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The Paid Inclusion Crisis

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-03-04

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The debate over whether paid inclusion programs will reduce search result quality is spreading like a wildfire but the search engine getting the blunt of its burden is Yahoo.

Yahoo announced its paid inclusion program Site Match just days ago and has already encountered criticism.

"The first problem I see is that Site Match tries to determine what my cost per sale should be by pre-setting the prices," Internet consultant Russ Jackman said on the e-Business forum WebProWorld, "Sorry, Yahoo, the numbers just don't add up."

Tension has also been growing between Yahoo and its leading competitor Google.

"At Google we don't have paid inclusion," a Google representative at this week's Search Engine Strategies conference said. "We pride ourselves on organic listings not paid search."

One Jupitermedia analyst said that paid inclusion programs could possibly create a conflict of interest for search engines such as Yahoo by giving search engines the incentive promote paid inclusion programs over algorithmic search. However, he believes that the paid inclusion credibility crisis is only temporary.

Despite this possible conflict there is no indication that Yahoo will head in that direction.

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