In a comment left at the Stepforth blog, Jim Lanzone, Ask.com’s CEO, has said that he considers paid inclusion a “dis-service”. Jim explains that he finds it “hypocritical to charge for something we need to do anyway,” i.e. crawl the web to find quality pages to present to the searcher. In addition, Mr. Lanzone explains that it “blurs the line” between “paid content and editorial content” making it hard for the searcher to possibly trust the search results.
Lanzone does not go as far to accuse Yahoo of skewing the results in favor of paid inclusion results. Lanzone does say that “Paid Inclusion is just not on the table for Ask.com,” which is good to know.
I have confirmed from Ask.com that these comments are from Jim Lanzone, the CEO of Ask.com. Ask.com discontinued its paid inclusion service on August 31, 2004.