Once Deemed Evil, Google Now Embraces “Paid Inclusion”


Back when Google was an upstart search engine, one way it distinguished itself was to fight against a pay-to-play business model called “paid inclusion.” Indeed, paid inclusion was one of the original sins Google listed as part of its “Don’t Be Evil” creed. But these days, Google seems comfortable with paid inclusion, raising potential concerns for publishers and searchers alike.

What Is Paid Inclusion?

There are two main ways that companies show up in Google’s search results. Companies either buy ads or hope that Google decides that their content is relevant enough to appear in what are called the “organic” or “natural” or “editorial” listings.

Companies can’t pay Google to show up in these organic results. It’s similar to how things work with a reputable newspaper. Companies get “coverage” to the degree they are deemed to have earned it. The only difference is that Google uses a search “algorithm” that weighs various ranking factors to decide what’s relevant, rather than employing human editors and reporters.

Here’s another similarity with newspapers. Most people ignore Google’s ads, just as most people ignore newspaper ads. Still, enough people click on those ads to make Google billions of dollars per year. But imagine how much more Google might earn if it could somehow sell those main listings, the editorial ones?

That’s where paid inclusion comes in. It’s a method that search engines (other than Google) used to use sell those main listings yet still claim that there was an “editorial” component to them. With paid inclusion, companies pay to be considered but aren’t guaranteed to rank well. The algorithm ultimately decides, not payment.

Google, Evil & The Death Of Paid Inclusion

If all that makes your head hurt, you’re to be forgiven. Believe me, years of trying to explain how paid inclusion works made my own head hurt.

Search engines like AltaVista or Inktomi would tell the searching public that they had the freshest, most comprehensive collection of web pages out there. These same search engines would tell publishers that they should do paid inclusion because otherwise they might miss collecting their pages or take ages updating them. Talk about mixed messages!

Google was the main holdout among the major search engines. Back in 2001, when paid inclusion programs were growing in popularity, it told me:

We have no plans for a paid inclusion program. As we’ve stated in the past, 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.

When Google went public in 2004, the Founders Letter that was part of its IPO filing specifically named paid inclusion as a practice that should be shunned, saying under the “Don’t Be Evil” section:

Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.

The full IPO filing has other references against paid inclusion, such as (I’ve bolded the key parts):

Objectivity. We believe it is very important that the results users get from Google are produced with only their interests in mind.

We do not accept money for search result ranking or inclusion. We do accept fees for advertising, but it does not influence how we generate our search results. The advertising is clearly marked and separated. This is similar to a newspaper, where the articles are independent of the advertising.

Some of our competitors charge web sites for inclusion in their indices or for more frequent updating of pages. Inclusion and frequent updating in our index are open to all sites free of charge.

We apply these principles to each of our products and services. We believe it is important for users to have access to the best available information and research, not just the information that someone pays for them to see.


Froogle [now called Google Shopping] enables people to easily find products for sale online….

Most online merchants are also automatically included in Froogle’s index of shopping sites. Because we do not charge merchants for inclusion in Froogle, our users can browse product categories or conduct product searches with confidence that the results we provide are relevant and unbiased.

After Google went public, Microsoft and Ask.com, feeling the pressure, dropped their paid inclusion programs later that year. Yahoo was the last holdout, finally dropping its program in 2009.

Google & The Resurrection Of Paid Inclusion

Having previously declared paid inclusion to be evil, can it really be that Google is doing it now? Yes, though Google’s not been using that name, and it also really didn’t become apparent until last month.

Google Hotel Finder and Google Flight Search were both launched last year. On the surface, they seem like Google’s other “vertical” or topic-focused search engines, such as Google Images, Google News or Google Shopping, which allow you to search for certain specific types of information.

Unlike Google’s other vertical search engines, however, payment seems to have a role in being included in Google Hotel Finder and Google Flight Search. Maybe Google will find your hotel or your flight and list it for “free.” But it seems more likely you’ll appear if you have a paid relationship.

This only became evident after Google launched its new comparison boxes last month, as we asked questions about how the underlying services that power those boxes got their results.

The boxes also draw from Google Advisor, which is a type of financial products vertical search engine. Listings for credit cards, CDs, checking and savings accounts can be found with Google Advisor, but mainly from merchants who pay to be included, it seems.

This is a dramatic change. How does Google justify the shift? When I spoke with Amit Singhal, the Google executive who oversees all of Google’s search products, earlier this month at our SMX London conference, he explained that Google needed to have paid relationships to gain some data:

Fundamentally, time and time again, we started noticing that a class of queries could not be answered based upon just crawled data….

We realized that we will have to either license data or go out and establish relationships with data providers.

Since some of this data required paid relationships, Google decided some type of disclosure was required:
To be super safe, where we have a deal between Google and another party, we didn’t want to call those fully organic results, because they are based on a deal….

After much debate, we said “OK, let’s be extra cautious. Let’s call it ‘sponsored’ so that we tell our users that there’s a special relationship that Google has established with someone.”

But what about cases where Google has traditionally been able to get data for free, such as with shopping search? Might that or other verticals shift eventually to a paid inclusion model? Singhal said:

In every area we’re looking at what’s the best possible model….

Clearly all these areas are ripe for innovation, and that’s what we’re going to do.

You can watch our full discussion in the video below:

YouTube Preview Image

Disclosure & Paid Inclusion

The return of paid inclusion makes for some murky waters, for both searchers and publishers.

For searchers, it becomes harder to know if you’re really getting comprehensive information or not. The US Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on paid inclusion disclosure aren’t as clear-cut as with ads. They require that search engines have some type of “clear and conspicuous” disclosure but not that the paid inclusion listings be segregated from unpaid listings, as is the requirement for ads.

The disclosures, the FTC declared back in 2002, should allow consumers to:

Easily locate a search engine’s explanation of any paid inclusion program, and discern the impact of paid inclusion on search results lists. In this way, consumers will be in a better position to determine whether the practice of paid inclusion is important to them in their choice of the search engines they use.

At Google, disclosures within the new comparison boxes are easily located, through a small “Sponsored” link at the top of the boxes. These boxes all appear within the regular search results at Google, when deemed relevant to hotel, flight or financial product searches.

Here’s an example with flight results, where I’ve hovered over the Sponsored link to make the disclosure appear:

Here is it is for hotel search:

Here it is for a financial product search:

The disclosures are easily located, but they don’t lead to deeper explanations that would better fulfill the FTC’s guidelines. What percentage of listings come from paid inclusion with these services, for example. Are only those who pay listed? These are questions consumers might wish to discover.

The situation is worse if you go directly to any of the services that provide results to the comparison boxes. For example, Google Hotel Finder has no disclosures. In fact, the help page suggests that all listings are free. If that’s true, then why would Google be disclosing a financial relationship for when Google Hotel Finder results appear within a comparison box?

Google Flight Search has no disclosures that I can locate, nor does its hard-to-find help page explain about inclusion policies. As for Google Advisor, the home page says that Google is not being paid for any of its listings despite the fact that Google told us last month that it is and that the text would be updated.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for me to go to vertical search engines that seem to lack any disclosure at all. The FTC hasn’t seemed to care about enforcing its paid inclusion guidelines, but with paid inclusion on the return with Google, maybe it will wake up.

End Of The Free Ride?

For publishers, the key issue is whether they’re going to be charged in the future for traffic from Google that currently is considered “free.”

Remember all those news publishers a few years ago that viewed Google News as somehow robbing them of content? The ones that got all that free traffic yet still felt that Google should pay them to be included in Google News?

With paid inclusion, it’s possible that Google could turn the tables. You want to be included? You pay. No pay? No play.

End Of Don’t Be Evil?

Having previously declared paid inclusion to be evil, is Google now evil to be doing it? The reality is that paid inclusion as a concept wasn’t necessarily evil or even bad, any more than traditional yellow pages — effectively a print-based form of paid inclusion — are bad. Even the FTC found good reasons for paid inclusion to exist.

I never liked paid inclusion when search engines were using it as an revenue-generating excuse to do things they should just ordinarily do, such as gather content up quickly and keep it fresh. It was especially appalling when it effectively turned into an approved cloaking system for Yahoo.

But paid inclusion does make more sense in the vertical space and perhaps also in a world that’s nearly 10 years and 100 internet dog years removed from when paid inclusion was in its heyday.

Ironically, the change might hurt Google in its battle against anti-trust regulators. I wrote before how odd it was last year to have a search engine like NexTag — which seems to be a pure paid inclusion service — arguing that it needed more visibility in Google, since that ironically might harm far more businesses rather than help them:

When people go into Google Shopping, they find listings from thousands of merchants all across the web, merchants that pay exactly $0 to be listed in the editorial listings….

The committee … oddly seems more motivated to ensure that NexTag pays less in advertising than the fact that regulating NexTag’s inclusion in Google might cause thousands of individual merchants to pay more.

If Google Shopping really was taking away NexTag traffic, at least the thousands of companies within Google Shopping were in turn receiving traffic from Google for free. But if Google Shopping were to move to paid inclusion, there’s one argument in Google’s favor that gets weakened.

As I said, paid inclusion isn’t necessarily bad, especially if it’s used to solve an otherwise difficult challenge in search, rather than being an excuse to generate revenue. However, it it still feels odd watching Google, having previously attacked the objectivity of its competitors over the practice, quietly adopt paid inclusion now that it’s the search market leader. That doesn’t sit right. At the very least, I kind of want someone at Google to acknowledge that it was wrong those years ago.

Postscript (7:30pm ET): Google, after seeing this article, sent along this statement about paid inclusion:

Paid inclusion has historically been used to describe results that the website owner paid to place, but which were not labelled differently from organic search results.  We are making it very clear to users that there is a difference between these results for which Google may be compensated by the providers, and our organic search results.

I have to disagree. Paid inclusion has been historically used to describe payment to appear in search listings but without a guarantee of prominent placement. That’s exactly why we have the term “paid placement” that was used those years ago versus “paid inclusion.”

Perhaps the best definition of paid inclusion is the one that the FTC put forth in 2002, since it made that definition specifically to advise search engines on how they should disclose paid inclusion. The definition:

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.

The definition says nothing about a lack of disclosure as being a defining characteristic of paid inclusion. Moreover, when Google was opposed to paid inclusion all those years ago, I did not see it using the current definition it’s offering now.

The bottom line is that Google is doing very good disclosure of its current paid inclusion implementations. There’s room for improvement, but it’s far better than how many of its competitors disclose paid inclusion, if they do at all.

But disclosure doesn’t mean that Google is not doing paid inclusion, nor that Google wasn’t opposed to it in the past. It did characterize paid inclusion as some type of evil back then to be avoided; it clearly no longer views paid inclusion as evil but rather helpful in the search process.

Postscript: Google Product Search To Become Google Shopping, Use Pay-To-Play Model on our sister-site Search Engine Land covers how Google is now shifting its shopping search engine to a pure paid inclusion model. It’s the first time Google’s changed a service that had free listings to being exclusively paid.

Related Articles

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Features & Analysis | Google: Search | Search Marketing | Search Marketing Column


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Sign Up To Get This Newsletter Via Email:  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Murky waters indeed. I feel like paid inclusion is counter to all the changes Google is making to improve the search results. Why worry about Panda or Penguin when you can have a “partnership” that helps your website do well organically?

  • http://profiles.google.com/mail987 Chris D

    On my screen contrast I can no longer tell the difference between the Ads and the Organic results

  • matthieucatillon

    this is the most vicious advertising product of all. the “trusted feed” is back…

  • http://twitter.com/DanielDeceuster Daniel Deceuster

    Two things. One, after Penguin all those who said you were a Google fanboy who never spoke ill of them should read this. Second, you labeled the screenshot for hotel results as financial results.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    thanks, got it fixed!

  • http://www.postlinearity.com gregorylent

    i often start with page two of any search

  • http://www.q2im.com/search-engine-optimization Brian MacDonald

    Very interesting, especially from the anti-trust perspective. I’ve noticed increased ads from Ask.com which I found curious that they would literally pay for a presence on a competitor’s search engine…or is ask not considered a search engine anymore? 

  • fjpoblam

    Do you reckon we may still find a search engine that is *not* based on “paid inclusion”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ktripathi Kamal Tripathi

    I am not sure I may have lots of relevant points to make on this. But Google’s explanation of financial understanding to have more data is not totally an absurd one.

    Unless we find a way to say that in context of a particular search, free search was pushed down compared to paid search despite being “more relevant”, vertical specific paid campaign may not be of much attention.

    So when I go to google flight finder, some data may be shared between airlines and google, say more about hospitality, bars, special deals (which may be run during specific times) and others which are subject to change at last moment and operators may not want to wait for google to index it. After all fair indexing policy has its waiting time. So now if I search google.com for a plane ticket from New Delhi to Bangalore (in India), should Google not tell me the cheapest price or special packages?? In this its relevant to me.

    Yes paid inclusion is a bad bad word in publishing/editorial context but a limited overlap may actually be beneficial to everyone. It certainly would be bad if Google charges someone to be even included in search.

  • http://sparkplug9.com/ johnkoetsier

    I find it hard to believe Google couldn’t have structured those data deals a pay-for-performance deals, in which companies pay for clicks. It would be cleaner, could be more easily justified, and would follow the model upon which Google has built its ad empire.

  • arminla

    “the Google executive who oversees all of Google’s search products, earlier this month at our SMX London conference, he explained that Google needed to have paid relationships to gain some data:

    Fundamentally, time and time again, we started noticing that a class of queries could not be answered based upon just crawled data….We realized that we will have to either license data or go out and establish relationships with data providers.”

    I am confused by that paragraph. It seems to me that he (Amit) is saying that Google is the one paying to gain the data, and they are still marking it as sponsored, not the other way around. So in a way Google is marking a listing that they (google) themselves are paying for, as sponsored. which is different than paid inclusion, when it’s the other way around (merchant paying), no? Who is paying who?

  • Carlos Fernandes

    They have been doing this albeit as a trial for banks / financial institutions for well over a year Danny – as per Google Advisor. Started off free and we were contacted by Google to get bank clients in. Then after about 6 months or so they turned it to a paid model. The results were shockingly poor though and even worse than PPC.

    I dont think I would consider this Paid Inclusion though…. not in the same league as Yahoo of 2002-2004 when the paid inclusion was done through Inktomi / Ineedhits. We used to use that quite effectively back then but the issue was that searchers couldn’t tell the difference between the paid results in the SERPs and ones that hadn’t paid. We work for 4 banks that all tried Google Advisor / Google Comparison tool (went through a few name changes at least with their sales people) –  none of them stuck with it. This may go the same way for a lot of paid advertisers- although I think it has more potential in the arena of flights / hotels etc.

  • http://www.isoosi.com/ Carlos Fernandes

    I guess it is then totally different to the Google Comparison / Advisor scenario for financial institution - since they certainly aren’t paying any of those players. They (Google) offered to help with the cost to setup of feeds using 3rd party approved companies – but then once rolling it was a paid model.

  • http://www.walterelly.com/ Walter Elly

    Danny, your post got me fired up. I kept thinking about Google’s original paper “Anatomy of a Search Engine” and the strong words Larry and Sergey had regarding paid inclusion. So I blogged about it: Can Google Save Itself From Paid Inclusion? http://www.walterelly.com/the-internet/can-google-save-itself-from-paid-inclusion/

  • AJtheDJ

    “We realized that we will have to either license data or go out and establish relationships with data providers.”
    Wait.. if Google is the one licensing the data, how it that Google is the one getting paid?  Financial data on Google Finance is probably licensed, but that doesn’t have or need a “sponsored” tag cause Google is the one paying.

    This seems to be a horrible justification for paid inclusions.

    If certain datasets are hard to crawl, specify a schema that data providers can publish specific datasets in so that you can crawl it peacefully without being evil.  Let your algo then determine what data their is meaningful…

    Google, sometimes it’s ok to say that you need to increase revenue, and these search verticals present opportunities to earn $$ beyond ads.  But don’t bullshit users with lame excuses…

  • http://www.neotrucks.com/ Yanbo M

    Same here. But such behavior is expected. At the end of the day Google is answering to its investors not it’s users.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

    Hmmmm, give somebody a problem (Panda, Penguin), then give someone a solution to the problem….not exactly subtle, Google.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

    Exactly. And that’s what they do with Google Shopping – data that’s hard to get and classify? We’ve made a schema for that!

    So now Google say that some forms of data (somehow) can’t be got at for free, and that Google need to be paid to get the data? Makes no sense at all.  Anyone wanting traffic would work hours of their time to conform to any kind of schema Google come up with.

    This is just a lame excuse by Google to make more cash through paid inclusion.

  • Flashman_I

    “Fundamentally, time and time again, we started noticing that a class of
    queries could not be answered based upon just crawled data….
    We realized that we will have to either license data or go out and establish relationships with data providers.” Amit Singhal

    All I can say is what several of you have already said: That this is utter rubbish. I know for a fact that the vast majority of travel providers would give Google free access to their API. They wouldn’t need to crawl, and they can get a lot of real-time data directly from the providers’ servers.

    This is about making money, which is in stark contrast to Google’s usual practice of trying to provide the end-user with the cleanest and best search results.

  • Gagool

    Confusing? Not much surprise there. Google is, after all, a manipulative, public relations driven company whose executives you can never expect to explain anything in an honest fashion.

    (Danny Sullivan’s constant obsession with the “don’t be evil” stuff is getting tiresome; this company has been evil for quite some years now, so realize it finally and move on…)

    As long as the explanation, disingenuous as it is, holds up for the 95% who don’t care to look deeper into it, it works just as fine for Google as any algorithm change that works 95% of the time (it only flushes a couple of thousands of decently run, rule-abiding websites, the 5%, down the drain, but why should Google, the Scale-Worshipping Company, give a sh.. about it).

    There is even a pattern to the self-justifying bullshit Google (through Amit Singhal, Matt Cutts and the triumvirate) treats us to:

    1. Emphatically mention what a huge internal debate Googlers had in the Plex before the decision and how seriously they took all the possible implications

    2. Give a sanctimonious self-quote summing up the Google attitude as “let’s be super/extra/totally cautious/forthcoming/honest/playing-by-the-rules etc.” when introducing the factor that should let Google off the hook

    3. Admit that you can change anything in any way, discard any of your principles any time in the future, but package it as “looking for what’s best for the user”, “best possible model”, “constant innovation” etc.

  • http://am22tech.com Soan

    Thats a nicely written article. Google should not go for paid inclusions as it will simply harm its intdgrity over which it has built its search empire.

  • http://www.educationalgamesguide.com/science-games.html Cacey Taylor

    Google has earned the right to do whatever they feel is correct. But if it isn’t broke than don’t fix it. 

  • stevewalsh1

    it’s a one way slope we are one here and it seems to be getting steeper…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VDEOOOCY27JEVJLBIGKEF6TQRY Mehan

    You need to make clear that Google Does Not Accept Paid Inclusion In the Organic Results.

    This article is what is called “Yellow Journalism”. 

    You are injecting hesitation towards Google.

    The article is so long that the average user will judge based on the title of the article.

    If you are trying to attract readers, fine, but Don’t Be Evil.

    This kind of journalism will only make readers go away in the long term.

  • roger_erickson

      blowback from searchers feeling manipulatedpossible degraded separation of search & product evaluation

    http://marketingland.com/once-deemed-evil-google-now-embraces-paid-inclusion-13138lots of products & services don’t allow their web data to be crawled;  negotiating with them on how to present their data to the public counters open democracy; a delicate subjectimagine the tobacco companies?true, it might work out in truly open markets, where there’s enough pressure to freely advertise & compare distributed feedbackbut …. there could be glaring failures in specific instances where vested interests with enough concentrated power could skew allowed feedback patterns;   campaign finance?  as just one example

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.chavanne Phil Chavanne

    Exactly a point I was thinking of reading Danny’s article. Google lowers the opacity of the yellow hue over the years to make paid results appear as organic. Monitors are becoming brighter as a trend, and Google’s engineers couldn’t but notice that lower contrast could be exploited in this way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikoinc Niko Stanford

    This may be true, but I doubt that the little guys will be able to play.

    We already pay to play by outsourcing most of our work to reach the top of the search engines,

    So all in all were double screwed.

    This will only be for the really BIG Companies that can fill the
    Panda and the Penguins Bellies.

    (They have huge appetites!!!) Obviously.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2KD3KYWFFQISMOCK762F6EHZTY david mowers

    At the end of the day if your company has dominant market share you are answering to the public, or you are going to be shut down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-N-Fran-Farrell/100002337622505 Jack N Fran Farrell

    Seems like it would be a piece of cake for the search industry to adopt a bold green headline for paid stuff, and keep ads on separate columns like newspapers do.

  • steelsil

    It’s evil.  Did you know that google has been giving millions of dollars to ultraconservative causes? That was the harbinger of evil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anono-Mouser/100003175943008 Anono Mouser

    Evil thrives in an environment of absolute power.  So good luck with that, Google.

    I have noticed that in the last few months the Google search results have become less useful.  Google is still pretty good for looking up HTML authoring information, but all else has become an exercise in frustration.  And the Google shopping results pages have become absolutely useless.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Paid inclusion is a program where you allow payment to be listed in search results without a guarantee of being ranked well. Google does this. It does this within Google Hotel Search & Google Flight Search, where the results are a mixture of free and paid inclusion listings. It does this exclusively with paid inclusion listings for Google Advisor and soon for Google Shopping. The headline is 100% accurate, and I expect any reader who really cares about this issue will appreciate that we’ve covered it in depth.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    $20 a year to get honest search, anybody? I do a job that was really helped by the pure Google of five years ago. But today, their search really is no better than anyone else. I’d pay for the old Google search. You could even show me ads on the margins. I don’t read them because I don’t have to. I have found a locality in France by a poorly-pronounced phrase in an actor’s line. If they pronounce it badly, how do you find out how to spell it? The old Google would get you the scientific result. Now they seem to be in charging for more and more. I’d rather pay money than watch Internet ads.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    They’d have a lot of friends in the marketplace if they respected any other business. They start taking photos of the world’s books — yay — but they make a serious move towards authors only when a lawsuit arises. Oh, those old-fashioned copyright trolls! But look, the world’s current literature will be mostly in bits and bytes. And we’re still better off if authors have rights to their work.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    What I don’t like is that there’s only faint changes in color behind the results. Otherwise, they look like Google’s search results. And they’ve been on top.

  • Breton Slivka

    HAHAHAHAHAHA what a wonderful fantasy world you live in. Can I come live there too?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QV4NTQIVJHHKS3PPCNPMWNWXWI Gordon

    ok – so instead of skipping the 1st 2 links at top of search page – I skip 1st 6 links?  No biggie.  But I may look for another “pure” search engine.  

  • alexpeerenboom

    My comment can apply to both this post and the one on SEL, so I will just make it here. My definition of paid inclusion will forever be the same as Google’s.  I actually used to work for a company that managed paid inclusion through Yahoo Search Submit Express and Search Submit Pro – these were paid inclusion models.

    It really comes down to what is considered search results – everything you see on the page, or just the traditional organic results. So when I read the FTC rules, I see this:

    “Paid inclusion can take many forms. Examples of paid inclusion include programs where the only sites listed are those that have paid [every single result is paid, there are no organic results...at all]; where paid sites are intermingled among non-paid sites [what Yahoo did]; 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 [again what Yahoo did], or for the review or inclusion of deeper levels of their Web sites, than is the case with non-paid sites.”

  • http://reelseo.com/about/grant Grant Crowell

    When it comes to paid inclusion disclosure, I’d also like to see blog hubs (including search-related and other marketing blogs), disclose which non-staff contributors are getting paid for their submissions; or have been compensated by the publisher or parent company in other projects or events — financial or otherwise. (This can also include being paid to speak at the parent company’s conferences, workshops, or other events.) CMP.LY has a good set of graphic tags that can clearly distinguish those kind of professional relationships.

  • http://twitter.com/farhathtweets Farhath

    Awesome share! We Webmaster’s know that Google is genuine even though it crushes with many updates


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!