Yahoo Responds To Site Match Questions

    March 11, 2004

Last week Yahoo launched Site Match, their controversial paid inclusion program. The Search Engine Strategies conference, and many online communities, buzzed with indignation at the new pricing structure, which requires businesses to pay both for being listed and for each click on that listing.

Site Match Checks In
Site Match Checks In

The Yahoo team recently visited WebProWorld to join the Site Match discussion and posted a lenghthy defense of their program. I’ve included here the main points they make and invite you to the forum to read their full post and ask more questions.

The following is from Yahoo’s post:

Q. Why should I pay for Site Match if my site is already indexed or may soon be indexed for free?

Customers in particular who will find Site Match extremely valuable include those with:

  • Sites that have harder to find content or with information that can’t currently be crawled by any search engine (e.g. sites with dynamic content, such as extensive product catalogs)
  • Sites seeking more control over the content that is discovered
  • Sites seeking more control over how the content is presented
  • More dynamic sites seeking faster refresh rates
  • Sites that are looking for more user data and clearer, more consistent interaction with the search engine

    You may not find value in the Site Match program if the following is the true:

  • Your site is well discovered by the free crawl
  • The right content is discovered and you are consistently satisfied with when and how your content is presented
  • The information on your site is fairly static and the faster refresh is of less value to you
  • You don’t think you need more user data on search performance

    If this describes your site, then the free crawl may be adequate for you and you don’t need the added value of the Site Match programs.

    Site Match includes a yearly review fee per URL and a cost-per-click fee. Site Match has a much lower up-front cost (less than 1/3) than the 3 programs it replaces: Inktomi Search Submit, AltaVista Express Inclusion, and FAST PartnerSite PFI.

    The new cost-per-click pricing is more equitable in that it scales with the value the program provides to each participating site.

    Cost-per-click pricing motivates content providers to submit only relevant content (no one wants to pay for an irrelevant click), further improving the quality of the search experience for users. Without CPC pricing, content providers have no incentive to provide high quality content and avoid gaming the system.

    Q: What if I can’t afford this program? Will you have a lower priced program in the future?

    If your primary goal is to get your site indexed and if your web site has not already been crawled by Yahoo! Search, it is possible it will be crawled in the future. As of March 1, 2004, 99% of all content in our index has been discovered via our free crawl, and our primary objective is to discover all content on the internet for free.

    Furthermore, we now offer a free Add URL service ( We will continue to evaluate different product mixes and pricing models and will evolve our programs based on market demand.

    Q. Will Yahoo! Search results sacrifice quality by favoring sites that pay for the Site Match program?

    A. Absolutely not. Since its inception, the Yahoo! Search mission has been to provide the highest quality search experience on the Internet. The motivation behind this is simple: if we do not provide the highest quality search experience we will not be providing users with an incentive to stay and continue to use our product. It is the quality of our results – as defined by their relevance, comprehensiveness, freshness and presentation – that will ultimately lead to our success in search and we will not compromise the quality of these results.

    Q. If I participate in Site Match, will my site be “banned” from the search index?

    A. No. The Site Match and crawling systems are separate (one doesn’t affect content in the other) and participation in Site Match does not impact the efforts of our crawlers to index all of your content. For instance, if you submit 1 page to Site Match, other pages that may be in the regular index will not be affected.

    In addition, content from both systems is reviewed and evaluated against the same criteria to ensure all content meets a consistent, high quality standard. If you joined the Inktomi Search Submit program, for example, you may have been reviewed. If problems were discovered, your site may have been partially or entirely removed from the search index. The same thing happens to sites that have been discovered through the free crawl process. If problems were discovered, your site may have been partially or entirely removed from the search index. Any review-related penalty is solely designed to ensure the best experience for our users, not to encourage ongoing participation in our inclusion programs. Also, removal of URLs from Site Match will in no way impact our crawlers’ efforts to index those URLs.

    Q. Will the Inktomi index be merged with the new Yahoo! Search index before Inktomi disappears?

    A: Today there is a single, new Yahoo! Search Technology (YST). YST powers Yahoo! Search and in the coming months will also be powering search solutions for all our partners. Yahoo! Slurp, Yahoo!’s new crawler, is already reaching and indexing more of the web than any of our prior technologies.

    Q. What happens to my site if I previously participated in a paid inclusion program (e.g. Inktomi Search Submit)?

    A: If you previously participated in a subscription-based paid inclusion program from Inktomi, AltaVista or FAST, you have the option of continuing your current subscription in which case the terms of your subscription will not change. This will continue until the end of your subscription. As an added bonus, your participation will also extend to Yahoo! Search results until April 15, 2004. Note that Inktomi Index Connect (feed-based) customers may continue participating in the full network of portals, including Yahoo!

    Q. Does Site Match allow URLs to be targeted to specific countries?

    A. Yes. Site Match provides a “geotargeting” feature. Through the Overture-branded system, just log in (after subscribing) and go to View/Edit URLs. Click Edit for each URL and you’ll see options to target by region or by country. This is another feature that helps us deliver a higher quality user experience: users don’t see results for businesses that can’t address their needs. By offering geo-targeting we enable content providers to improve both their experience and the experience of the user.

    Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.