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Lycos launches paid search and inclusion services

Web portal company Terra Lycos has introduced subscription services that include a hosted Lycos-powered search engine and inclusion in the Lycos search engine database.

The combination of paid-for inclusion and hosted search engines are what makes Lycos stand out, according to Terra Lycos general manager of Search Services, Tom Wilde.

"In terms of paid inclusion specifically, we're coming behind [the competition], but the combined offering of paid inclusion and site search is unique," he said.

Dubbed Lycos InSite Pro, $189 (£132) a month will get a Web site administrator a search engine hosted by Lycos for his Web site of up to 250 pages, and inclusion of those pages in the general Lycos index. The price tag for a larger site, between 250 and 500 pages, is $279 (£195) a month, Lycos said.

Lycos InSite Select is for Web site administrators seeking only promotion of their site. For $30 a year Lycos will add one URL to the Lycos search index and keep that listing fresh by retrieving details on the page every two days. Additional URLs cost $12 per year, Lycos said.

For companies submitting more than about 189 pages to the search engine, it will be cheaper to use Lycos InSite Pro than Lycos InSite Select, said Wilde.

When paid for, a URL will be added to the Lycos index within 48 hours, Lycos said. The paid listings will not be tagged as such on the Lycos search engine results page. Some observers say this could put the integrity of the Lycos search engine at risk as users will not know which link was paid for and which one was not.

"You should show if a company has paid to be on the list. But there are no regulations in that area, so it is really up to the search engine," said Steffan Engdegard, an analyst with research firm Jupiter Media Metrix, which ranks Terra Lycos' Web sites as the fourth most visited in the US in December.

Lycos dismissed worries about the partiality of its search engine.

"Paid inclusion doesn't affect the ranking of an indexed site. We use the same relevancy algorithm for all the pages, regardless of whether they are paid or by regular inclusion," Wilde said.

Lycos will continue to accept free site submissions, but would not promise to include those sites or guarantee when they will be included. Inclusion could take up to six weeks, Wilde said.

Lycos InSite Select and Lycos InSite Pro, are targeted at small and medium-size businesses, and have been introduced for the Lycos sites in the US and Germany.

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