AltaVista Opens Paid Inclusion

After months of talking about it, AltaVista finally unveiled a paid inclusion program recently. Similar to the program Inktomi began offering last September, this one guarantees that submitted pages will be listed within AltaVista’s Web page index in a prompt manner and will be revisited on a regular basis.

AltaVista has hinted that it was going to offer paid inclusion since late last year and even accidentally posted pages promoting its “bulk inclusion” program when it introduced its “ransom note” Add URL puzzle system back in March. The company has finally followed through on this by launching its new Express Inclusion program.

The program allows you to submit up to 500 URLs that will be visited on a weekly basis. This means that a brand new page submitted to AltaVista through the program should show up in about week and changes to existing pages should be reflected in about a week.

AltaVista’s pricing is more expensive than Inktomi’s paid inclusion program — much more — starting at $78 per year for the first URL and then dropping in price for additional ones, as follows:

  • URL 1: $78
  • URLs 2-10: $48.00 each
  • URLs 11-100: $38.00 each
  • URLs 101-500: $24.00 each

AltaVista actually sells its service on a six-month basis, so you can get started with paid inclusion for half the prices shown on the list above. I’ve changed the figures to yearly pricing so you can more easily compare to Inktomi’s paid inclusion prices, which are by the year.

Inktomi’s current charges, as sold through Position Technologies, are:

  • URL 1: $30
  • URLs 2-20: $15 each
  • URLs 21-1,000: $12 each

As you can see, AltaVista’s prices are easily double what Inktomi charges. To include 25 pages for a year with Inktomi would be $378, while at AltaVista the same number of pages for the same time period would be $1,090 — almost three times what Inktomi charges.

In short, more than $1,000 for 25 pages — and no guarantee that they will bring in any traffic. Rather than taking that gamble, it might make more sense to put the money into AltaVista’s separate paid listing program or into GoTo.com listings, which are carried on AltaVista’s pages.

Remember, you can continue to use the free Add URL page to add new pages to AltaVista. Now called “Basic Submit,” its downside is that you have to enter a “ransom note” message for each batch of five URLs that you add. In addition, the former weekly insertion schedule has now been downgraded to 4 to 6 weeks to make the paid inclusion program more attractive. Of course, that’s not out of line with the corresponding delay at Inktomi. The biggest drawback is simply the uncertainty. There’s no guarantee that your pages will get picked up.

Before you panic, remember that AltaVista is also continuing to add pages for free through its regular crawling. It also still promises to revisit pages in its index each month. That means you may already have plenty of pages listed, and they should stay there despite the addition of the paid inclusion program. Nor will those nonpaid pages be downgraded in relevancy.

“We’re not going to penalize in relevance the people who are adding through free Add URL,” said Chris Kermoian, director of search and Web marketing services for AltaVista. “We’ll also still go through our standard crawling process.”

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