Jeeves Drops 'Paid Inclusion'

Rhett Pardon
EMERYVILLE, Calif. -- Ask Jeeves Inc. said Wednesday that it is dropping its "paid inclusion" program. The move comes a day after Yahoo Inc. began aggressively expanding its own paid inclusion program.

Paid inclusion programs allow advertisers and website operators to ensure that they are included in the company's search index.

Ask Jeeves said it is dropping the program because it adversely affects the results that Internet users see.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based company plans to eliminate a program called Index Express over the next 30 days when most of its remaining contracts expire.

Ask Jeeves said it makes enough money from search-related ads that it can afford to drop the paid inclusion program.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc., the top-ranking Web search site, doesn't have a paid inclusion program and instead uses AdWords, a service that features paid search results alongside page views.

In January of this year, Ask Jeeves posted its first-ever annual profit, four years after its launch. The company announced a global operating profit of $22 million in 2003, compared to a loss of $5.4 million the prior year.

The search site's total revenue for the year rang in at $107.3 million, a $42 million increase from the year before.

Jeeves reportedly brings in the bulk of its profits through placements and sponsorships.

Jeeves is considered the third most popular search engine in the world and claims a 6 percent global share of the search market, whereas Google claims 70 percent.