager of Search Services Tom Wilde.
"In terms of paid inclusion specifically, we're coming behind (the competition), but the combined offering of paid inclusion and site search is unique," he said.
Dubbed Lycos InSite Pro, $189 a month will get a Web site administrator a search engine hosted by Lycos for his Web site of up to 250 pages, and inclusion of those pages in the general Lycos index. The price tag for a larger site, between 250 and 500 pages, is $279 a month, Lycos said.
Lycos InSite Select is for Web site administrators seeking only promotion of their site. For $30 a year Lycos will add one URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to the Lycos search index and keep that listing fresh by retrieving details on the page every two days. Additional URLs cost $12 per year, Lycos said.
For companies submitting more than about 189 pages to the search engine, it will be cheaper to use Lycos InSite Pro than Lycos InSite Select, said Wilde.
When paid for, a URL will be added to the Lycos index within 48 hours, Lycos said. The paid listings won't be tagged as such on the Lycos search-engine results page. Some observers say this could put the integrity of the Lycos search engine at risk as users won't know which link was paid for and which one wasn't.
"You should show if a company has paid to be on the list. But there are no regulations in that area, so it is really up to the search engine," said Steffan Engdegard, an analyst with research firm Jupiter Media Metrix Inc., which ranks Terra Lycos' Web sites as the fourth most visited in the U.S. in December.
Lycos dismissed worries about the partiality of its search engine.
"Paid inclusion doesn't affect the ranking of an indexed site. We use the same relevancy algorithm for all the pages, regardless of whether they are paid or by regular inclusion," Wilde said.
Lycos will continue to accept free site submissions, but won't promise to include those sites or guarantee when they will be included. Inclusion could take up to 6 weeks, Wilde said.
Lycos InSite Select and Lycos InSite Pro, targeted at small and medium-size businesses, have been introduced for the Lycos sites in the U.S. and Germany. Further roll out of the service is planned, although Lycos could not give a schedule.
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