February 23rd 2004 - Inktomi Paid Inclusion Customers Excluded from Yahoo!

Yahoo has pulled a sneaky rabbit out of its bottomless hat. Just as we were all thinking that they would play this one fairly and above board, they have been working on a new money-making scheme behind our back the whole time. Shame on you Yahoo, shame …

The following post was noted on the PositionTech (the main reseller of Inktomi Paid Inclusion) web site earlier today:

"Yahoo! has transitioned to its own search technology and will soon launch a new inclusion program. As a bonus for current Search Submit customers, Yahoo! Search is providing a free trial of Yahoo! traffic that will end on April 15th, 2004. When the new inclusion program launches, new Search Submit subscriptions will no longer be accepted. Existing Search Submit customers will have the option of maintaining their subscriptions (receiving continued traffic from partners previously in the Inktomi network) or joining the new program for ongoing distribution on Yahoo! Search and a full network of portals."

I love the wording – “As a bonus for current Search Submit customers, Yahoo! Search is providing a free trial of Yahoo! traffic that will end on April 15th, 2004”. As a bonus? We were all expecting Inktomi Paid Inclusion to mean Inktomi Paid Inclusion! Yahoo have always affirmed that they will be using the Inktomi Index as the basis for their new search engine. They didn’t state at any point that Paid Inclusion customers were not considered to actually be part of the Inktomi Index.

Very underhanded in my opinion. To announce that you will be using the Inktomi Index in the middle of last year - KNOWING that every webmaster would suddenly rush to throw their money at Inktomi Paid Inclusion – to then turn around and say, “Well, we didn’t say Paid Inclusion customers would be part of the Inktomi Index we intend to use” is despicable. Not only that, but your tiny bank balance will have to find a way to stretch out to pay for separate inclusion in Yahoo. Bravo, I wish I’d thought of it myself, then I would be retired instead of sat here writing this …
So where does this leave Inktomi Paid Inclusion sites? Well, you’ve just given all your advertising budget to Yahoo in anticipation of the switchover only to be told that you’re not going to be included in Yahoo. Can you get a refund? No, as they never stated at any point that Paid Inclusion customers would be included in Yahoo.

Sorry, but that’s it. No comment from Yahoo, and no indication of what kind of inclusion structure they intend to use. Angry at Yahoo for this? Tough, they can do what they like because we need them more than they need us because they only need a handful of each commercial sector to give relevant results. 100 credit card companies is just as relevant to users as 1000 and sure enough, there will be 100's of firms willing and able to fork out extra dough. This backhander doesn't really affect them, only smaller webmasters with smaller budgets that put their faith and hard earned cash into Inktomi's (Yahoo's) pockets last year. "As a free bonus", don't insult our intelligence.

Enjoy your work
Michael Beverley
Internet Heaven

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