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A Look at Ask Jeeves and Teoma, Part 1

By: Robin Nobles

Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists, ( has trained several thousand people in her online search engine marketing courses ( and is the content provider for (GRSeo) Search Engine Optimizer software ( She also teaches 3-day hands on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine Workshops (

Recently, Jim Lanzone, Vice President of Product Management with Ask Jeeves, attended a chat session with students from the Academy, and he answered a lot of very interesting questions about Ask Jeeves' Web properties.

So, let's look at this interview with Jim, and learn more about Ask Jeeves and their relatively new search engine on the block, Teoma.

As Vice President of Product Management, Jim overseas the strategy, features, Web design, and product development for all of Ask Jeeves' properties, including, Teoma, and Ask Jeeves for Kids at Ask Jeeves is a top twenty Web property and is among the most recognized Internet brands worldwide.

Jim began by giving some background information about Ask Jeeves and Teoma.

"Ask Jeeves is one of the leading search engines on the Web, with more than 16 million unique users per month. We also recently launched a new search engine called Teoma (Gaelic for "expert," in case you were wondering).

"Both and are powered by Teoma's search technology. The difference between the two sites lies in the design and the features.

"Here's an easy way to think about it: Ask is for `Passengers' (people who want help searching) and is for `Drivers' (people who don't).

"Our company makes money by serving advertisements that are triggered by the searches people conduct on our sites. There are three main types of advertisements: Graphical (e.g., banner ads), Paid Placement (Sponsored Links), and a new program called "Paid Inclusion" (pay to be entered into our search index)."

Is free submission still an option?

Question: Can you still submit to Ask Jeeves if you have a site that answers questions, like we have been able to do in the past for free, or do you have to go through pay inclusion to get into either index?

Jim: "Well, yes, if you want to submit, you need to pay. It takes special attention, and therefore resources, for us to take a site rather than simply crawl the Web as usual. But there are special benefits to paying!

"Our editorial staff is much smaller than the old days, and the `questions' for Jeeves (what we call the `Knowledge Base' internally) are not emphasized as much as they used to be, so the exposure will be more limited...and it may take our editors quite a while to get to your site."

So, you can still submit your site to Ask Jeeves for free, but it will probably take a while for your site to make it into the index.

Jim: "For the search index, there is no free submit (for Teoma)."

Question: Compared to, for example, the free add URL in Google, the one for Ask Jeeves makes you jump through hoops.

Jim: "That's because it's quite an old program that was developed for our editors to review."

Remember that Ask Jeeves was established to answer questions, so you have to "prove" that your site does, in fact, very effectively answer the question you're going after - which is a lot more detailed than a simple submission at Google.

What about pay inclusion?

If you submit to Ask Jeeves' and Teoma's pay inclusion program, your site will get visibility at both sites. The pay inclusion program is now out of beta, so the subscription period is 12 months.

Benefits of their pay inclusion program include:
  • Your page will be indexed within 7 days.
  • Your page will be refreshed every 7 days.
  • Your page remains in the index for 12 months.

$30 for the first URL, and $18 each for 2 through 1000 URL's. For larger numbers of pages, you can use their batch processing

Visit for more information.

Question: The Direct Hit site has been taken down, and traffic is being redirected to Teoma. What about the Direct Hit results that were being shown in engines like HotBot? Are those now Teoma results?

Jim: "Yes, we still have Direct Hit on HotBot, as well as BellSouth and InfoSpace. is redirected to Teoma. But some partners still have the old DH "pop" (popularity) results. MSN still has the Direct Hit results.

"We will be merging pop into the Teoma technology sometime in the near future, but some partners still want it as a "one-off," and we are open to providing it."

Question: Teoma does crawl sites on its own? Is that correct?

Jim: "Yes, that's correct. Its index is currently featured on both and"

Question: A Web site with good link popularity then would not need the Ask Jeeves/Teoma paid inclusion program?

Jim: "For a major site, that is probably true. However, for smaller sites, or sites that refresh their content frequently (or have many dynamic pages that are difficult for search engines to crawl), paid inclusion is still a great option if you really want the traffic. Paid inclusion sites are spidered weekly. Other sites are spidered monthly, currently."

Question: When paying for inclusion for Ask Jeeves and Teoma, are the results shared with other partners? If so who?

Jim: "Currently, no. However, we're aggressively pursuing partnerships that will extend our reach considerably. Not able to say who just yet, but the usual suspects."

(Continued in Part 2. Click here.)

© Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.

Other Articles by Robin Nobles

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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