AskJeeves is retiring its Site Submit paid inclusion program. The move, coming several months after the company dropped its Index Express XML-based inclusion offering, marks a complete withdrawal from the practice of allowing companies to pay for guaranteed indexing.
AskJeeves has also expanded email storage on its three portal brands, which it picked up through the acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings. Users of My Way, Excite and iWon’s basic email offerings will now be given 125 megabytes of storage. The expansion adds AskJeeves’ portals to the ranks of free, hosted email providers — including Yahoo and Hotmail — that are now scurrying to compete with Google’s one-gig Gmail, which is still in beta.
The Site Submit inclusion program is geared toward smaller advertisers, who pay an annual fee to submit their URLs for guaranteed crawling by AskJeeves’ engine. VP of Product Management Jim Lanzone said ending the program was a result of improved freshness in the search results achieved by its Teoma technology.
“Site submit was meant to accept URLs from site owners that we had missed, and to have an annual fee paid for that,” he said. “In terms of us being a younger search engine, we were not as big and did not refresh ourselves as often as the other two major engines. [Now] we’re getting to the point where it’s much more fresh and complete than it was.”
Lanzone said it did not expect the move to negatively affect its revenue, and added that wouldn’t be a legitimate concern even if it were true.
“Keeping this program alive just because people would pay for it would be hypocritical,” he said.
AskJeeves will stop offering Site Submit through its own site next month, but will continue to honor agreements signed through its resellers until the end of summer. Agreements last one year, so the final instances of index inclusion should theoretically occur in August or September 2005.
Site Submit is one of two paid inclusion offerings the company at one point offered. The other, a pay-per-click XML-based offering called Index Express, was folded during 2004’s first quarter. That kill-off was motivated by concerns that Index Express was impacting relevance within its results, AskJeeves said.
Lanzone said the company intends to make permanent its withdrawal from the paid inclusion space. “In terms of paying for entry into the index, we are out of that game for good,” he said.