I would like to give my users another search option. Paid search.

The budget is for X searches paid from advance during the registration to the service.

That type of search is called VIP search or Ultra search. There is possibility that the user will search without it and saves money, however, his benefit is better results with broader access to the site information.

The access to the Ultra search should be via the same screen as regular search. My current search screen looks like that(without the VIP search):

enter image description here

Any design ideas? I would like to keep it simple and intuitive for my users.

  • 2
    So your Screen looks like Google? :^) What is the process? How can i access this so called VIP search? Am i logged in? If i paid for a feature like a premium search i would expect it to always be my default search (since it should have all features of the normal search plus more). If im a user without paid service i would expect to get informed below the search that there is the possibility to access premium search (link). Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:22
  • As PM said, to ensure you know that people have paid for your service, you would require them to be logged in? As such, if they are not, display a log-in button on this page if you detect they're not logged in and, if someone is logged in, why would they use anything other than what they've paid for, negating the need for another search box/page. I hope your use case is up to scratch. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:25
  • Edited according to your comments.
    – nivhanin
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:32
  • How is this VIP/Ultra search different from normal search i.e available to unpaid users? What are the benefits? As pointed out by @nivhanin there is a possibility that the user will search without it and save money. what's the point of Ultra or VIP Search?
    – NB4
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:34
  • Have you asked yourself the Who, Why and How? Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


Before answering this question I'm making 4 assumptions:

  • Users pay per search query
  • Costs of a search are relatively expensive
  • Users are always registered
  • There is a search result page

I think the power to this "VIP search" will not be in the search page itself but on the results page. And this is why:

Why will I use paid "VIP search" when a free search might do the trick? So people will not likely to use the "VIP Search" straight away. After doing the free search you will see results on the result page. The first thing you would want to add to this page is something like this: Not satisfied with the results? Try VIP Search for better search results [BUTTON: Search with VIP search]

As an addition you can add an extra button or checkbox (always use VIP search) on the search page to facilitate users who want to do a highly unlikely "VIP search" straight away.

Then again I highly doubt if this business model would work. Subscription based search might be a better fit. But a paid search would only work if you can convince the search is significantly better than the regular search or any competitors.

Wolfram Alpha has a paid "search" with a lot of benefits. Please check them out and look how they positioned their paid search against their regular search.

Good luck and I hope you're proving us all wrong!

  • your 4 assumptions are fine :) also your idea make sense, thank you!
    – nivhanin
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 12:11
  • I have trouble imagining what a worse search looks like. Does it lack sorting and filtering? Is its matching algorithm less precise? Is it uglier? Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 13:32
  • @KenMohnkern Same look. Although the amount of the results are the big difference (you can call it better algorithm, I would name it as better sources).
    – nivhanin
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 10:48

If I was a user of this service, the way I'd probably want it to work is:

  1. I always use the non-VIP search by default.

  2. On the search results page, I see all the free results, plus some indication of how many better results I might have seen had I paid.

  3. When I've paid for N searches, don't make me use VIP search next time. The free results might still be good enough for any given search.

One way to do (2) might be a single message on the screen saying "12 more results available with VIP search - see them now for just $0.99!" or whatever. (Or if you'd already paid: "you have N VIP credits remaining, use one now?" or whatever.)

Better still might be to show a placeholder for each VIP search result in-place among the free results. Then I also get to see how the VIP results rank compared to the free results, and perhaps (for example) which page or website they come from, but not any actual matching text. Clicking a placeholder result would take me to the payment screen, or use up one of my credits if I'd already paid.

Of course, this may not be the best business model, as it allows users to do non-VIP searches as often as they'd like to check for "good enough" results, even after they've paid for a number of VIP searches.

  • What about the expenses I use to pre-present the VIP results? Any idea?
    – nivhanin
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 15:10

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