Getting to the Top of an Internet Search

Just as it is often difficult for people to find what they are looking for on the Internet, it is frequently a challenge for the people themselves to be found when they want to be. For businesses dealing with this issue, Internet companies have long capitalized on the frustration by selling merchants the opportunity to increase their visibility among pages of search results. Now job seekers and other individuals are being offered similar ways to raise their Web profiles — for a fee.

At least two online career services, for example, now offer job candidates some sort of listing enhancement. The site has a "résumé upgrade" service that lets users pay to have their résumés appear near or at the top of the list when an employer conducts a search. On, meanwhile, candidates must leave the ranking to the luck of the search software but can pay for a premium service that includes, among other features, the promise that their résumés will appear in bold text amid the plain-text search results.

Other examples of these hey-look-me-over features include options for individuals who are selling things on the Web — as on eBay, where sellers can choose from a menu of paid "listing upgrade" services to give their wares more prominent placement."

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