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Yahoo Plans Fees to Add Some Links

March 02, 2004|From Associated Press

Internet giant Yahoo Inc. is adopting a new system for indexing Web pages that will charge businesses to include material currently unlisted in its online search engine, the first volley in a duel with Google Inc.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo is touting the approach, scheduled to be announced today, as a practical way to assure that its search engine includes more of the billions of pages that are not found during periodic crawls of the Internet.

The method, often called "paid inclusion," also will help Yahoo's search engine keep better tabs on the most current material on a Web page, company representatives said.

But it won't buy participating websites higher rankings in Yahoo's search results.

Search engine analysts generally applauded the move, saying it could open a rich new vein of content that's lacking from all Internet search engines.

But the fees required to participate are likely to raise worries about Yahoo's creating an online caste system dividing the haves and have-nots.

To ease those concerns, Yahoo is not charging nonprofit websites, such as National Public Radio and the Library of Congress, to add unlisted links to its search engine.

Yahoo's index will continue to include websites that don't pay the fees, but there is no guarantee about how frequently those destinations will be visited or how extensively the content will be analyzed, said Tim Cardogan, Yahoo's vice president of search.

Yahoo is counting on the program to give it an advantage over Mountain View, Calif.-based Google as it vies to supplant its rival as the Web's most popular search engine. Yahoo licensed Google's search engine for more than 3 1/2 years but started to cut ties with its former partner two weeks ago.

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