Search Engine Wars: After the Smoke Clears Who’s Still Standing?

    September 27, 2004

There have been a lot of changes on the search engine front in the past year; so many that it’s hard to keep track of who’s still a major player, and who isn’t. With so many services turning to “Pay for Submission” and “Pay per Click” models, there aren’t a lot left that still accept free submissions. And of those that do, it’s hard to tell exactly which ones are worth your time.

Anyone Left Standing?
Who Wins A Search Engine War?

Let’s review the list to see who’s still standing, who’s charging and who isn’t:

1) Yahoo:

With over a million listings, Yahoo is considered the largest search engine/directory online today. Yahoo’s search index is a combination of sites crawled from the entire Web, and from Yahoo’s own “hand built” directory. It’s possible to be listed in their search results and not in their paid directory. To view just the listings in Yahoo’s directory go to

To be listed in the directory all commercial sites must pay a $299.00 fee to submit to “Yahoo Express” per year. Adult sites must pay $600.00 for submission. Be careful, though — if they don’t like your site they keep your fee. Yes, you heard it right. Even if they don’t approve of your site and add it to the directory they do not refund your submission fee. For help with submission see

Believe it or not, you can also submit your website for free to Yahoo’s engine at

Paying Yahoo for submission is not the only way to get listed there. Overture was also acquired by Yahoo and they run a pay for inclusion/PPC program called “Site Match” at

If you use Site Match, your site will not only appear in Yahoo but also Altavista and AllThe Web. You must pay an annual listing fee of 49.00 for the first URL and 29.00 for URL’s 2 through 10. Depending on the category you’ll need to also pay out .15 to .30 per click. Remember: this is for inclusion only, not ranking.

Yahoo also owns Inktomi, Altavista and AllTheWeb.

2) Altavista:

Since Yahoo owns Altavista, an easy way to get listed here is to submit via Yahoo’s free service at

Reaches over 45 million visitors worldwide, with the search results powered by Yahoo. You can also pay for submission via “Overture’s Site Match” program, which we covered above (also owned by Yahoo).

Altavista also displays Overture’s top 4 bid positions at the top of the search results page, under the heading “Sponsored Matches.”

3) Google:

Still a Net favorite, Google is used more than 150 million times a day for searches. Free submission is still an option. Google also provides results to other engines and directories such as Netscape Search, Yahoo and AOL Search. They have their own “Pay Per Click” program, called “Ad Words.” This allows you to bid on key phrases or words, and when someone searches for those words, your text ad is shown in the right-hand column on the search results page. For more on this, go to:

Ad Words will cost you $5.00 and a credit card number to get your site enrolled. Your site will not only appear on relevant Google Search Results page, but also on partner sites like AOL, AskJeeves, Earthlink, and others.

4) Inktomi:

Owned by Yahoo, Inktomi provides results to many engines and directories such as Iwon, MSN, Hotbot, and more. You’ll have to use Overture’s Site Match Program to get listed here.

5) The Open Directory Project:

Also known as DMOZ, the ODP is hosted and administered by Netscape. All submissions are reviewed by a human before being added to the directory and each category has what is called an “ODP Editor” who is responsible for that category.

DMOZ provides results to many search partners, such as AOL Search, Netscape, Google, Lycos, Direct Hit, Hotbot, etc. Submission is free, although cumbersome. You’ll have to drill down to find the appropriate category to submit to, then click the “add URL” link located at the top of the page.

6) Overture:

Owned by Yahoo, this is solely a Pay Per Click search engine. With Overture, you choose key words or phrases that you want your site to appear under and then try to outbid the competition for a top billing. The higher you bid, the higher your URL will rank on the search results page. They have a $20.00 a month spending minimum and a minimum bid of $0.10 per keyword/phrase.

The biggest benefit of being listed here is the rela- tionship that Overture has with some of the other major search engines and directories. Basically, if you bid into the top three or four positions, your site will also enjoy top listings in Yahoo, Altavista, MSN, Infospace, CNN and more. Generally, these listings are shown as “sponsored links” at the top of their search results page. Trying to get those top bid positions is well worth it, resulting in the type of exposure you’ll receive on some of the majors.

Overture offers different types of PPC programs. Depending on your needs, they are:

Precision Match

Local Match

Content Match

Site Match

7) Excite:

You can target over 21 million potential customers as Excite pulls results from most of the leading search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Teoma, and ODP. Results are also pulled from top Web Directories such as About, LookSmart and Open Directory. Sponsored listings are shown at the top of the search results pages and are taken from Overture, Sprinks and FindWhat.

They also offer a “Guaranteed Search Inclusion” Program for each URL listed the fee is 49.95 a year. Submit at

8) LookSmart:

Keyword targeted listings appear on what they call the “The Looksmart Network.” This includes such websites as Infospace, CNET,, Inktomi and others. This is strictly a pay for inclusion program where you choose the keywords you want your site to appear under and pay $.15 per click. For more on “Look Listings” see

If you are a non-commercial site you can get a free listing in Looksmart’s Network by submitting your URL through their Directory:

9) AOL Search:

Listings come from The Open Directory Project. You can submit at ODP, or search through the categories at AOL and find the best fit. Click the “submit a site” link at the bottom of the page and you will find yourself at the ODP submission page.

Sponsored links at the top and bottom of their search results pages come from the Google Adwords Program.

10) Hotbot

Hotbot is owned by Lycos, so in order to get listed here you’ll have to submit to their “InSite” Program at

Search results are pulled from Inktomi, with the sponsored listings coming from Lycos’ Insite Program and Overture.

11) MSN Search:

Results are pulled mainly from Inktomi, with paid listings from Overture. These are titled “Sponsor Sites” and displayed at the top and bottom of their search results pages.

To submit for free, go to…

MSN has also been working on developing their own search technology to lessen their dependence on “outsiders.”

12) Ask Jeeves:

A different sort of directory, where you perform searches by asking a question. Their network of search partners includes, Excite,, Hotbot, MetaCrawler, MySearch, Mamma and more.

After dropping their ‘pay for inclusion’ program it remains to be seen as to what direction Ask Jeeves plans to take in the future.

Ask Jeeves also displays “Sponsored Web Results” on their search results pages which are pulled Google AdWords.

13) Netscape Search:

Netscape blends its results from their own search engine and the ODP.

Sponsored listings at the top of the page are pulled from Google AdWords.

To get your site listed for free you can submit at The OPen Directory Project (ODP) at

14) Teoma: (AKA Direct Hit)

Formerly called Direct Hit, this is now owned by Ask Jeeves and renamed Teoma. Teoma also provides search results to Hotbot. Sponsored results are also pulled from Google AdWords and displayed at the top of their search results pages.

The only way to submit directly to Teoma is to pay for submission at . The first URL will run you $30.00, two or more URL’s only $18.00 each for 12 months.

15) Lycos:

Lycos also owns Hotbot and their results are primarily pulled from Fast and Inktomi, with some still coming from the ODP. Sponsored links appearing at the top and on the right hand side of the search results pages come from Lycos’s paid inclusion program.

Their paid inclusion program, called “InSite,” charges an annual fee of $18.00 for the first URL and $12.00 for each URL submission after that. If you pay for submission you’re guaranteed inclusion within 48 hours.


This one is also owned by Yahoo, so of course, their results are pulled directly from Yahoo’s database. Paid Sponsored listings that appear at the top of the page are taken from Overture. AllTheWeb also supplies some search results to Lycos.

Two other Directories that are worth your time to submit to are:

Other PPC’s worth a mention are:

There you have it; the top contenders still playing in the search engine games. Search engines and directories are always in a state of flux, so it’s quite possible that by the time you read this, some of the information I’ve gathered for you may have changed.

To keep abreast of of what’s happening in the world of search engines, I strongly suggest visiting these sites and subscribing to their ezines:

Search Engine Watch

Search Engine Guide

High Rankings

Pay Per Click S.E.

Bruce Clay has an excellent chart that shows the relationships of the search engines and who’s feeding off of who that is continually updated at:

You need to be quick to keep up with all of the changes in this field, so pay attention: because “Times they are a Changing” FAST!

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