Paid inclusion

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Paid inclusion is a

search index
. The use of paid inclusion is controversial and paid inclusion's popularity has decreased over time among search engines.

Definition of paid inclusion

The FTC defined paid inclusion as "Paid inclusion can take many forms. Examples of paid inclusion include programs where the only sites listed are those that have paid; where paid sites are intermingled among non-paid sites; and where companies pay to have their Web sites or URLs reviewed more quickly, or for more frequent spidering of their Web sites or URLs, or for the review or inclusion of deeper levels of their Web sites, than is the case with non-paid sites."[1]

Note that paid inclusion is different from paid placement. With paid placement, companies pay search engines to rank higher than they would have ranked if relevancy was the only ranking factor. Paid placement also gives companies guaranteed top rankings if they pay for it. With paid inclusion, top rankings are not guaranteed and only inclusion within the search engine is. Therefore, a company who paid for inclusion within a search engine will still have its rankings determined by relevancy.[2]

History of paid inclusion

In the early days of search, paid inclusion was a convenient way for search engines, such as

Microsoft and Ask moved away from paid inclusion—both search engines ended paid inclusion programs in 2004.[4]

Google's incorporation of paid inclusion

In 2012, Google re-incorporated paid inclusion within its search, though in a different form. Google Flights, Google Hotel Finder, and Google Shopping all have new forms of paid inclusion programs. Some critics, such as Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Watch, criticize this move as a step away from the Founders Letter that was a part of Google's IPO.[5] Aaron Wall of the popular SEO site criticize Google's use of paid inclusion as a way to push almost all organic rankings below the fold.[6]

Mixed views on paid inclusion

Paid inclusion has its advantages and drawbacks. The advantage of a paid inclusion search engine is that spam is reduced while relevancy improves.

Ask Jeeves reported that paid inclusion reduced relevancy and, in 2004, ended its paid inclusion program.[8]

Guidelines for paid inclusion

The FTC has advised search engines to clearly mark paid placement and paid inclusion in accordance with Section 5 of the

FTC Act.[9] For this is only a guideline and not a law, companies with search algorithms such as Nextag and Google are not legally bound to follow it.[10][11][12]

See also


  1. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20580". FTC. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, Danny. "The Evolution of Paid Inclusion". searchenginewatch. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b Sullivan, Danny. "The Paid Inclusion Dinosaur". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  4. ^ Ulbrich, Chris. "Paid Inclusion Losing Charm?". Wired. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Danny. "Once Deemed Evil, Google Now Embraces "Paid Inclusion"". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  6. ^ Wall, Aaron. "Google Paid Inclusion Programs: Buy a Top Ranking Today". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  7. ^ Lee, Kevin. "4 Ways to Prepare for Google's Paid Inclusion Hybrid". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ Mara, janis. "MSN Updates Search, Drops Paid Inclusion". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  9. ^ 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1)
  10. ^ Sullivan, Danny. "Given Nextag's Lack Of Transparency, Its WSJ Opinion Piece Asking For Google Transparency Isn't Wise". searchengineland. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Danny. "Dear Congress: It's Not OK Not To Know How Search Engines Work, Either". searchengineland. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Danny. "On Google Earnings Call, Google Ignores FTC Definition Of "Paid Inclusion"". searchengineland. Retrieved 6 July 2013.