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The Search Engine Update - Number 192 - February 25, 2005

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In This Issue

+ SES NY Next Week; Toronto In May
+ What's Up With The SEW Awards?
+ Top Stories
+ More From The Search Engine Watch Blog
+ About The Newsletter

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SES NY Next Week; Toronto In May

Search Engine Strategies New York begins next Monday and runs through March 3, featuring speakers from the major search engines of AOL, Ask Jeeves, Google, MSN and Yahoo, along with experts on search marketing. It's turning out to be our largest show ever!

Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang and I will be having a "keynote conversation" on the second day of the show, just in time for the company's 10th anniversary. Come hear us discuss where Yahoo's been and what Jerry sees the future holding for Yahoo and search in general.

I'll be doing my usual evening forum, where we talk about a range of topics. Chris Sherman and I both also will be moderating sessions throughout the conference. SEW Forums editor Elisabeth Osmeloski will be heading up our Site Clinic sessions at the show. Look sharp on the first and second days, and you might even spot SEW news editor Gary Price taking a rare break from our blog.

A full conference agenda is available. Many of our popular sessions on search marketing are returning and offer information of interest to search marketers of all levels.

For a full rundown, see the conference web site. You can also view the entire program at-a-glance or use the session planner to get itineraries designed for those new to search marketing, interested in ad issues, interested in organic/free listings or even what's new in the Been Before category.

Our SES Toronto show come next after New York, happening May 4-5. Dates for our other shows this year and basic information about them can be found on the Search Engine Strategies site.

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What's Up With The SEW Awards?

Earlier this year, I said we'd be holding the annual SEW Awards soon. We're behind! But they'll still be happening. The schedule is for nominations to open for the awards to Search Engine Watch members on March 15. Finalists will be presented for voting by anyone who is subscribed to one of our newsletters on March 22. Winners will be announced on March 31 or earlier. If you're subscribed to one of our newsletters, all relevant information will be sent to you. So hang in there and get ready to vote!

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Top Stories
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Here's a recap of major articles, important blog postings and some interesting forum discussions from Search Engine Watch since the last newsletter:

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Google Toolbar's AutoLink & The Need For Opt-Out
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

AutoLink is new feature in the new third version of Google's popular Google Toolbar that's raised controversy since it was released last week. Why are publishers upset? Can they block the feature that adds links to their web pages? Who rules over content, users or publishers? Why do I think Google should give publishers an opt-out for the feature. And how can you opt-out despite Google? That, and other issues, are explored in this article.

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Googlebar For Firefox, Plus The Google & Firefox Deal
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

Last week, when Google rolled out the latest version of its toolbar, I was dumbfounded that a Firefox version still wasn't offered. What's the deal? In this story, a reminder of the great Googlebar clone, a good enough imitation that Google feels it needn't do its own. Also some news on how Google ended up the default search engine for Firefox.

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SEMPO Gets New Board Of Directors
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

SEMPO members have just received a mailing informing them of their new board of directors, selected through the recent election. The board is scheduled to be formally introduced to the public next Monday at the group's open meeting at Search Engine Strategies New York. In this post, a list of who was elected -- which includes all previous board members who stood again. See also New SEMPO Board To Be Announced Soon for details on the election and all nominated.

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SEM Business Issues On Discussion
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

Here's a pair of Search Engine Watch Forum threads dealing with some tricky SEM business issues. In How To Start & When You Can Charge For SEO, members discuss how to get started with SEO/SEM services. What level should you be at in order to confidently charge clients. Meanwhile, Sued for Blackhat SEO? looks at whether "black hat" SEO or really any SEO activity that backfires to a client's expectations could get you into legal hot water.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 25, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Concerns Over New Google Tool - Sued for Blackhat SEO? - Pay Per Call: The Other PPC - Little Guy Sued Over Generic Name Use - Getting an Education in Search Engine Marketing - Google's Stranglehold on Webmasters, and more.

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Forecasting Paid Search Traffic
Search Day, Feb. 24, 2005

Despite the hype, being #1 in paid search results may not provide your company the desired bang for your marketing buck. Intelligently optimizing a paid search budget involves far more than setting random bid prices and guessing at returns.

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AOL Unveils New Local Search Service
SEW Blog, Feb. 24, 2005

AOL has just released their new local search service, AOL Local Search. At the moment, listings and data for more than 13,000 million businesses, theaters, and other local establishment come from a variety of sources including powered AOL Yellow Pages, Moviefone, and AOL CityGuides for more than 300 U.S. cities. AOL plans to add more sources and type of info in the near future. More in this review.

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Search Engines and Legal Issues
SearchDay, Feb. 23, 2005

A competitor is running a search engine ad with your trademarked brand name. Another has copied your web site without permission. You suspect another of driving up your advertising costs through click fraud. What are your legal options? The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members takes a closer look at trademarks and search engine advertising, covering the issues and tactics available to brand owners to protect themselves. The longer version also looks at click fraud and the legal remedies available to search engine advertisers who suspect competitors are driving up their costs through fraudulent clicks.

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Google Goes to the Movies
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Google has just launched a search "shortcut" to help users access local movie showtimes (U.S. only), film info, and reviews. The service is available from any Google search box or via SMS. More in this post.

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SEMPO Stats On Click Fraud; Most Worried, Many Confirm A Problem
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

SEMPO has released stats about click fraud drawn from the The State of Search Engine Marketing 2004 survey it released in December. In this post, a summary of key points. For Search Engine Watch members, the special Click Fraud A Worry For Most; Confirmed Problem For Many article dissects the numbers further in a series of charts.

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A New Version of Copernic Desktop Search is Now Available
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Copernic has just released a new public beta of their desktop search tool. that offers several new features and indexing options that enhance an already robust product. If you've never tried this feature filled, easy to use/modify, and free desktop search tool (Windows only), it's more than worthy of your attention. More in this review.

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Yahoo Increases Size of Image Database, New Features Added
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Yahoo has just announced an increase in size to their image database. According to the company Yahoo Images now contains more than 1.5 billion image files. Along with increasing the size of the image database, Yahoo has made a couple of new features available to searchers. More in this article.

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Pay-Per-Call: A New Avenue for Search Marketers
SearchDay, Feb. 22, 2005

Local search in the U.S. is hot, but nearly 14 million companiesbmost of them small-to-medium sized businessesbare missing the local search marketing revolution because they don't have a web site.

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SMA-UK Gets Formal, Calls For Elections; SMA-NA & SEMPO To Meet
SEW Blog, Feb. 21, 2005

SMA-UK is moving ahead with becoming a formal organization, complete with an elected board. Meanwhile, the related SMA-NA association for North American search marketers recently opened its own web site and will be meeting and holds its first organizational meeting and membership drive on March 2, coinciding with Search Engine Strategies New York. Also meeting at SES NY will be SEMPO, on Feb. 28. More details on everything in this post.

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Cool Databases to Use: What's a RedLightGreen?
SEW Blog, Feb. 20, 2005

RedLightGreen is a large, useful database to find and access library books with plenty of features. More about this useful service, in this post.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 18, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: NY Times Agrees to Buy About.com - Quantity of Inbound Links the Only Linking Factor Search Engines Use? - New Google Toolbar Feature Rekindles the Anti-SmartTag Debate - Keyword Themes and Google - Why Search Engine Marketing Has A Passion for Web Site Usability, and more.

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Search Engine Showdown: Black Hats vs. White Hats at SES
SearchDay, Feb. 17, 2005

What does a 'hardcore search engine optimizer' look like? Does he wear a black hat? With little holes cut out in the top to allow for horns? Attendees at the 'Black Hat, White Hat, & Lots of Gray' session at Search Engine Strategies Chicago got to find out.

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What, Exactly, is Search Engine Spam?
SearchDay, Feb. 16, 2005

There's a subtle boundary that separates acceptable search engine optimization practices from the shadier techniques used by spammers. How can you recognize the difference between white-hat and black-hat techniques?

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New Beta Version Of Google Toolbar Available
SEW Blog, Feb. 16, 2005

Google has just released a new beta version of the their toolbar offering spelling correction, "AutoLinking," and word translation. More rundown on features, in this article. See also Googlebar For Firefox, Plus The Google & Firefox Deal and Google Toolbar's AutoLink & The Need For Opt-Out.

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Avoiding Search Engine Woes with Multiple Domains and Websites
SearchDay, Feb. 15, 2005

Operating multiple sites using numerous domains is a great strategy for businesses appealing to a wide range of customers. But this approach may trigger search engine spam penalties, if you're not careful with implementation. The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members goes into more detail about situations that can inadvertently trigger spam penalties, such as inappropriate cross linking between sites, using global templates, and geo-locating blunders, along with solutions to these and other problems.

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Local Search Marketing Tactics
SearchDay, Feb. 14, 2005

It's tempting to think of local search as merely a subset of a broader search marketing campaign, but best results come with tactics specifically tailored to the uniquely nuanced needs of searchers looking for local information and services.

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More From The SEW Blog
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French Survey On Search Marketing Up
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

ZDNet France and Imitiki have posted the results of a survey on search marketing issues in France. Search Engine Marketing Survey in France has the results in English, with questions ranging from is SEO important (95% say yes), to annual budget for SEO (most don't spend anything but time), to the use of sponsored links (a huge 30 percent said they never buy these) to main paid search provider (Google with a whopping 83 percent). Survey also in French, naturellement, via here (registration appears required). Want to discuss? Check out our forum thread, Search engine marketing survey in France.

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Impression Spam A Problem For Google Ads?
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Are people using automation to disable Google ads by generating lots of impressions but no clicks, in order to knock out competitors and buy ads at a cut rate. Impression Spam Worries Google Advertisers from ClickZ picks up the idea anew with a few quotes, mainly focusing on one marketer seeing this a problem. Google says it really isn't much of one. I've never really heard it coming up as much of one either from marketers I've spoken with. Usually, the reverse is true -- they're upset ads get disabled for important terms simply because the terms aren't searched on much. Have you experienced it? Join our forum thread on the topic, Impression Spam Worries Google Advertisers. See also Disabling Google Ads With Bots?

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German Search Engines To Self-Regulate Censorship
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Google Blogoscoped has an interesting item, German Search Engines Self-regulating, on how major search engines serving Germany are forming a voluntary group to streamline censorship of links they are required by law to remove. There will be a centralized server containing a blacklist of banned URLs. Chances are, those in Germany going to non-German editions of these search engines will still be able to access the "censored" material, however, just as they can now. No mention if the search engines will do any form of disclosure of censorship. See also Revisiting Google Censorship In Germany & France for some past related coverage of the issue.

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What Model For Travel Search?
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Will travel search be more like pointing people at individual travel sites where they can book (the Kayak and Sidestep model) or serving as a virtual travel agent (the Expedia and Travelocity model). Both sides disagree. More in Reuters Summit - Travel search sparks Web business battle.

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Dec. 2004 Top 20 Search Engines In UK
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

NetRatings has released a list of the top 20 search engines in the UK for December 2004, ranked in order of the number of unique searchers they had. Google comes first, followed by Yahoo, then Ask Jeeves. The report also provides data on clickthrough per searcher, suggesting that the most popular search engine in terms of number of searchers isn't necessarily the most popular in terms of clickthrough to web sites. More in this post.

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360i Buys SearchIgnite
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Search marketing firm 360i has purchased SearchIgnite, a search management software company. The move gives 360i internal technology for bid management and other search marketing tracking services. More here from the press release.

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WorkZoo Offers Job Searching
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

WorkZoo is a new crawler-based job search engine just launched seeking out pages from across the web that seem to offer jobs in the US.

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Conversion Research Shows Search Costs Could Rise
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Research Supports Aggressive SEM and SEO from Kevin Lee at ClickZ looks at two recent search and conversion behavior studies to summarize findings. Commonalities? Most searches are for generic terms, which in turn happen early in the buying cycle. Other findings? Nearly all (90 percent) of search conversions happen offline and half search before doing any online purchase. Conclusion? Costs will probably go up more, as marketers get better at measuring where and when conversions happen and learn they can afford to pay more.

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Plurals Lost In Google Dictionary Defintions
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Search for car on Google and you'll get a option to view a dictionary definition of the word via Google's partnership with Answers.com. But search for cars, and suddenly, no definition is provided. Googlewhackers are up in arms over the problem. Read more to learn why.

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Word of a Yahoo Toolbar for Mac Users
SEW Blog, Feb. 24, 2005

On the heels of their just released Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox, we just read a report by O'Reilly blogger Nat Torkington that a Yahoo Toolbar for Macintosh is coming. Is this just a rumor? Nope, Torkington says that he has been using the Yahoo Toolbar for the last few weeks via a copy he received from a "Friend on the Inside." No word as to precisely when the Yahoo Mac toolbar will be released. More in Torkington's post: Yahoo Mac Toolbar.

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RSS via SMS
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

Philipp points to a post about an interesting mobile service (in beta) that I spotted a few weeks ago but haven't had time to mention yet called FeedBeep. You can use it to deliver RSS alerts as SMS text messages. According to FeedBeep site, their working with PubSub and other services. Btw, I signed-up for a password to access their beta three weeks ago but still haven't heard back. When I do, I'll report on how the service works. Currently, I use the Bloglines site optimized for mobile web browsers to access RSS feeds. Very nice!

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Interview With Ask Jeeves On Search
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

Mike Grehan has an interview up with Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties at Ask Jeeves and Apostolos Gerasoulis, founder of the Teoma search engine that powers Ask Jeeves: In conversation with...Jim Lanzone & Apostolos Gerasoulis of Ask Jeeves/Teoma. A short summary of key items in this post.

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a9 Has Patent Application Published
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

InternetNews.com reports that a9 (an Amazon subsidiary) hopes to have some its technology patented. More in the article: A9 Search Looks to Patent Its Shtick. If you would like to review a9's patent app, it's available here. More patents? In November, SearchDay published a compilation. Here's a blog post that lists several more.

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Ask Jeeves & New TV Ads
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

As noted earlier, Ask Jeeves has embarked on a television campaign to promote its service. Must-See Jeeves from the Ask Jeeves Blog lets you see the ads that debuted last week. See also Ask Jeeves Searches For Users with Ad Effort from ClickZ for some more details.

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FindWhat's Q4 Earnings Flat
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

Pam Parker's Clickz article, FindWhat Blames Low Growth on Quality Control, takes a look at FindWhat's recently announced Q4 2004 numbers and their expectations for 2005. "The company posted net income of $4.7 million for Q4 on revenues of $58.7 million, resulting in per-share profit of $0.15. Full-year revenues came in at $169.5 million, for a profit of $17 million, or $0.60 a share." On lower earnings: "We intentionally removed during Q4 certain traffic sources that would have generated $70,000 of revenue per day," said Craig Pisaris-Henderson, chairman and CEO of FindWhat.com. "Our focus is to deliver traffic that converts."

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Paid Search Worth $5.5 Billion In 2009
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

JupiterResearch says paid search will rise to $5.5 billion in 2009, driven by four vertical areas: retail, financial services, travel and media & entertainment. More from ClickZ: The Four Horsemen of Vertical Search.

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The Networking Effects of the Web
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

The Fourteenth International World Wide Web Conference in May will have a number of search-related papers and panel overviews that I'll highlight. I'll start today with this panel overview and extended abstract that was posted earlier this week. The session is titled Exploiting the Dynamic Networking Effects of the Web, and will feature several highly respected researchers. See our Who are those Guys? post for more about the researchers involved.

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MSN Search's Viral "MSN Found" Campaign
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

MSN Search has a new "viral" ad campaign called MSN Found that revolves around some fictional bloggers, as MSN Search Finds Viral Campaign from MediaPost explains more. It left me unimpressed. More in this post.

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Google's Blogger and Unwanted Software
By Gary Price, Feb. 23, 2005

An eWeek article: Spyware Snags Blogger Users, reports on a new study by Harvard researcher Benjamin Edelman that says that "dozens" of blogs hosted by Google's Blogger/Blogspot trick visitors and install spyware and adware onto visitors' computers. The offending blogs typically prompt visitors to accept downloads through misleading pop-up windows, Edelman says, a vocal spyware critic. While a user typically must accept the download before the software installs, the prompts often attempt to trick users by disguising the download as a necessary Windows or Internet Explorer upgrade. You can also read the complete study: How Google's Blogspot Helps Spread Unwanted Software.

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Oneupweb Study Finds Longer Search Phrases Convert Better Than Shorter
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 23, 2005

A study from search marketing firm Oneupweb finds that in general, longer search terms convert better than shorter ones. More in this post.

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Lycos Offers Dating Meta Search
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 23, 2005

Looking for that perfect partner? Lycos Dating Search now up in beta lets you meta search for across popular dating and matchmaking sites for matches. See also this ClickZ article, Lycos to Launch Dating Search.

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MSN Search Partners With American Mensa
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 23, 2005

MSN Search has teamed up with the American Mensa high IQ society to help promote the service. American Mensa now sports an MSN Search box on its home page, while MSN is to sponsor Mensa events in the US. More from this Microsoft press release: MSN Search Will Sponsor Upcoming American Mensa Events Including Mensa Colloquium 2005 and Mind Games.

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New Guide To PPC Search Listings
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 22, 2005

If you're looking for another site dedicated to paid search, you might give Pay Per Click Universe a whirl. Up for a few months now, it gives you a rundown on what it considers the top ten paid listing services, with the ability to read through some reader reviews. There's a nice list of bid management tools, a section on local paid search, some articles on paid search and more. See also our Pay Per Click Search Engines (CPC/PPC) page that lists some similar long-standing resources.

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Web Analytics Gets Trade Group
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 22, 2005

Trying to understand activity at your web site? Know what converts, what search engines send you traffic, links that are valuable? Mining this information is all part of web analytics -- and that industry just gained a new trade group to spread news and information about the field. The Web Analytics Association provides more information at its web site. See also this ClickZ story: Web Analytics Trade Group Formed. Want to discuss? Visit our forum thread, Web Analytics Association (WAA) Trade Group Formed.

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Your Phone Number On Google & Other Search Engines
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 22, 2005

Yes, Google has (as others do) a phone number search service, as we've written before. Still, it can be a shock to some people if they discover their number is "listed" on Google. Is It Too Easy To Find People On Google? looks at the issues some may have with this type of service at Google and the many other companies that offer it. But in the end, the issue is really with data providers who collect this information from public records, as the story explains.

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Tiscali SEO Service Accused Of Spamming
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 22, 2005

Doorway pages are fine, says Tiscali South Africa, about a new search engine optimization service that the internet access provider and Google partner is offering to customers. Launched earlier this month, the press release about the service raised the ire of some local SEO firms. More in this post.

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Seared Ahi Tuna, Bloglines, and Ask Jeeves
SEW Blog, Feb. 21, 2005

The San Francisco Business Times has a bit more about the Bloglines/Ask Jeeves deal in the article: Bloglines: Ask Jeeves exec gets his news fix with acquisition.

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Getting Quality Links
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 21, 2005

Looking for ways to get quality links? Jennifer Laycock has a nice rundown on ideas to try, such as providing articles to other sites, gaining links through RSS feeds, product reviews and other ideas. See her article at Search Engine Guide: Incoming Links Aren't Hard to Come By With the Right Content.

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New Releases of Web Information Managers
By Gary Price, Feb. 21, 2005

Paula Hane has written an excellent overview of two new releases in the web information management space. In her article: Two New Web Information Managers Debut at DEMO@15, Hane takes a look at Pluck 1.0 and OnFolio 2.0. A summary in this post.

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Pandia Gives Google, Others Top Search Honors
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 21, 2005

Google gets named best search engine and other receive awards in various categories, including Search Engine Watch, in the Pandia Search Engine Awards 2004. In this post, a rundown on all the winners in each category, a nice way to find resources and tools you should check out.

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Yahoo Japan Will Launch Music Download Service
By Gary Price, Feb. 21, 2005

Several sources including Kyodo News and AFP are reporting that Yahoo Japan is planning to launch an music distribution service called Yahoo Music Download. The service will be provided via an alliance with Japan's Label Gate, a "joint venture of 18 firms, mainly music labels, which offers its own Net-based download service under the Mora brand..." Music labels include Toshiba-EMI Inc., Pony Canyon Inc., Yamaha Corp. and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.

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Google Adds "Small Pilot Project" to Google Scholar
By Gary Price, Feb. 20, 2005

You'll now see a link labeled "Preferences" on all Google Scholar pages and on results pages you'll find links labeled, "Web Search" and "Library Search." A bit more on these changes, in this post.

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Ask Jeeves UK Gets Hello Celebrity Content
By Gary Price, Feb. 19, 2005

First, a brief article on the Revolution web site discusses a new deal that will allow Ask Jeeves UK to use content from Hello! magazine (celebrity news and profiles) for their Famous People Smart Search service. Second, Ask Jeeves UK is providing search services on the Virgin Radio Toolbar

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Google Files Senior Executive Bonus Plan Info with SEC
By Gary Price, Feb. 18, 2005

Those of you who keep close track on the business side of Google might be interested in a "current report" (aka 8-K) the company just filed with the SEC. It discusses Google's 2005 Senior Executive Bonus Plan. You'll find the two documents here and here.

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Head of France's National Library Not Happy With Google Library Project
By Gary Price, Feb. 18, 2005

Google book plan sparks French war of words from Reuters notes that the head of France's national library is concerned with Google's plan to digitize library books, saying it's likely to favor Anglo-Saxon ideas and the English language. A bit more in this post.

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Jeeves Creates Smart Search Shortcuts for Blogs and RSS
SEW Blog, Feb. 17, 2005

I've noticed a couple of new Smart Search result boxes on Ask Jeeves. If you search for the term blogs or weblog you'll see a Smart Search box (at the top of the page) that includes numerous links with basic info about blogs and RSS that come from AJ's recent acquisition, Bloglines. A search box for the Bloglines search engine is also part of the Smart Result. A Smart Answer for RSS is also online. It includes a link to Bloglines, info about RSS standards from Harvard and links to RSS feeds from Moreover. Placing these links in a single location at the top of results page can not only help someone new to blogs and RSS access basic info quickly and easily but also help promote the Bloglines service.

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Google Plans to Open Facility in Oregon
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

It appears that Google will be opening a facility in The Dalles, Oregon according to an article in The Business Journal (Portland, OR). Google will pay $1.87 million for 30 acres of industrial land. Google confirmed that the deal was "in the works" but "declined to provide more details about why The Dalles was chosen or what type of work would be done at the site."

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Does Yahoo Want A Piece of Indiatimes?
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

The Financial Times is reporting that Yahoo is in talks with Indiatimes about acquiring a minority stake in the company.

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Fired Googler Mark Jen Speaks, Again
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

Fired Google employee Mark Jen, who raised some eyebrows with his blog posts, discusses how he was never given a "straight answer" about why he was dismissed. But Google was apparently well within its legal rights to dismiss him without giving a reason. More in this story from IDG News Service: Fired Google blogger reflects, moves on. Also see Mark Jen, Controversial Google Blogger, At Google No More for more background on Jen's blogging activities and a timeline.

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The New York Times Buys About.com
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

The bidding is over and the winner has been named. Word this afternoon that The NY Times will become the new owner of About.com. The Times will pay Primedia $410 million in cash. About.com was purchased by Primedia in 2000 for $610 million in stock. Earlier this month we linked to an article that said Yahoo, Google, and AOL were also bidding for About.com. More in the Marketwatch.com article: New York Times to buy About.com.

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New Items for Your Search and Information Retrieval Reading List
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

You've heard of PageRank but now you can read about PeopleRank for photo indexing in a research paper described in this post. Also mentioned, a paper on improving web searching through personalization.

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Shopping Search Technology Firm IM2 Gets Venture Cap Funding, Say Hello to FatLens
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

Those of you with an interest in shopping search might be interested to learn that Silicon Valley startup IM2 Inc. has received $8 million in their first funding round. More from this article from TheDeal.com.

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Google AdWords Coming to AOL Europe
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

Forbes.com has a news brief about Google expanding their relationship with AOL in Europe. According to the story, Google AdWords will now be visible on search results pages from AOL in the UK, France, and Germany.

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Hotmail Users Defect to Gmail
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

According to this BetaNews article, Study: Half of Gmail Switchers from Hotmail, a new study from Return Path that says lots of Hotmail customers are switching to Gmail.

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Bill Gates: We're David and Google is Goliath
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

On ABC World News Tonight, Bill Gates sat down for an interview with Peter Jennings. A couple of times during the interview search and MS competition with Google were discussed. A complete transcript is available here. In this post, highlights on Google as a fantastic competitor and talking to the MSN search team.

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Four New Customers for Vivisimo's Clustering Technology
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

Vivisimo, the search company that plays in both the consumer search space with Clusty and in the enterprise search world has announced that they've landed four new clients for their crawler/federated search/dynamic clustering technology. The Pittsburgh Times article Vivisimo search gets four new clients also mentions that the company currently receives 70% of their revenues from enterprise search and 30% from Clusty.com.

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An Interview with the Developer of Yahoo's YQ!
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

The Yahoo Search Blog as an interview with Reiner Kraf, the developer of Yahoo's new YQ! contextual search tool that Chris reviewed for SearchDay.

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Google's Scholarly and Digitzation Initiatives
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

In this post, a couple of articles and notes about Google's massive digitization project with libraries and Google Scholar. They all come from the library and librarian community. Google's not seen as very forthcoming with details about the project with the participating libraries. Copyright research concerns are raised. And more details.

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Yahoo Gets Fat
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

Yahoo and Showtime Networks have just announced a deal to stream (at the same time it airs on Showtime) the first episode of the new Kirstie Alley series, "Fat Actress" on March 7. The program will be available free and will remain online until March 12. Yahoo will also promote the series with video clips, photos, etc.

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Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7.0: What About Search?
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

In the article: IE 7.0: Missing the Search Boat?, InternetNews.com takes comments (or lack thereof) by Bill Gates about the "full" update Microsoft's IE 7 with a strong focus on security. The article also discusses at the rumored browsers from Google and Yahoo and the problems they might cause for MS.

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More Mobile Access to Yahoo Local Content: Driving Directions
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

It's now possible to send driving directions to your cell phone or mobile device with just one-click, using Yahoo Local. More details in this post.

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Just Map It!
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

If you're interested in learning about the companies that provide Google, Yahoo, MSN, Mapquest and many others the data for their digital map services, a Newsweek article: It's the Road Now Taken, offers an overview of the two companies that provide most of the data, Navteq and Tele Atlas. You'll also read about the people who drive around updating each companies database.

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On Personal Information Management
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

As web and other databases grow larger and the amount of non-web info (email, chat, spreadsheets, etc) in our lives continues to proliferate, managing the content in our personal storehouses of data, will become even more of a challenge. The Seattle Times article: UW ponders how to best store and retrieve electronic information, reports about the "Keeping Found Things Found" (KFTF) research project at the Information School at the University of Washington. The project's home page to plenty of excellent reading about what's going on at UW. More in this post.

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Video Search: Say Hello to Annodex
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

ZDNet is running a story about open source video search technology (available via a plug-in for Firefox) developed by researchers in Australia, called Annodex. More in this news release and in this post.

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Yahoo Goes to Ireland
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

Yahoo is announcing an expansion of their European operations by adding more than 400 new jobs in Dublin, Ireland. According to the article the jobs will involve financial, web hosting and customer support. More in the RTE story: Yahoo HQ to create 400 Dublin jobs. Google opened their European HQ in Dublin in October 2004.

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Paid Search Fastest Growing Media Channel in the UK
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

From Revolution, Online adspend increases by 53% in paid search boom has some new numbers about search engine advertising in the UK.

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Will Mr. Jeeves Get Foxy?
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

Well it looks that rumors about a Google web browser has a new companion. Discussions about an Ask Jeeves browser based on Firefox have started after Tuoc Luong, executive vice president of technology at Jeeves posted about a recent meeting between representatives from Mozilla and Ask Jeeves on the AJ Blog. Luong also talked about "contributing" Ask Jeeves Desktop Search technology to the Mozilla Foundation. The Silicon.com article: Ask Jeeves considers Firefox partnership, has more.

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VNU Chooses AdSense
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

Word in a Reuters story that Google has landed another large client for AdSense. VNU Business Media (Billboard, AdWeek, The Hollywood Reporter, and many trade publications) will now use AdSense on their web sites. A bit more info in the news release.

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Searcher Behavior Prior to Making A Purchase
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

DoubleClick in conjunction with comScore has released a new report today, Search Before the Purchase (6 pages; PDF), that looks at 12 weeks of pre-purchase search engine usage. Summary and methodology are available here. Key Findings: Many buyers complete their relevant search activity well in advance of purchase; The majority of pre-purchase search activity (both searches and clicks) involves generic terms; Branded terms dominate search activity closer to the purchase.

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Feedster Integrated into Onfolio 2.0
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

Last March, Chris had many positive things to say about Onfolio, a web search assistant. Today, a new release of Onfolio is available (ver. 2.0). It includes MANY new features including the integration of Feedster into Onfolio. Other new features in Onfolio 2.0 include complete integration with Firefox and an RSS news reader.

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Yahoo Desktop Search for the Enterprise?
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

Desktop search tools to move from desktop to Intranet, is the title of a ZDNet article that includes comments from Peter Crowe, head of search at Yahoo Australia and New Zealand, about possibly offering an enterprise version of their desktop search application. A bit more in this post on desktop search and enterprise use in the past.

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Googlers Give to Democrats
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

An article in the USA Today, Google's givers go Democratic, discusses the $207,650 of donations given to federal candidates in 2004 -- 98 percent to Democrats. In October, I posted about a couple of campaign finance databases, available for free on the web, where you can search for donors by employer.

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Screen Captures of Exalead's Desktop Search Application
By Gary Price, Feb. 13, 2005

We've been tracking Exalead, the feature filled (putting it mildly) web search engine from France since it became available last October. About a month ago, Exlead's web database passed the one billion page mark. Since October, we've also known that Exalead has plans to enter the desktop search space. We still don't know exactly when a beta release will be available but some screen captures are available via the French language web search newsletter, Netchercheur. From what we can see, Exalead Desktop Search will offer many of the same features and sport the similar UI as their robust web engine.

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He's a Googler and a Doodler
By Gary Price, Feb. 13, 2005

The Toronto Star has published a profile of Dennis Hwang, the Google programmer who is also the artist behind Google's many special logos (aka Google Doodles). Doodling with the Google logo.

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Feed Search at Yahoo?
By Gary Price, Feb. 12, 2005

Yesterday, Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion posted an item about noticing a crawler named "Yahoo-NewsCrawler Test" in his RSS logs. The Yahoo News "test" crawler (Yahoo also has a crawler named Yahoo Newscrawler) was also seen and reported in a WMW post about two weeks ago. Rubel's posts goes on to speculate that Yahoo might be adding an feed search option to their news search database and/or offer it as a standalone service. It's a good question but Yahoo isn't offering any details about what, if anything, they're up to at this time. We asked Yahoo for a comment and received back the following: "As part of our ongoing commitment to improving the user experience we are always testing a variety of new technologies."

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