For the past few months, subscribers of Inktomi inclusion have been walking a tight line regarding the overall worth of their URLs' subscription. It is odd though, to imagine not wanting to spend the money for Inktomi search engine inclusion.

At an average price of $25.00 per URL for inclusion, the once heavily used subscription is now mentioned less and less by industry professionals.

Just as recently as July, I would be one of the first to advise site owners and marketers to spend, at the very least, enough to get the main pages of their site into Inktomi. With AOL Search and MSN Search results being pulled from Inktomi in one way or another, the traffic volume simply justified the expense.

Since AOL Search became powered by Google (within the first week of August), the overall number of referrals and resulting click throughs of an Inktomi subscription have dramatically declined.

Factors to Evaluate

If you are confident in your ability to optimize specifically for Inktomi, then forget everything else and pay the subscription fees. However, if you find yourself doubting any aspect of Inktomi optimization, consider the following data.

According to Wordtracker, MSN generates approximately 39 million searches per day, against AOL Search's estimated 29 million per day.

If all we do is focus on these two major search portals, when Inktomi lost their partnership with AOL, you could have lost some 40% of your subscriptions referrals. And that, is just a general number - for many sites I have worked on, the number of referrals lost is actually much higher.

Regardless of the losses immediately associated within this matter, Inktomi is on a trend of becoming less known as they are squeezed out of major search portals - resulting in less consideration by all involved in web site marketing.

As an insult to injury, coinciding along with the rumors of losing the AOL partnership - Inktomi Posted strong financial shortcomings earlier this year (directly applicable to their search engine partnerhips). So then, why would anyone consider Inktomi today?

Inktomi Still Holds Value...

Inktomi inclusion still holds great value within the marketplace, and the MSN inclusion alone can be worth the price of admission. What needs to be evaluated though, is the conversions, volume, and quality of referrals from MSN (and other Inktomi partners) directly to your site.

While no one will turn down the kind of exposure MSN alone can grant, sites that are not selling are at an immediate disadvantage when attempting to harness the most ROI from Inktomi subscriptions.

Never Rule out Outside Options

If you are an optimization professional, or simply someone who looks after your site's progress, never overlook the ability to gain Inktomi inclusion without paying the subscription fees per URL. There are ways out there that work, though most will be secretly guarded. Bear in mind, with these back door inclusions - you are not going to get the same level of data, reliance, and frequency of spidering that Position Technologies and other Inktomi resellers can provide. But, if all you care about is harnessing more visitors, it is certainly worth a strong look.
November 6, 2002

Eric Lander is currently working as an executive manager at The First Listings Marketing Group, an SEO firm located in Taunton Massachusetts. With over 8 years of professional optimization experience, Eric continues to focus his work on client based optimization and educating them on search related marketing. For more information on Eric, please see his professional blog at

Search Engine Guide > Eric Lander > Inktomi Subscriptions: Worth the Cost?