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The Search Engine Update, June 2, 1999, Number 54

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Search Engine Watch

THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
June 2, 1999 - Number 54

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/

===================
About The Update
===================

The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to those people who have subscribed to Search Engine Watch, http://searchenginewatch.com/.

Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

===================
In This Issue
===================

+ General Notes
+ Infoseek Adds New Search Features
+ US Government Search Engine Launched
+ Northern Light Adds Research Options
+ Inktomi Launches European Search Center
+ Excite Round-Up
+ Netscape Enhances Smart Browsing
+ Alexa Upgrades For Internet Explorer
+ DejaNews, Mining Company Make Significant Relaunches
+ Bait-And-Switch Gets Attention
+ RealNames Spricht Deutsch
+ Toolbox
+ Search Engine Articles
+ Subscribing/Unsubscribing Info

===================
General Notes
===================

Hello Everyone--

Within the Subscribers-Only area, pages for HotBot, Inktomi and Lycos have now been revised, as has the Search Engine Submission Chart. New pages for Direct Hit and the Open Directory have been added, along with a new Directory Submission Chart. I plan to add more page revisions for some of the other search engines shortly. I'll also post a revised offline edition within a few days that includes the new and updated pages.

A new More About Doorway Pages article has been added that covers guidelines to consider when submitting doorway pages. The chart portion of that page is still under development.

A new Search Engine Index page has been added, which features quick stats about search engines. I'll be adding to this page over time. Some resources for Japan and Australia have also been added to the Search Engine Demographics page.

All the pages above can be found via the Subscribers-Only Area's What's New page, listed below. If you have forgotten your password, please try the Password Finder, also listed below.

Within the public portion of Search Engine Watch, I'm still working on getting the various resources within the site, such as the search engine listings, transitioned over to a new system. I'd hoped to have it running by now, but it's looks like it will go up sometime next week. When it does, there will be many new and revised listings available.

Meanwhile, the Search Engine Features For Webmasters has been slightly updated, as has the Search Assistance Features page and the Checking Your URL page. Also, there's a new feature on Search Spotlight that recaps research that was done on over one-half billion searches at AltaVista. I think you'll find it interesting reading. Links to all these pages can be found off the What's New page.

I also plan to get the Media Metrix and NetRatings pages updated shortly, with the EKGs hopefully revised later this month. Keep an eye on What's New for when these are ready.

Finally, I'll be doing sessions on search engines and general online promotion at Web Design World in Seattle next month. They'll be especially aimed toward web designers. More information can be found off the second link, below.

Subscribers-Only Area: What's New
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/new.html

Password Finder
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/finder.html

What's New
http://searchenginewatch.com/whatsnew.html

Web Design World
http://www.thunderlizard.com/tlp/wdworld.html

====================
Search Engine News
====================

Infoseek Adds New Search Features

Infoseek added a "Similar Searches" feature and search term highlighting to its service in May, as well as making changes to speed up the display of search results. The size of the Infoseek index has also been increased.

Similar Searches displays popular queries that are related to your original search. For instance, if you search for "travel," you would be shown similar searches such as "travel agent" and "discount travel." These similar searches appear on the search results page, just below the search box. They are displayed as links, so that clicking on any similar search will rerun your query using those words.

Many people search too broadly, and this feature is a great way to narrow in on what you may be looking for. Nor is Infoseek alone in offering it. AltaVista debuted its "Related Searches" feature back in December, and HotBot recently added its own feature. Excite has long offered a related keywords feature, but it has recently been enhancing this with actual search phrases. See the Search Assistance page below for an illustrated guide to how the similar searches feature works at each service.

Infoseek has also introduced search term highlighting, a first for any of the major services. Now when you do a search, the words you searched for will be highlighted in the titles and descriptions of pages listed in the search results. This is designed to make it easier to spot pages of interest by focusing your attention on where your search terms occur.

There's been a mixed reaction to the highlighting, with some people hating it but others loving it, according to Infoseek. "Overall, we think it's a win," said Jennifer Mullin, Director of Search and Navigation. "They can find things faster, and it calls their attention to it."

If you're one of those that hates the new highlighting, Mullin said that Infoseek is considering making this an optional feature that can be switched off. Similarly, Infoseek may also allow you to choose a preferred color to use for highlighting, in the future.

Behind the scenes, Infoseek has increased the size of its index from 50 million to 75 million web pages. That still leaves it behind services such as Northern Light, AltaVista and Inktomi, which index in excess of 100 million pages. But the increase does put Infoseek well past rivals Excite and Lycos, which remain in the 50 million page range.

Why the increase? It's a mix of keeping up with the growth of the web and keeping up with Infoseek's rivals.

"Unfortunately, it's a huge marketing perception thing, that bigger is better," said Mullin. "But we also we feel the web itself is growing faster." she explained. Mullin said that Infoseek plans further size increases, but it will also stay focused on keeping the quality of results its first priority.

Infoseek also introduced a number of design changes, with faster results being what it is promoting the most. Removing excess images from the results page means that it should load in about five seconds, for those using a 33.6K modem connection, compared to about eight seconds previously.

The home page has also been reworked to be faster, and it offers the ability to directly log-in to a personalized home page. You'll also notice that Infoseek's branding has now been entirely replaced with that of its Go Network, even if you go to the infoseek.go.com site, as opposed to www.go.com. Previously, going to infoseek.go.com still invoked the Infoseek logo.

What this means is that, at least from Infoseek's point of view, the Infoseek site no longer exists. It has now been replaced by the Go Network site. "We want to be crystal clear that GO Network is the foremost consumer portal brand we intend to invest in," said Infoseek President Harry Motro, in a press release on the brand changeover.

While Infoseek "the site" is gone, Infoseek "the brand" remains in use to identify the technology powering the Go Network's search functionality. Infoseek also remains the name of the company that, with Disney, jointly owns the Go Network.

I know this may sound like a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo, but it's important to understand mainly because you're going to be hearing many more references to Go in the future and less to Infoseek. Just think of Go as the new name for the Infoseek site, and you'll avoid confusion. In future articles, I'll also begin referring to Go rather than Infoseek, when discussing the site.

Aside from cosmetics, there have been some important functional design changes. One of these is the ability to hide "Matching Topics" from the search results page. By default, Infoseek will first show relevant topics from its human-compiled directory, then show matching web page results, in response to a search. If you don't like seeing the topic information, just click on the small green button to the extreme right of the reverse bar that says "Matching Topics." That removes them until you click on the button at a future date to restore them.

The ability to search within a set of results also remains, but now you must choose this option by selecting the small "Search within results" option just above the search box on the results page, rather than below it.

Infoseek has also changed the name of its advanced search page to "Search Options" on its home page, to encourage more use. "People were kind of intimidated by the word advanced," Mullin said. Now Infoseek says usage has increased from about three percent to five percent. Other search engines have also reported increase usage when they've adopted more user-friendly names for their advanced search pages.

The Search Options link appears just below the search box, on the home page. You'll also find the link to GOguardian, Infoseek's filtered search option, in the same place. Make use of this if you have the need to filter results when searching with children.

Finally, just before the newsletter went out, Infoseek announced that it would be adding RealNames information to its search results. The implementation is likely to be similar to that at AltaVista, and Infoseek says to expect seeing RealNames appear around September.

Infoseek/Go
http://www.go.com/

About The Go Redesign
http://www.go.com/GoHome/modules/about_new_design.html

Learn more about the home page design changes at Go and how they relate to personalization.

Search Assistance Features
http://searchenginewatch.com/facts/assistance.html

Learn how similar searches and other features work at various search engines.

===================

US Government Search Engine Launched

A new search engine that focuses on information from US government sources was opened in May. Called Gov.Search, the service is jointly produced by search engine Northern Light and the U.S. Commerce Department's National Technical Information Service through a five-year agreement.

The service is unusual for the web in that searching is not free. Those wishing to use it must pay for access, which ranges from US $15 for a day pass, $30 for a monthly pass or $250 for a year. Special pricing is also available to companies and organizations that require multiple accounts.

The idea of having to pay for using the service raised some criticism when it was initially announced, causing the fee structure to be put on hold through May. Indeed, I had an initial negative reaction to the idea that a service coproduced by the US government would be charging US taxpayers, among others, to access its information. The reality is much more positive, as I'll explain below. But first, let's have a closer look at how the service works.

Northern Light has now indexed about 4 million web pages located on more than 20,000 US government servers, which also include military and some educational sites. In addition to this information, it has also indexed about 2 million specialty records from the NTIS.

"It's probably the largest collection of government web sites that are being searched at this time, to our understanding," said Leslie Ray, director of partnership marketing at Northern Light.

The NTIS has worked with Northern Light to classify the various government web servers by agency, so that you can narrow a search to within a particular branch of government. Northern Light itself has further classified documents using its own technology into subjects such as "energy" and "health care."

Thus, one can choose to search for something like "satellites" narrowed to US military sites and the subject of "missile technology." That produces radically different results than looking for "satellites" narrowed to US agencies and the subject of "space technology." It's a degree of control simply unavailable at an ordinary search service.

Anyone who needs to search through government data on a regular basis will probably find the ability to filter their searches in this way to be useful. That's what Gov.Search is banking on -- that searchers will feel that the extra organization will save them time and thus be worth paying for access. Northern Light says that so far, the signs are positive.

"We've actually had a great customer response to the site since it launched," Susan Stearns, Northern Light's director of enterprise marketing.

Now what about the concern that the service is limiting freedom of information? The opposite is true -- the fee service is actually making free access to government information better.

That's because Northern Light itself offers the ability to do a government search at its web site. It has always offered this, but now that the company is coproducing Gov.Search, it's being paid to do a deeper and more in-depth crawl of government sites than in the past. This work is intended for Gov.Search, but the deeper information can also be accessed for free through the Northern Light site.

Without Gov.Search, Northern Light would have far less incentive to do a deeper crawl. In fact, if you do a domain restricted search to just .gov sites at Northern Light, you find it has over 2.5 million pages listed, versus about 250,000 .gov pages at AltaVista and about 625,000 at Inktomi-powered MSN Search. Thus, Gov.Search has already helped all those searching for free at Northern Light.

By the way, that 2.5 million figure for Northern Light is lower than the 4 million government pages I said were indexed earlier. But don't forget that pages from military (.mil) and some educational sites (.edu) are included in the 4 million figure. There are even some government sites that end in .com, Northern Light says.

So why bother using Gov.Search? At Northern Light, you can do a search of government sites by going to the Power Search page and choosing "Government Web Sites." That's it. You can't narrow the search to particular branches of government, as described above, nor are there as many subject filters to choose from. For the casual searcher, Gov.Search is probably overkill. But for the search professional, Gov.Search may be an important new resource in your research arsenal.

One glitch I noticed was that Gov.Search was also including pages from UK (.gov.uk) and Australian (.gov.au) government sites, probably because they use .gov in their URLs. Similar cases may also have slipped through from other countries. These sites really shouldn't be included because Gov.Search is supposed to deal only with US government web sites (and yes, in the Northern Light comparison count above, I did take measures to help mitigate for this glitch).

Gov.Search also provides access to search those 2 million specialty records I mentioned. This is material that previously couldn't be accessed through the web. "It's mostly only been available in CD-ROM, microfiche and printed form," said Northern Light's Leslie Ray. Viewing one of these records costs extra, $1 each, in most cases. Northern Light says the NTIS already charges for this information when presented in other formats.

Gov.Search
http://www.usgovsearch.com

Northern Light
http://northernlight.com/

Federal fee-for-search site said suspended
News.com, May 18, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36695,00.html

The site was never suspended -- only the fee-for-search aspect was, temporarily. While the articles say critics "basted" the new service, there's only one organization being cited -- and it has nothing against Gov.Search posted at its web site.

Gov.Search Add URL form
http://standard.northernlight.com/cgi-bin/govsearch_url_submit.pl

If you run a government web site, use this form to alert Gov.Search to your server.

Google US Government Search
http://www.google.com/unclesam

Google has its own US government search service. Test queries show it to be much smaller than Northern Light's index, yielding only 10 to 50 percent of Northern Light's counts. But the relevancy of some of the matches was impressive. Definitely worth a visit.

iAtlas
http://www.iatlas.com/

I'm still planning a proper review of iAtlas, but if the idea of filtered searches as described above excites you, iAtlas offers this ability to do this on general web documents using company criteria. For instance, you can try that "satellite" search narrowed to banking and finance companies based in Los Angeles, using its filters.

====================

Northern Light Adds Research Options

Northern Light now also operates a "research" version of its service, where the default is to search within its Special Collection index. This index has information from over 5,400 publications, much of which is not available on the web. Searching is for free, and then documents can be purchased for between $1 and $4.

Northern Light says some research professionals prefer to search only Special Collection, rather than the entire web and the Special Collection combined, which is the default at the main Northern Light service. Northern Light Research was created to serve this particular audience. A shopping cart service is also active at the Research edition, making it easier to purchase several documents at the same time.

You can access the research version of Northern Light via the URL below. Be aware that if you do this, you will always be taken to the research version in the future, even if you try to go to the main service. To correct this, you'll have to delete the cookie that Northern Light installs on your computer. It should have the word northernlight in the filename.

Another relatively new feature are Northern Light's "Special Editions," which provide in-depth coverage of major news and current events. Assembled by Northern Light librarians, the Special Editions provide links to free articles within the Special Collection index, links to hand-picked relevant sites across the web and preprogrammed queries for searching the entire web. Current topics range from the Kosovo Crisis to the Year 2000 computer problem

Finally, Northern Light is now reporting a web index of 155 million pages and climbing, which gives it the largest index of any service, based on self-reported numbers. It bumps AltaVista into second place, at 150 million pages.

Northern Light
http://northernlight.com/

Northern Light Research Version
http://www.nlresearch.com/

Northern Light Special Editions
http://special.northernlight.com/

====================

Inktomi Launches European Search Center

Inktomi has opened an index of European web sites that will serve its partners who are based in Europe. The 50 million page index is based in the United Kingdom and mostly populated by content from European web servers.

"Our belief is we need to have a presence in Europe because of where content lies," said Inktomi spokesperson Kevin Brown.

Inktomi partners such as UKMax (http://ukmax.com) and Dagens Nyheter (http://dn.se) are expected to begin using the index within weeks.

The European index has more European pages than the main global index used by Inktomi partners such as HotBot. It also contain a selected number of pages from extremely popular sites from around the world. This means that even when doing a "European" or local search, users may be presented with non-European content.

This has been done intentionally, Inktomi says. The idea is that European users are looking for content mainly based in Europe, but that they also want to know about any other important pages worldwide without having to do a separate "global" search. Inktomi is able to do this by including a limited number of popular global pages in the European index.

Inktomi's European partners will still be able to offer a separate "global" search option, for those that wish to look across the web in more depth. But Inktomi also says its possible that some European pages may be removed from the "global" index in the future, so that it can contain more content from US-based and other web sites.

Inktomi also announced that it is now powering the AOL-owned CompuServe search service, which was previously powered by Excite. AOL's other important search services, AOL NetFind and Netscape Search, remain powered by Excite, but that relationship is expected to end soon. Inktomi wouldn't say whether it was in line to take over from Excite, but the CompuServe deal clearly gives it an edge.

Inktomi
http://www.inktomi.com/

Inktomi Partners
http://www.inktomi.com/products/search/partners.html

A list of partners, including regional search services, that use Inktomi's search engine.

CompuServe
http://www.compuserve.com/

Netscape Makes Friends In Europe
InternetNews.com, May 25, 1999
http://www.internetnews.com/fina-news/article/0,1087,6_126851,00.htm

Netscape has also made recent moves to expand its presence in Europe

====================

Excite Round-Up

There were a number of changes at Excite in May, which I though best to cover in one single round-up. So let's dive in:

+ Excite has begun integrating custom content into its directory listing, similar to how this custom content is already appearing within search results. For instance, if you browse into the Major League Baseball category, you'd discover baseball scores and statistics along with actual web site listings.

"We're trying to condition users to recognize that the directory is a single place they can go to find everything around that topic," said Abbot Chambers, who oversees the Excite directory.

To browse the directory, simply begin navigating from one of the topics on the Excite home page, just underneath the search box. To learn more about Excite's custom content, see the article below.

+ New options were added for personalizing the Excite home page, including the ability to minimize components such as stock listings and add new content components such as soap opera updates.

The best feature is the ability to easily add a photo to the home page. Just select an image on your computer using a simple point-and-click interface, and Excite instantly resizes it and displays it on your home page. I know it has nothing to do with search, but it's still pretty slick to go to Excite and see a picture of my son welcoming me there!

+ The merger with @Home was completed, producing new company called Excite@Home.

+ Excite has launched the Excite Affiliates Network, which allows sites to add content from Excite to their pages for free. This includes items such as web and news search, sports scores and standings, stock quote lookups or weather. Using Excite content also generates credit for free online advertising in the SmartClicks network of small business sites.

+ The new Excite Search Voyeur shows you what topics people are searching for at Excite. This is similar to the Magellan Search Voyeur and the WebCrawler Search Voyeur which run on Excite's other properties. My impression is that queries from all three of Excite's search services are dumped into a common pool that these various "Voyeur" services tap into. If so, that would mean that no matter which Voyeur you use, you are seeing queries from across the Excite network.

+ Excite's partnership to power searches from within Real's RealPlayer was ended in May, and its partnership to produce the Netscape NetCenter web site is scheduled to end on June 17.

+ Excite has launched a broadband service, ExciteExtreme, while also making an application available to access personalized information via the narrowband Palm VII. I think narrowband is going to be far more important a venue for portals than broadband, so expect me (and my new Palm III -- should have gotten the IIIX!) to explore this more in the future.

Excite
http://www.excite.com/

Excite Results Get More Targeted
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/04-excite.html

Find out more about what "custom content" Excite is offering within search and directory results.

Search: The New Generation
http://www.excite.com/events/search

Excite's own guide makes it easy to see custom content in action.

Excite Personalization Help
http://www.excite.com/Info/welcome.html

Learn about personalizing the Excite home page.

Excite Affiliates Network
http://affiliate.excite.com

After you register, go into "Select Content" to choose the items you wish to display.

Excite Search Voyeur
http://www.excite.com/voyeur_xt

Snap! To Replace Excite In Real's G2
InternetNews.com, May 17, 1999
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,1087,3_118981,00.html

More details about Excite being dropped from powering Real's RealPlayer search.

Excite, Netscape split comes next month
Bloomberg, May 15, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36616,00.html

More details about the Excite-Netscape deal ending.

ExciteExtreme
http://excitextreme.com/

My Excite For Palm VII
http://www.palm.net/apps/users/download/1,1051,179,00.html

=========================

Netscape Enhances Smart Browsing

Netscape has made several enhancements to its Smart Browsing system, including the integration of material from AOL's Digital City and expanded What's Related information.

Now when you search for information containing a regional aspect, such as "san francisco movies" or "new york weather," you may be presented with relevant information from the Digital City site alongside other suggestions.

Netscape is also presenting more information to those clicking on What's Related button in its browser, which appears to the right of the "Netsite" address box. When viewing a web site, What's Related shows a list of other sites that are similar in content. Additionally, it will now show related categories from the Netscape Open Directory, if the site you are viewing itself is listed somewhere within the directory. Also, the new "site info" option presents data about the site's popularity and ownership, as drawn from the Alexa database. Selecting the "Detailed List" option will present all the What's Related information on a web page, for easier viewing.

Smart Browsing is available to those using Communicator 4 or higher. A new 4.6 version has just been released.

Netscape Smart Browsing
http://home.netscape.com/escapes/smart_browsing/

Learn more about Smart Browsing, with an option to try it online even if you don't have Netscape. A link to download the Communicator browser is also listed.

Netscape's Smart Browsing Matures
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/04-netscape.html

A longer look at how Netscape Smart Browsing works.

=========================

Alexa Upgrades For Internet Explorer

Alexa has released a new version of its free navigation and site information tool for Internet Explorer. Designed for especially for IE5, it adds new information and additional options than previous versions.

By default, Alexa information will appear vertically in a pane along the left-hand side of your screen. You'll see six categories of information presented, with a + symbol next to each of them. Clicking on the + symbol "opens" the category to reveal detailed information. Here's a summary of what each category shows.

+ Contact Info shows who owns the web site, as drawn from domain registration records. New links also display a map to the company's address and city information for where it is located.

+ Site Stats provides a look at what Alexa users think of it, freshness and speed estimates, links to any reviews from Yahoo Internet Life and the Britannica Internet Guide, and the ability to retrieve an older version of the page from the Alexa archives.

+ Related Links has always been at the heart of Alexa. Here, it shows you sites that it considers to be similar in topic or content to the site you are viewing. If you already run IE5, this portion of Alexa is already built-in. Just choose Tools from the menu options, then select Show Related Links.

+ News shows any financial news for publicly-held companies.

+ Reference provides the ability to query reference sites such as the Britannica Internet Guide or Merriam-Webster online dictionary and thesaurus.

+ Search is a new feature that allows direct access to search HotBot, Yahoo or AltaVista.

Don't overlook some key data at the top and bottom of the pane. At the top, you'll be shown Alexa's traffic estimate for the site, and any site reviews submitted by Alexa users are also available. If you click on the Alexa logo, you'll be treated to a special "insiders" page that shows interesting web statistics. For instance, 1 in every 28 page views on the Web is a search results page, Alexa says.

At the bottom, there's the ability to view site data in a single page report. Webmasters, at the bottom of this form, you'll find options to edit the contact data listed for your site or to suggest related links.

I find the last option in the pane, "About the data," to be more useful than the single page report. It shows the site's key data on a single page, supplemented with explanations about what the data means and where it comes from.

Other enhancements include the ability to keep Alexa from automatically loading when you start your browser, which was a pain in the old version. Just go into the last category, Help, and set the Auto-Launch option to OFF. After doing this, you'll have to start Alexa by going to the View menu option, then select Explorer Bar, then select either Alexa Vertical or Alexa Horizontal.

The Alexa Horizontal option puts Alexa information along the bottom of your browser window, with each category available through a tab like interface. A small button at the top of the vertical display, or at the left of the horizontal display, lets you easily toggle between these display options.

Alexa for IE is an extremely fast and easy download. Within 30 seconds, you'll have it running within your browser. I'd say it's a must add due to the wealth of extra information that it can provide about a site, especially as you no longer always have to have it switched on. Although designed for Internet Explorer 5, it also works with IE4. Versions for Netscape, IE3 and the Mac are also available.

Alexa
http://www.alexa.com/

Click on the big download link to get Alexa for IE4/5.

Alexa: Systems Requirements/Other Versions
http://www.alexa.com/download/system_reqs.html

Not running IE4/5? Visit the Systems Requirements page, then scroll down and choose the browser platform of your choice. AOL users should also read this page before trying to install Alexa.

Internet Explorer 5 Makes Search Easier
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/04-ie5.html

Learn about other ways to enhance IE5 for searching the web or how to make better use of its built-in assistants.

Alexa Adds Webmaster Tools
The Search Engine Update, April 5, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/9904-alexa.html

More help understanding how to change and influence the data Alexa reports about your site.

Amazon details its shopping habits
News.com, May 13, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36537,00.html

Amazon's not saying why it acquired Alexa in April, so analysts make their own guesses.

=========================

DejaNews, Mining Company Make Significant Relaunches

DejaNews and the Mining Company, both well-known sites with search-and-navigation features, made substantial changes in how they are presenting themselves in May.

DejaNews had the most dramatic relaunch. It has been the preeminent site for newsgroup searching for years. Now called simply Deja, the site has added the ability to view user-supplied ratings in various categories.

Newsgroup searching remains, but it is no longer Deja's sole focus -- and users that haven't been to Deja for sometime can be forgiven if they assumed newsgroup information had been removed entirely. That's because the terms "newsgroups" and "usenet" seem to have been banished from the Deja site.

Instead, Deja now features "discussions," which is simply its own name for newsgroups. Individual newsgroups are referred to as "forums." So the newsgroup information is still there, it's just hidden behind new names.

You can search newsgroups from the Deja home page by selecting the "discussions" option below the search box. You can also browse newsgroups by topic via links along the left side of the home page, then choosing the "discussions" tab at the top of pages that appear.

New newsgroup-related options include the Deja Tracker feature, which will notify you when someone responds to your newsgroup posting, and the ability to have newsgroup information emailed to you in full-text or summary versions.

The Mining Company has undergone a name change, designed to present its site as a destination, rather than a search service. Now called About.com, it continues to feature over 600 "guides" offering original content in various areas.

The Mining Company originally took its name from the concept that the guides running its various sites would "mine" the web and help people find what they are looking for better than a search engine could. To that degree, the Mining Company put itself forward as a competitor with the search engines.

In contrast, I never saw the Mining Company as a competitor in the search space. Instead, I've always seen it as a collection of excellent destination sites. People turn to search engines in order to find good sites like those produced by the Mining Company/About.com -- with the quality made possible in part because About.com's guides earn money for their work, rather than just being volunteers.

If you're looking for actual information about a topic, rather than just links to sites about a topic, then consider a stop at About.com. An overhaul of the service done earlier this year makes it even easier to search within About.com to find a guide of interest. And don't worry -- you'll also find plenty of outbound links to other relevant content on the web from any About.com guide.

Deja
http://www.deja.com/

Deja Power Search
http://www.deja.com/home_ps.shtml

Prefer things the old way? Try using the power search page.

Deja What's New
http://www.deja.com/info

Quick, helpful overview to the recent changes at Deja.

Revamped Deja News debuts
News.com, May 10, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36324,00.html

A look at the reasons behind Deja's radical change.

RemarQ
http://www.remarq.com/

Absolutely hate the new Deja? Try RemarQ, which also offers newsgroup searching. Like Deja, newsgroups have been renamed -- it's "communities" at RemarQ. But unlike Deja, the focus is entirely on newsgroups.

About.com
http://www.about.com/

What This Has Been All About.Com
New York Times, May 17, 1999
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/05/biztech/articles/17onli.html

More behind-the-scenes info about the name change at About.com.

=========================

Bait-And-Switch Gets Attention

Anyone who deals in search engine optimization knows that for ages, people have been taking high-ranking pages from other sites and submitting them to the search engines in an attempt to hijack traffic. It's one of the worst forms of spamming and also violates copyright laws. Now the tactic has cropped up more publicly in the past two weeks. See the two articles below.

The growing use of cloaking programs is magnifying the problem, which goes beyond the basic spamming that the MSNBC article covers. Nor is it just porn sites that are involved. Companies of all sorts are engaging in this practice.

One solution would be for the search engines to display the exact page that their spiders have indexed. This would help web authors confirm whether they have been ripped off. This does raise some copyright issues, however. If search engines replicate pages in this way, they might themselves being violating copyright laws. Perhaps displaying a non-HTML formatted version would be a solution to this.

However it is done, I would like to see the search engines take a more active role in combating this type of spam. Also, the MSNBC article makes it sounds as if the FBI and the US Federal Trade Commission might become involved in policing this type of activity. But the APB Online article gives an opposite impression, at least where the FBI is concerned.

Porn Hucksters Pirate Sheriffs' Sites
APB Online, May 26, 1999
http://www.apbonline.com/911/1999/05/26/porn0526_01.html

Scam diverts surfers to porn sites
MSNBC, May 18, 1999
http://msnbc.com/news/270689.asp

=========================

RealNames Spricht Deutsch

The popular German search service Fireball is now displaying RealNames information at the top of its web results, similar to how RealNames have been presented at AltaVista.

A key difference is that for the first time, a regional set of RealNames is being used. For instance, search for BMW at AltaVista, and the RealNames link will take you to the global BMW site, www.bmw.com. In contrast, the RealNames link at Fireball takes you to the German BMW site, www.bmw.de. Similarly, other searches at Fireball draw from a database of German RealNames.

It's a great concept that I can't wait to see extended. It neatly solves the problem of which corporate web site to serve up when a company is multinational.

Fireball
http://www.fireball.de/

RealNames
http://www.realnames.com/

Was Ist RealNames?
http://heavymetal.fireball.de:4080/

Information |ber RealNames, auf Deutsch, von Fireball. Sie kvnnen hier auch RealNames kaufen (oder "abonnieren").

=========================
Toolbox
=========================

Position Pro Submission Service Launched

Position Pro is a new, industrial strength submission service that I've been beta testing over the past few months. It will spider your web site, then queue up pages for submission to the various search engines in accordance with various submission limits. There's the ability to do basic position tracking, an at-a-glance view of page titles and meta tags for all your pages, the option to identify pages as "doorways" for tracking purposes and more. For anyone running a large-scale web site and dealing with submission issues, Position Pro may offer the tools you've been looking for.

Position Pro
http://www.positionpro.com/

=========================
Search Engine Articles
=========================

Hypersearching the Web
Scientific American, June 1999
http://www.sciam.com/1999/0699issue/0699raghavan.html

Written by members of IBM's Clever project, it's a slightly technical look at on how Clever is using link data to build a smarter search service.

AOL not alone in volunteer controversy
News.com, May 27, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,37144,00.html

A good look at how the use of volunteers at places like the Open Directory, GeoCities and Tripod might result in lawsuits, such as the one AOL currently faces.

If Search Engines Were People
About Web Search Guide, May 21, 1999
http://websearch.about.com/library/weekly/aa052199.htm

Gives a personality to each of the major search engines to help you decide which to choose.

How prime is portal real estate?
News.com, May 20, 1999
http://news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,36662,00.html

Despite questions being raised over the value of portal deals, they remain very important for the time being. A good look at the many issues involved.

Flexibility key to portal-merchant deals
News.com, May 20, 1999
http://news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,36665,00.html

Advice for those forging relationships with the portals.

Landscape shifting under Netcenter
News.com, May 20, 1999
http://news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,36664,00.html

Lots of details on how partnering within the Netscape site no longer is seen as valuable to search services as in the past.

LookSmart sees big IPO in its future
Bloomberg, May 19, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36760,00.html

LookSmart plans to go public by the end of this year.

NBC Seals Net Deal; Diller Dumps Lycos
Internet World, May 17, 1999
http://www.internetworld.com/print/1999/05/17/news/19990517-nbc.html

Contrasts the collapse of the Lycos-USA Networks deal to the newly-announced NBC Interactive company that combines Snap, Xoom and other Internet properties.

Searching for hits, dollars
MSNBC, May 12, 1999
http://www.msnbc.com/news/271083.asp

A look at the development of new services such as Google and Direct Hit. Much will be familiar to readers of this newsletter, but there are some interesting quotes and discussions of recent IPOs.

Seven Stupid Searching Mistakes
About Web Search Guide, May 12, 1999
http://websearch.about.com/library/weekly/aa051299.htm

Tips on avoiding common search blunders.

USA Networks, Lycos, Ticketmaster Online Terminate Merger
InternetNews.com, May 12, 1999
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,1087,3_115521,00.html

Recap of the Lycos-USA Networks deal collapsing.

Inktomi enjoys toiling in anonymity
USA Today, May 12, 1999
http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctf143.htm

Profile of Inktomi and CEO Dave Peterschmidt.

Will broadband deals leave Yahoo behind?
News.com, May 10, 1999
http://news.com/SpecialFeatures/0,5,36282,00.html

Forget high-speed Internet services. The real future could very well be in appealing to low-speed handheld devices like the Palm, which has a bigger audience than broadband right now. But if you're a believer in broadband nirvana, here's a look at Yahoo's position on it.

Excite Does a Little Portal Trendsetting
Industry Standard, May 7, 1999
http://www.thestandard.com/articles/display/0,1449,4482,00.htm

Excite's cut a deal with a company that helps you share data files like spreadsheets across the web. Will it be the next big portal thing?

Taking Portals Personally
Web Review, April 30, 1999
http://webreview.com/wr/pub/1999/04/30/feature/

A comprehensive look at personalization options at the major portals is available in the first article off this page, while the second offers a look at membership numbers and other interesting stats.

===================
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===================

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=========================
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