"We will submit your site to all 1500 search engines and guarantee you 14,000 hits on your first day for only $29.95!"
Sounds pretty good, huh? Well, don't be fooled. That kind of hyperbole is just too good to be true!
NO ONE can guarantee you that many hits. Just won't happen. No matter what kind of magical beans you have, you will not get that kind of Web traffic and especially won't get it on your first day. Sure, there are sites out there that get that many hits, but they are usually well-established, large sites that have been around for a while and have extremely deep content. Anyone who promises you this kind of baloney is trying to pull a fast one.
Sure, there are SEO consultants out there that are honest and ethical. This ad (which, by the way, is a real one. No joke.) is assuredly unethical, devious, and just kind of silly. $29.95 would be a great price for these offers IF they were for real. No, unfortunately, the vast majority of SEO firms out there that come up in search results are much like the Wizard of Oz: lots of noise, but no substance.
Is there ever a time when you should pay someone to submit your site for you? Maybe. That's really a hard question to answer. But you can bet on this: if you are looking for a reputable search engine optimization company and see an ad like the one above, you can rest assured that they are NOT on the level.
As stated already in this article, submitting a site for inclusion in a search engine's index is not strictly necessary anymore. This process is pretty much automatic; however, that does NOT guarantee that your traffic, page views, or customer conversions will follow that same automatic route. Those things all take time and effort to build up.
The bottom line is this: no, you don't need to pay for your website to be submitted to search engines. However, if you're in need of search engine optimization services and don't have time to learn about it on your own, then finding a reputable firm to help you in these areas might be in order. For help on doing that, I suggest reading Top Ten Web Site Optimization Blogs, as well as Top Ten Web Site Optimization Forums. These are wonderful sources of information for beginning to expert SEO.