MSN To Settle Paid Inclusion vs. Algorithmic Results. Paid inclusion will become a battleground in 2004. In January 2004, Yahoo is expected to replace Google with Inktomi to power its main search results. Inktomi has a paid inclusion program, which is being combined with the paid inclusion programs of AltaVista and FAST and will be sold by Overture through resellers like Marketleap and Position Technologies. In 2004, this will fuel an ongoing debate between Google, which does not support paid inclusion philosophically, and Yahoo, which does.
Google will argue, “Our search results represent our editorial integrity, and we have no plans to alter our automated process, which works very well in gathering information and delivering highly relevant results.” Yahoo will argue, “Paid inclusion maximizes your reach by including pages that otherwise might not be crawled.”
The debate will become heated and watched closely by Microsoft, which plans to build its own crawler-based search engine. The winner will be determined when Microsoft announces which approach it believes provides the most relevant results. This won’t happen until late 2004 or early 2005.
MSN Follows Google’s Lead. MSN officially launches MSN search based on their own technology (mid to late 2004). After some AskJeeves-like attempts to show paid results for the majority of the SERP screen real estate, they realize nobody trusts this model and decide to go to a Google-like spare screen with only Overture results on the right and two paid results clearly labled at the top of the page.
Since dropping Looksmart paid results in January, they announce they’ve been developing their own PPC engine and will spend 6 billion dollars in developing it over the next ten years, incorporating search into the Longhorn operating system – delayed again year-end to make security upgrades.