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Submit Express President Interviewed by LA Times

On March 5th 2004, LA Times published a story about the new Yahoo! Site Match pay-for-inclusion program on the front page of their Business section. Submit Express president, Pierre Zarokian, was contacted for an interview as an expert in the Search Engine Optimization industry.

Q: What is your opinion of the new Yahoo! Site Match Program?

A: Personally I think that the new pay for inclusion program will benefit some sites and will have no effect on some others. What people need to understand is that this new program gives absolutely no ranking boost. That is actually one thing that I am really upset about. I would have really liked to see a fee based program that boosted our client's rankings.

Yahoo is charging a "review" fee plus cost-per-click (CPC) charges. For the amount of money they charge, it would have been a good deal if you got a ranking boost. Everybody's saying "what is holding back Yahoo from giving these sites a boost", because there's a financial benefit to them sending traffic to these websites. However, Yahoo has stated that all sites will be ranked equally by the Yahoo algorithm, no matter if they were discovered for free by their spider or were included by the Site Match Program.

Yahoo has also announced that the Inktomi Pay-for-inclusion program has been shut down. Sites that have already paid for the Inktomi program will remain in the database until the end of the one year term in those engines powered by Inktomi and until April 15th in Yahoo Search. One thing that Yahoo is not openly saying is the fact that MSN is still using Inktomi database and sites added to Site Match will also be included in MSN until the day MSN launches their own search engine. MSN has announced that they will be launching their own search engine within the next few months.

Q: Do you recommend the Yahoo! Site Match Program to anybody?

A: One benefit I see from the submission program is for those sites that are not already listed in the database. I would highly recommend this submission program for new websites and those that have fresh daily content. Yahoo SiteMatch will spider the sites every 24 hours, rather than once a month. In effect, it would be possible to optimize your site on a daily basis and experiment until you get the best possible ranking.

I would recommend to do a search for your domain name in Yahoo and if you are already listed, then there is no need to submit your site. Normally sites that have been around for a while and have a good amount of links to them would not need the Site Match program and it will actually be a waste of money for them as they will get the same exact ranking, except that they will end up paying for it on a CPC basis. However, what I would recommend is to check to see if all the important pages from your domain are listed and if not, only submit those pages that are not listed.

Q: Do you think that people are going to be upset by the new Yahoo pricing?

A: Many people are already upset. Yahoo has actually modeled their program after LookSmart. If you remember couple of years ago LookSmart decided to start charging a cost-per-click fee in addition to their normal one-time fee. This angered many people that had already paid the one-time fee thinking they would be included in the database for life. Needless to say there was a class action lawsuit filed by the people and LookSmart ended up making refunds to many.

Q: Do you think that the FTC might have a problem with Yahoo not labeling these listings as advertising?

A: Actually I spoke to Tim Mayer of Yahoo last week at the WebmasterWorld Conference about this. As you may know, Tim Mayer used to work for Inktomi and then moved to AllTheWeb, before they were bought out by Overture, which is now part of Yahoo. Tim said that AllTheWeb actually got away with their pay-for-inclusion program and that FTC came in and approved their program, so he did not think that FTC will give them any problems, as the new Site Match program is an extension of the AllTheWeb Inclusion program. However, I personally think that FTC should review this program again. Yahoo should be labeling these ads, as they are on CPC basis now.

Q: Do you have anything else to add?

A: The Yahoo Site Match program will also power AltaVista and FAST/AllTheWeb Search engines which Yahoo acquired as part of acquiring Overture. The Site Match program is actually offered through Overture website. However, we also provide the Site Match program from our website through a partnership. For details see:

Yahoo has also announced the launch of a new Free Add URL page. The page can be accessed from:

The full text of the LA Times article can be found below:
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