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Image Include   (3 of 4)

Hallelujah! Finally, someone has come up with a way to display search results with images! ImageInclude.com combines a pay-per-click model with "image enhancement." If I seem overly enthusiastic about this new search directory, it's because I think they are onto the next big thing - the marriage of images with text descriptions.

Why are images so important? We are fundamentally a visual species. Body language accounts for 80% of the cues we use to evaluate each other everyday. Why not apply this to the web? Imagine going to a retail mall where all the shops and merchandise were represented by just words instead of logos, storefronts and window displays? It's almost impossible to envision.

Yet that is what we are confronted with when we type in our search request and get text-based results on regular engines. How well written or attractive the results makes a huge difference on where we go. Image:Include has helped us make that leap so that the advertiser (yes, it is a commercial/revenue-based system) can put up the merchandise or logo they deem most appropriate for their own products or services. I think it's brillant.

Bullseye9 has developed a great competitor to the almighty GoTo.com and done them one better: they've added the ability for an advertiser to show an image of their own choosing along with the search results. This really speeds up the process of determining if the site you want is the one listed, or has the right kind of merchandise or content. The results page is well-organized and visually easy-to-read; the database is quick and shows the images as well as the description of the search results and associated web address. Click here to see it work with "Dog".

The pay-per-click model was invented by GoTo.com to put the control of how high up your site is listed in their database in your hands. This is done by bidding on keywords by how much money you're willing to pay for each person that clicks through to your site. Normally it's anywhere from 3-5 cents on up per click.

The reason I give it three stars instead of four is they don't have complete search term coverage . . . yet. But - and this is a big one - these guys are on the right track, and are pulling in new adverstisers everyday. In this world of little or no profits for dot-com's, Bullseye9 has hit upon a great way to get relevant results that you can see, and make money at the same time. It's not the pure image evaluation algorithm search that we all would like to see. That is still a ways off due to the raw horsepower it takes to digitally evaluate images for what they truly are and not use the caption, file name or ALT tag, like the latest Google beta image search product. However, Image:Include uses embedded keywords that you sign up for and returns relevant image results on subjects that people care about.

Also worth noting is the Image:Include's Adult Filter option. They automatically leave the filter in place, so people have to make the decision to turn it off to see X-rated search results. I think this is a good approach and will help attract higher quality advertisers in the end.

GoTo.com has proven this model again and again by signing many major search engines and providing paid advertiser links on those sites. That leaves me wondering how long before Image:Include is bought by GoTo.com or another large search engine. Hmm . . . I wonder how soon they'll go public?

Past reviews:
Google - Made It to the Top

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As featured on Eric Ward's URLwire
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