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Lycos Launches Paid Inclusion, Hosted Search

Lycos is introducing two new services today: A paid inclusion program and a hosted site search service, both in conjunction with partner FAST Search and Transfer.

The program, called InSite, leverages Lycos' global reach with FAST's large web crawling and indexing capabilities. "We're excited about this because to the best of our knowledge we are the first online site that's going to explicitly bundle inclusion and site search," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Lycos.

The paid inclusion program, called Lycos InSite Select, lets Web site owners submit their sites to Lycos for guaranteed inclusion in the Lycos Web index within 48 hours. This index is powered by FAST, so webmasters will gain the dual benefit of being listed in both Lycos and FAST's AllTheWeb search engine.

The site search program, called Lycos InSite Pro, offers both paid inclusion and hosted site search. This means that not only will users be able to find your site via Lycos, once they've arrived they can search internally using the same Lycos interface.

The interface will include options to search both the site and the entire web. Result pages for both site search and web search can tailored to include logos and color schemes that match the site. Lycos plans further enhancements in the future, such as user behavior tracking reports, according to Wilde.

Why bundle paid inclusion and site search? "Search engine marketing is a powerful and cost effective tool for delivering the right people to the right sites," said Wilde. "However, once they get there, they'll leave if they can't find what they're searching for."

Most of the other major crawler-based search engines offer paid inclusion programs, and AltaVista and Inktomi offer standalone search software, but only Google offers a hosted site search solution.

Webmasters will likely want to use the InSite Select program as another lever in their search engine marketing program. The InSite Pro offering will likely appeal to a smaller group. Hosted search solutions are best for small-to-mid sized web sites, a market that Lycos is explicitly targeting. Hosted search solutions provide a secure and reliable environment for site indexes, with no expensive software or hardware to maintain.

The downside of hosted search solutions is that they are somewhat less flexible than search engines you purchase and install in your own data centers. The two major hosted search competitors to Lycos are Atomz and Mondosoft, both of which offer more features and are more customizable -- at least for now.

Pricing for Lycos InSite Select starts at $30 per month. Pricing for Lycos InSite Pro starts at $189 per month, which includes both the paid inclusion and site search components.

Danny Sullivan will be taking an in-depth look at Lycos' new InSite programs in the upcoming Search Engine Report, with a particular emphasis on issues for webmasters. If you're not a subscriber, sign up for your free subscription using the link below.

Editor's note: Sherman writes for Search Engine Watch, an internet.com site.