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The Search Engine Update, September 4, 2000, Number 84

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THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
September 4, 2000 - Number 84

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/
Copyright (c) 2000 internet.com corporation

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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.

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In This Issue

+ Site and Conference News
+ GoTo Redevelops, Reaches Out
+ Monetizing The Search
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Search Engine Optimization Firm Sold For $95 Million
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Finding Articles Online
+ Newsgroup Searching: And Then There Was One
+ Search Engine Optimization Resources
+ Search Engine Roundup
-- Excite Integrates Category Info
-- AOL Adds Popularity Search
-- Estie Launder Settles Part of Keyword Ad Suit
-- Site Searchers Read More File Formats
-- Google Offers Site Search
+ New Search Engine Sites & Resources
+ Interesting Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Site and Conference News

Hello Everyone--

A happy Labor Day to all those in the US -- I really shouldn't be working myself, today, but the newsletter must go out :)

It's always been possible to search for content within Search Engine Watch, but I've downplayed the option in preference to navigation via links. That's because I get people who mistakenly think Search Engine Watch IS a search engine. Given this, making the search box more prominent wasn't prudent. Nevertheless, I've done so now. There's simply so much content that even I can't remember where everything is. To help you locate material, a search box now appears at the bottom of each page, and the dedicated search form remains at the link below:

Search Form
http://searchenginewatch.com/search.html

As you are a site subscriber, you should either make use of the search box at the bottom of pages within the Subscribers-Only area or the new SuperSearch form, below. This lets you search across both public and Subscribers-Only content, for the first time.

SuperSearch
http://searchenginewatch.com/supersearch.html

I expect the web site for the next Search Engine Strategies conference to go up later this week. As mentioned last time, it's planned for Dallas, on November 9. In addition to the usual panels and presentations on search engine marketing issues, we're planning some concurrent sessions on other search engine issues, such as adding a search engine to your web site, vertical search and more. We're also expecting to have some new roundtable discussions for advanced search engine marketing issues in the morning, while the main track focuses on basic issues. Use the form on the page below to be emailed when the conference site is ready.

Search Engine Conferences
http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/conferences.html

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GoTo Redevelops, Reaches Out

It's been a busy few months for GoTo.com. In addition to rolling out major changes to its site, GoTo has also been establishing new deals to distribute its results through other sites. The moves are designed to take GoTo from being only a paid placement search engine to a source of paid listings that powers other search engines. In turn, this raises issues about how paid results are disclosed at GoTo-powered services.

The basics of how GoTo operates haven't changed. From the home page, you can perform a search, then get back results similar to any other search engine. The key difference, of course, is that these results are bought and sold. GoTo remains the only major search engine to sell its main listings this way. Advertisers agree to pay GoTo an amount for each person that clicks on their link, and those who agree to pay the most get listed first, through an auction system.

In contrast, the new "Quick Hit" links that appear at the top of GoTo's search results are a significant change for the search engine, because they are the first real editorial content the service has provided. Quick Hits appear in response to queries involving popular brand or company names. For example, search for "microsoft," and a link that says "Quick Hit Result: The official site for microsoft" appears at the top of the page. Clicking on the link takes you straight to the Microsoft web site.

Until now, GoTo had been a pure Yellow Pages-style service. As with the Yellow Pages, those with the biggest ad budgets get the biggest ads -- or top listings, in GoTo's case. That's not necessarily a bad relevancy model for some types of searches, especially for products and services. The companies you want might be the same companies that can afford to spend on advertising. In fact, GoTo's paid placement results have outperformed some other major search engines in surveys performed by NPD.

Nevertheless, there are definitely times when you want editorial guidance, and Quick Hits is GoTo's way of providing some. They ensure that users seeking certain companies can find those companies, regardless placement was purchased. Interestingly, the system isn't powered by RealNames, as you might expect. The two companies couldn't reach a distribution agreement, so GoTo decided to build its own set of more than 20,000 company-specific links.

In addition to Quick Hits, GoTo has been working to improve the relevancy of its paid results. But isn't "relevancy" at GoTo simply whoever pays the most? Yes, results continue to be bought and sold, but that doesn't mean anyone with money to spend is necessarily relevant for whatever they want. For example, imagine if you flipped to the Yellow Pages listings for video tape rentals only to find ads from businesses selling movie posters. Sure, some people who rent videos might also like to buy movie posters, but the overall usefulness of the listings is reduced by allowing such untargeted ads.

In a similar vein, GoTo has been examining new bids since March to ensure they are relevant to particular terms and rejecting them, if not. As with the addition of Quick Hits, the changes are designed to prevent the paid placement service from becoming a free-for-all.

"Toward the end of last year, we were able to catch our breath and take a look at how we were doing on the relevancy issue. We observed a couple of things. The brand name issue and the company name issue was real, and we were probably being too loose on relevancy," said Ted Meisel, GoTo's chief executive officer.

In particular, the latest move is against what GoTo calls "ubiquitous sites," those which on the surface seem broadly relevant for everything. eBay is a perfect example. The site potentially has items on anything. As such, eBay and other broad-interest sites like it have bid upon on a wide-range of terms. Unfortunately, ads for these sites may not lead users to most relevant content within the sites.

"We think [ubiquitous site links” can be valuable when you click on that link, you go to something relevant for that term," said GoTo chairman Jeffrey Brewer. "That's not so for folks that are dumping you on their home pages."

GoTo says hundreds of thousands of ubiquitous links have now been removed, in situations where they weren't seen as exceptionally relevant to their associated search terms. Nevertheless, it's still not hard to find examples of ubiquitous links that remain. For example, a search for "einstein" brings up a link to "Find Einstein On eBay." Clicking through brings you to the eBay home page, rather than directly to any relevant Einstein material.

Initially, GoTo began reviewing any new listings or changed listings to ensure they met the higher relevancy guidelines. In other words, your listing would be (and still is) reviewed any time you change a title, description or URL for a term, or when you establish a new term. Now GoTo is also reviewing existing listings, even if they haven't been changed. So, you might find yourself questioned about terms you've had running for some time.

GoTo says 90 percent of reviews are done within 24 hours, though the promised turnaround time is 3 to 5 business days. By the way, there is no review if you simply change your bid amounts. That's a good reason why you might not want to completely abandon terms you've found effective in the past, but which you've had to stop using for budgetary or other reasons. Drop these terms down to one cent, and you'll be able to "reactivate" them at a higher amount when ready without having to wait for the review process to complete.

If you get a term rejected, you should certainly appeal the decision, if you feel a mistake has been made. Explain why your products or services are indeed relevant for a particular term or address any specific concerns that were raised. Make sure that you are also pointing your listing to the most appropriate page on your site relevant to those terms. Appeals do work. I've seen this first hand in a case where I interacted with a GoTo customer service representative anonymously. The rep simply didn't understand why a particular business was relevant for a term, and after I provided some explanation, the change went through without a glitch.

You might also have examples of sites that are allowed in despite violating the same rules GoTo cites for keeping you out. Don't make this your first line of defense. Instead, keep the issue clear by arguing your own case. If you are still refused, then cite examples where exceptions are being allowed. While only new and changed listings got close scrutiny earlier this year, now all listings should be subject to the guidelines, GoTo says.

"We would absolutely want to hear in cases where one business isn't relevant," said Meisel. "We will probably take immediate action."

In another twist, GoTo also recently piloted a program where it suggested to advertisers changes that it felt would make their listings better. However, none of these changes were supposed to be used without the advertiser first agreeing to them.

Back in March, GoTo also unveiled a directory-style structure for perusing its listings. Selecting a topic doesn't bring up human-classified results. Instead, each topic simply passes along search terms when you select it.

For example, click on the computing "category" from the home page, and GoTo does a search for that word, exactly as if you had just searched on "computing" yourself. After performing a search, topic links also appear in the upper-left hand corner of the results page. For example, a search on "sports" brings up links to the "sports personalities" and "sports news" topics. For webmasters, if you want to be listed for a particular "category," just bid on the main words of that category. For example, to be in the "Travel > Air Travel > Flight Times" category, you bid on the last words, "flight times."

GoTo added the topical structure primarily to help users be more specific with their requests, which in turn allows its advertisers more opportunity to reach those users. "Consumers and advertisers were converging on the top of the hierarchy. The directory and related search allows us to help them meet on more targeted terms," said Brewer.

In other changes over the past few months, auction and shopping search options were added to the site. Both can be reached via tabs at the top of the home page. The shopping area is continuing to develop over the coming months, so I may revisit it in the future.

While GoTo has done work within its own site, the real push now is building out the distribution of its results through other sites. GoTo started this back in 1999, with an affiliate program that paid sites to put search boxes to GoTo on their pages. That expanded into a syndication system that allows sites to create their own search engines "powered" by GoTo's results.

This is an important shift. GoTo is no longer trying to drive traffic back to its own site. Instead, GoTo is happy to distribute its results to others. After all, no matter where GoTo's listings appear, it earns money on the clickthrough, and its affiliates and partners share in the revenue.

"The affiliate distribution channels have become the key drivers in bringing searches to advertisers," said Meisel. "Over 90 percent of [GoTo” traffic takes place at affiliate partner sites. The clickthroughs occur there. Not everyone comes to our site."

Over the past months, GoTo has announced a number of major distribution deals. Ask Jeeves now carries GoTo listings as one of the meta search choices that appear at the bottom of Ask Jeeves results page, in the "I have also found these sites through other search engines" section. GoTo results are also distributed through deals with meta search sites MetaCrawler.com, DogPile.com, Mamma.com and Search.com. CompuServe.com should also begin using GoTo results, in the near future.

A big concern about this distribution is that paid listings are now appearing in some main results areas without any attribution. It's arguable whether most of GoTo's own users even know its results are paid for, but at least GoTo has always labeled them in some way, currently through the "Cost to advertiser" link that follows each listing. That's not the case when GoTo's information is used elsewhere.

At Search.com, the "Search Partners" section at the top of the page is simply the first three results from GoTo, for whatever you searched on. They are flagged as coming from GoTo, but unless you know GoTo is a paid placement search engine, you have no idea that these listings are essentially ads.

Go2Net-owned MetaCrawler identifies the GoTo results it provides as coming from GoTo, but that doesn't tell the user that these are ads. The same is true for Mamma.com. However, at least the paid listings aren't at these services aren't given any ranking preference. In contrast, at Go2Net's other meta search site, DogPile, GoTo consistently appears in the top search results. Go2Net said this isn't being done for financial reasons.

"If GoTo was not producing highly relevant results, they would not be as prominently displayed, which is a testament to their search results," said Tasha Soudah, product manager of search for Go2Net.

A better example of a lack of labeling is at the GoHip.com site. The help pages describe the service as "a meta-search engine that brings back the top results from many other popular search engines." In reality, by default GoHip only queries paid placement search engines such as GoTo, FindWhat, RocketLinks and Kanoodle. Yes, it's meta search, but not as we traditionally know it. Meta ads would be more like it.

I don't have a problem with paid listings, as long as they don't replace more editorial-style material. The Ask Jeeves approach is a good compromise. Do a search there, and paid results appear along the right-hand side of the screen under the title of "Visit these sponsors." The editorial results appear on the left-side of the page. But what is a concern is when it becomes harder to distinguish what is the editorial area. Ask Jeeves provides another example here. While the bulk of its right-hand side information is editorial, sometimes links are there through deals with partners.

For example, in a search for "what should my blood pressure be?" the top answer comes from the OnHealth site, through an advertising deal with Ask Jeeves. Ask Jeeves says that the information is just as good as if they had made it an editorial pick, but nonetheless, the average user has no idea there's an ad component at play. One improvement might be a link from the search results page to the Ask Jeeves editorial guidelines, where disclosure that some listings have a paid component is noted.

GoTo says that its partners are supposed to identify its results in some way, such as by using the GoTo name. The assumption is that most users will recognize that GoTo is a paid placement search engine, and thus that's all the disclosure that is needed. I'd disagree with this, and GoTo's partners should consider making changes to better indicate that the GoTo listings they provide are ads.

By the way, GoTo's powering of other companies prompted bizarre complaints last month from a paid placement search engine that competes with GoTo, FindWhat.com. One search engine powered by GoTo is SearchFindings. To generate traffic, the SearchFindings site apparently found it cost effective to advertise on FindWhat. That prompted FindWhat to issue a press release suggesting that SearchFindings was some type of front being run by GoTo. FindWhat later issued a second release calling for industry standards at paid placement search engines in regards to relevancy. It cited examples of what it claimed were misleading ads placed on its own service by SearchFindings. What's odd is that since these ads were placed at FindWhat, they were completely within FindWhat's ability to control.

GoTo hasn't completely abandoned building its own traffic. In July, it renewed a relationship to be positioned on the Netscape Net Search page, which complements an earlier agreement this year with Microsoft to be one of several search choices offered to Internet Explorer users. GoTo is also readying a launch in the United Kingdom, where a site is supposed to go live later this year.

GoTo
http://www.goto.com/

How GoTo Works
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/goto.html

Basics on how to get listed on GoTo through the bidding process.

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

In case you forgot your password, the finder will help you access the article above and some links mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter.

Listing Relevancy Guide
http://www.goto.com/d/about/advertisers/relevancy.jhtml

Covers GoTo's new relevancy rules, with examples of what's OK and what's not.

GoTo Shopping - Merchant Info
http://merchant.shop.goto.com/

Find information here about being listed in GoTo's shopping area, which doesn't happen automatically just because you advertise in the web search listings.

Ten Ways to Maximize Your Clickthroughs
http://www.goto.com/d/about/advertisers/tips/

GoTo's tips on maximizing clickthrough are good advice for things you should do in general with all search engines. There's common-sense stuff like having your search terms in your title and description to increase clickthrough, yet many people still neglect this.

GoTo Contact Form
http://www.goto.com/d/about/company/contact.jhtml

If you are a major company and feel you should have a Quick Hit link, GoTo says to send a message via the Client Services address, on this page.

GoTo UK
http://www.goto.com/d/specials/i/uk/

If you are interested in the GoTo's UK launch, get more information here.

Espotting
http://www.espotting.com/

New paid placement search engine targeting users in the United Kingdom and Europe, which comes out of beta this month. Non-paid results come from Inktomi, though the default is to filter out non-European domains. You will see the occasional .com get through, but these are sites that Inktomi has identified as being relevant to Europe.

Godago
http://www.godado.com/

Another recent paid placement search engine for the UK, as well as other countries in Europe. Select your particular country of interest from links at the bottom of the home page.

Searchbutton.com
http://www.searchbutton.com/

Need to make your own site searchable but also want to earn money by offering web-wide search? Searchbutton has a partnership with GoTo that allows you do both. When you sign up, select the "Use Our Wizard" option for choosing a search box -- GoTo.com is the last selection. Another partnership with MetaCrawler doesn't have the revenue share benefit, but the meta search results might be more appealing to your users. It is supposed to be available shortly.

Search Engine Affiliate Programs
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/factfiles/affiliate.html

GoTo and other search engines will pay you to put search boxes on your site. Find out more.

Scientists Baffled by Strange GoTo Phenomenon
Traffick, Aug. 12, 2000
http://www.traffick.com/story/08-2000/goto.asp

Andrew Goodman covers similar issues relating to the slippage of paid results out of GoTo and elsewhere online. He also stumbled across what appears to have been a test of integrating GoTo results into Netscape's own search results. Netscape said they couldn't comment on this further, at the moment. The mixture is no longer to be seen.

Ask Jeeves Adds New Ad Opportunities
InternetNews.com, June 12, 2000
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_392321,00.html

More details about the ad-based links appearing in Ask Jeeves results, with a defense of it by the company.

Ask Jeeves to Feature Ticketmaster, CitySearch Content
InternetNews.com, Aug. 30, 2000
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_449281,00.html

Another advertorial-style deal recently announced by Ask Jeeves.

Ask Jeeves Editorial Guidelines
http://www.askjeeves.com/docs/about/policy.html

The company makes disclosure that some listings have a paid basis here, but most users probably won't find this page easily.

Paid Listing Search Engines
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/links/Major_Search_Engines/Paid_Listings_Search_Engines/

Other major sites like GoTo that allow for paid placement.

Pay For Placement?
http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/paid-listings.html

Collection of past articles on the topic of paid placements at search engines.

Search.com
http://www.search.com/

Since Search.com displays the first three listings from GoTo at the top of its results, it's one reason why webmasters advertising on GoTo might want to ensure they have one of the top three bids for a term.

NPD Search and Portal Site Study
http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/npd.html

Details on how GoTo ranks against some other search engines can be found here.

At GoTo.com, Trying to Shed the Portal Baggage
The Street, Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.thestreet.com/tech/internet/1047990.html

A look at how business is going for GoTo. Its stock has plunged, but some analysts are fans.

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Monetizing The Search

Over at RealNames, do a search for "survivor" and you'll be delivered to the popular Survivor.com web site directly, regardless of the fact that Survivor is not paying RealNames for the linkage. It's something that RealNames simply provides, as it provides to many other companies for free. Why? To do less would make its system less usable.

Unfortunately, giving away your product for free isn't a great business model. Even in the strange world of net economics, companies are falling under pressure to show how they'll make a profit. In the search engine business, this is known as "monetizing the search," which means making money in some way off the search results you present. More than ever, monetizing the search is a concern for the search engines, and new systems such as "pay for submission" or "pay for display" are appearing as ways for them to earn money from site owners and and web marketers without the worries that pay for placement can cause.

See the article below for the full story.

Monetizing The Search
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/00/09-money.html

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Search Engine Optimization Firm Sold For $95 Million

Search engine optimization is sometimes characterized as a cottage industry, but there are plenty of companies that take an industrial approach to generating traffic for clients. Case in point is Website Results, which was purchased by Internet advertising company 24/7 Media in a $95 million stock deal. That's a lot of cottages. To my knowledge, Website Results is the first major SEO firm ever to be acquired. It certainly is the first to receive such a high valuation.

See the article below for the full story.

Search Engine Optimization Firm Sold For $95 Million
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0009-seo.html

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Finding Articles Online

A shining feature of Northern Light is that it has been one of the few places on the web where you could search for articles from offline magazines and periodicals, though you usually have to pay between US $1 to $4 to read this "Special Collection" content. Now a new service, FindArticles.com, offers a similar ability.

At FindArticles.com, you can search through articles from over 300 sources, dating back to 1998, and view them for free. You can narrow your search to specific magazine categories, such as "Automotive," using a drop down option next to the search box. You can also search within a particular publication by using the "View Publications by Name" link, which appears below the search box. Find the name of the magazine you are interested in, click on its name, and the search box that appears searches against only that publication's content.

FindArticles.com is a welcome addition to any searcher's toolkit. However, Northern Light's coverage remains far more comprehensive, encompassing about 7,000 periodicals, with most articles ranging back to 1995. The service's Power Search page lets you easily narrow to a particular publication without having to drill-down via links, and you can also narrow searches by date range. Of course, Northern Light's other feature that has endeared it to researchers is that it lets you search both the web and offline content at the same time.

Another feature of Northern Light that has grown on me is its automatic classification technology. Search for "forest fires," for example, and Northern Light will find all the content it knows of relevant to that term and try to categorize it on the fly according to patterns that can be identified. You'll discover that documents can be grouped around wind issues, fire prevention and forestry science. Clicking on any folder also shows you further categorizations within that topic. It can be a fascinating way to see important concepts for particular terms, plus a useful way to narrow down your search to material on those topics.

FindArticles.com
http://www.findarticles.com/

Northern Light
http://www.northernlight.com/

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Newsgroup Searching: And Then There Was One

Last year, when DejaNews changed its name and pulled away from being a newsgroup-centric service, RemarQ became a strong alternative for those wishing to search discussions in Usenet. But last month, RemarQ became no more, as new owner Critical Path pulled the plug.

The change means that Deja is now the best remaining way for people to search through newsgroup postings. However, posts can currently only be searched back through May 15, 1999, due to a recent move of Deja's servers. The company says other archived information, stretching back to March 1995, remains intact. It really a matter of finding the most economical way of accessing the huge amount of data, the company says.

"Since 90 percent of our Usenet users only source postings from the last year, it was a priority for us to get that piece of our Usenet service up and running smoothly ASAP. We are bringing the rest of the archive back, but are looking at more cost effective methods for housing it. Currently the archive consumes 1.5 terabytes and requires us to maintain about a hundred servers to support it. The archive should be back up before the end of the year, maybe sooner," said Lisa Lahde, Deja's senior director of marketing.

Lahde also said Deja continues to offer newsgroup searching as one of its core products. "With regards to shutting down our Usenet service, we have no plans to do that at this time. We understand what a valuable asset it is to our users," Lahde said.

AltaVista was the third major player in the newsgroup searching game, but it stopped doing its own indexing last November, when it switched to RemarQ. Now that RemarQ is gone, so is newsgroup searching on AltaVista -- the first time this has happened since AltaVista launched at the end of 1995. The company says there are no plans to seek a replacement. After a quick check at other major services, only HotBot and MetaCrawler seem to still include Usenet searching as a feature -- and it's powered by Deja, in both places.

In a related development, web-wide searching at Deja is now being offered through a new partnership with Northern Light. After performing a search at Deja, a "Search Again" option appears at the bottom of the results page. Clicking the "on Northern Light" link sends your search to Northern Light.

RemarQ
http://www.remarq.com/

You'll find links to owner Critical Path here, plus an offer to use the Supernews service, also owned by Critical Path. That service is not free, nor does it offer searching of past newsgroup posts, as did RemarQ.

Deja Usenet/Newsgroup Discussion Area
http://www.deja.com/usenet/

Here's the area within Deja devoted to newsgroup searching.

Whose Link Is It Anyway?
Wired, July 26, 2000
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37715,00.html

Details recent complaints that have arisen over Deja automatically linking product mentions in Usenet posts to commerce portions of its web site.

DejaNews, Mining Company Make Significant Relaunches
The Search Engine Report, June 2, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/06-deja.html

Covers the change of the DejaNews usenet site into Deja consumer recommendation site.

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

Search Engine Optimization Resources

In addition to telling you about some new search engine optimization resources below, I though it would also be helpful to remind people of the search engine optimization categories available at the major directories. To think, when I first submitted Search Engine Watch to Yahoo back in 1996, no search engine optimization category existed. Now, not only is there a category, but there's a further one devoted to meta tags. Meanwhile, the editors at the Open Directory have been hyperactive in compiling links on the topics from across the web. Within their area, you'll find over 800 links to tips on meta tags, keyword research, tutorials, forums, newsletters and more. Have fun exploring!

Yahoo: Search Engine Placement Improvement
http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Site_Announcement_and_Promotion/Search_Engine_Placement_Improvement/

Open Directory: Search Engine Submitting and Positioning
http://dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/WWW/Website_Promotion/Search_Engine_Submitting_and_Positioning/

LookSmart: Web Site Promotion Advice and Tips
http://www.looksmart.com/eus1/eus317829/eus317861/eus65317/eus66894/eus70324/eus554591/eus949526/

Snap: Web Marketing
http://www.snap.com/directory/category/0,16,home-35000,00.html

SearchEngines.com
http://www.searchengines.com/

Tips on submitting to search engines, as well as searching the web and a guide to various search engines worldwide.

Spider Food
http://spider-food.net

Comprehensive guide to issues about search engine submission and optimization. Lots of how to information.

Search Engine Success - Ten Easy Steps
About Web Search Guide, April 4, 2000
http://websearch.about.com/internet/websearch/library/weekly/aa040400a.htm

Fairly recent overview of the basics of search engine optimization, with links to many great tools resources for further information.

Word Of Net Visibility Index
http://www.wordofnet.com/

New service that tries to tell you how visible you are, with 1000 being a top score. You can run a free report to see how you rank in one of several broad categories. I haven't yet tried the subscription based service, but a review of it may come in a future issue. A signup form for the service was not yet on the site, when I checked.

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

Search Engine Roundup

EXCITE INTEGRATES CATEGORY INFO: Excite (http://www.excite.com) has added category links to listings in its web search results that also appear categorized within its LookSmart-powered directory. For example, search for "movies," and you'll see below some of the listings links such as "Excite Category: Movies" or "Excite Category: New Shopping Videos." Clicking on these takes you into the Excite directory area.

AOL ADDS POPULARITY SEARCH: Those searching at AOL Search (http://search.aol.com/) will now find an option to view sites as ranked by popularity. After searching, click on the "Most Popular Sites" link that appears at the top of the Matching Sites section of the search results. This will reorder the results based on what AOL users find popular for that particular query, as measured by what they click on.

No, you won't see clickthrough redirections on the URLs. That's because AOL can extract the information from the cache that all members go through to reach the web. AOL's regular results are also influenced by what AOL users think are popular, but that's not taken to the search term level. In other words, a site many AOL users visit might be considered popular and thus do well in searches generally, but the Most Popular Sites feature shows you more what AOL users think is popular based on the selections they make in relation to particular search terms.

RAGING SEARCH GETS CUSTOM FEATURES: AltaVista's Raging Search has rolled out cool new customization features that let you control the colors used on the site, number of results, information displayed and much more. An explanation can be found at http://ragingsearch.altavista.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=acc&v=splash.

ALTAVISTA OPENS WAP SEARCH ENGINE: AltaVista has also rolled out a new WAP search engine, which can be found at http://wml.raging.com/.

DIRECTORIES CLAIM TO BE BIGGEST: The Open Directory announced last month that it now lists over 2 million sites, making it the largest human-powered directory of web sites. However, LookSmart is also claiming to have 2 million sites listed. A look at comparative directory sizes can be found at http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/directories.html.

ESTEI LAUDER SETTLES PART OF KEYWORD AD ACTIONS: Estie Lauder has settled its lawsuits in the United States, France and Germany against iBeauty (formerly Fragrance Counter) that involved banner advertisements on the Excite search engine. iBeauty has agreed to voluntarily refrain from using "Estee," "Lauder," "Estee Launder," "Clinique" and "Origins" as terms linked to banner advertisements. Estee Lauder's suits against Excite for selling the link banner advertisements continue. They have been filed in the United States, France and Germany. Estee Lauder won the German suit last March, but the case remains under appeal. As a note of disclaimer, I'm giving testimony in favor of Excite in a similar but separate case filed by Playboy in the United States against the search engine. More information about these cases can be found at http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/legal.html#Advertising

SITE SEARCHERS ADD MORE FORMATS: Atomz.com (http://www.atomz.com), which provides software-free site search, can now interact with sites created with Adobe GoLive 5. The company already supports indexing of Adobe Acrobat PDF files, as well as text within Flash and MP3 files. Meanwhile, competitor Searchbutton.com (http://www.searchbutton.com/) has just added PDF support.

GOOGLE OFFERS SITE SEARCH: Webmasters looking to make their own sites searchable without software can now add Google to the list of companies to consider. Google is offering indexing of an unlimited number of pages and queries, and no software installation is required. Details of the beta program can be found at http://services.google.com/cobrand/free_trial.

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Search Engine Resources
=========================

Free Trademark Searching on the Internet
http://inta.org/basics/tmsrchng.shtml

Excellent and concise guides to free web-based trademark search services offered by several major counties, from the International Trademark Association.

InfoGrid
http://www.infogrid.com/

In a compact format, InfoGrid provides direct links to major search sites and topical web sites in different categories.

Go2Net Private Label Portal
http://www.go2net.com/corporate/about/plp.html

Want your own meta search site? Go2Net stands ready to partner with you, through a new "private label" program.

xRefer Browser Button
http://www.xrefer.com/xreferit.jsp

xRefer is a great way to have access to quotations, facts and other reference material. Now there's a way to highlight a word and send it to xRefer as a search request. Visit the page above. It's a simple drag-and-drop operation that takes only a few seconds. Only problem is that it doesn't work for me in IE5.5, but maybe you'll have more luck.

Abondance
http://www.abondance.com/outils/moteurs.html

Two years of high school French did not make me a fluent Francophone. But I can read enough to know what a wonderful resource Abondance is to any French speaker interested in search engines. A relatively new addition are briefing pages for major worldwide and French search engines. Trhs bien!

Adobe PDF Search Engine
http://searchpdf.adobe.com/

The web wide search engines ignore PDF files, for the most part listing only content on HTML pages and text files. That's much to the dismay of those in the academic world, as much content they are interested in is distributed in PDFs. If this is you, try visiting the relatively new Adobe PDF Search Engine, which has summaries from more than a million documents across the web. Don't worry, clicking links doesn't automatically load documents, which can be large. Instead, you'll be first shown a summary, then you can choose to download or view through a properly equipped browsers.

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

Searching: Internet Scouring Techniques That Go Beyond The Basics
Smart Computer, Sept. 2000
http://www.smartcomputing.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles/archive/l0609/06l09/06l09.asp

This article is loaded with lots of good tips and examples on searching better, including a summary of tips at the end from many major search engines themselves.

Special Report - Search Engine Strategies 2000
About Web Search Guide, Aug. 2000
http://websearch.about.com/library/blses00.htm

Comprehensive coverage of the conference. You'll find tips on ranking well with search engines, building links and a recap of panels with search engine representatives. Be sure to see the Dealing With Directories page for a link to a presentation on building links from About.com. The Link Building page also has a summary of the latest I-Search poll on the effectiveness of links -- 72 percent say the quality of links is more important than quantity in helping with traffic.

Information just wants to be Freenet
Salon, Aug. 28, 2000
http://salon.com/tech/view/2000/08/28/uprizer/index1.html

Uprizer is a company that want to build solutions off the Freenet platform, a distribute search or "peer-to-peer" search system similar to Napster. Lots of talk about putting it to non-music, non-controversial issues, but no real specifics. Will distributed search go mainstream? Everyone seems interested, these days, but then push seemed like a good idea to some that ultimately went nowhere. My feeling is that we'll still see distributed search as mainly a supplementary system for finding things on intranets.

Students choosing Web searches over the card catalog
New York Times, Aug. 26, 2000
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/merc/docs/007001.htm

Students are turning to search engines for homework help more than ever -- indeed, one major search engine told me that every Sunday during the school year, a clear pattern of homework related search requests can be spotted. To Sam, mentioned in the beginning of the article, and everyone else -- everything you want is not on the Internet. And if you've searched for it for over 15 minutes, you are probably better trying another method. One excellent method is to go to a library and, in particular, talk to a librarian. Low tech, but very effective.

Google Senses That It's Time to Grow Up
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 25, 2000
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/25/BU51614.DTL

Profile on Google, focusing on what business directions it may head toward.

Parody sites sucked into cybersquatting squabbles
News.com, Aug. 24, 2000
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2604599.html

Long, interesting article on how protest and parody sites are losing out in wars over domains that contain the names of their targets. Want to be safe? Don't use the company name in your domain name, regardless of whether that seems fair. But even that might not stop them for suing you.

Yahoo stands alone in Web wars
USA Today, Aug. 24, 2000
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20000824/2579574s.htm

Profile on how business is at Yahoo, which is probably feeling less-Teflon coated since this was written.

Search Engine Positioning
Iconocast, Aug. 24, 2000
http://www.iconocast.com/issue/20000824.html

The always helpful Iconocast newsletter, required reading for marketers, takes a look at broad trends out of the recent Search Engine Strategies conference and the topic of search engine positioning in general.

Getting Listed and Staying Listed
ClickZ, Aug. 23, 2000
http://www.clickz.com/cgi-bin/gt/article.html?article=2282

Some hands-on tips for submitting and monitoring listings.

The Actor Did It, Ask Jeeves
New York Daily News, Aug. 22, 2000
http://www.nydailynews.com/2000-08-22/News_and_Views/Media_and_Business/a-77344.asp

Earlier this year, when talking to people at conference near an exhibitor booth, one of the people over my shoulder seemed eerily familiar. Who was this guy? Why did I know him so well? Finally, it hit me -- I was in front of the Ask Jeeves booth, and the guy was Jeeves himself! This article provides a closer look at one of the 50 different people to portray Jeeves at technology events.

In Search of Google
Time, Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,52544,00.html

Profile of life at Google and the rise in the service's popularity.

ISP's free service never existed
BBC, Aug. 21, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_889000/889956.stm

Earlier this year, AltaVista announced it was bringing low-cost Internet access to the United Kingdom. In AltaVista's plan, you would call a toll-free number, eliminating the per minute phone charges UK residents have been subjected to. Within a few short months, AltaVista's action revolutionized the country's Internet access, as competitors rolled their own plans. Meanwhile, AltaVista service was continually delayed. Finally, the company said the service had launched -- but no subscribers could be found. It then admitted the service never went live and that it was uncertain when, or if, it would. A bad stumble for the company's attempt to build its brand in the UK.

Specialized Search Engines Carve Out Niches
TechWeb, Aug. 10, 2000
http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20000810S0002

Summary of new player FizzyLab, which is offering site specific search combined with auto-linkage of pages to related content within a site.

AltaVista puts brakes on DoubleClick ads
Bloomberg, Aug. 9, 2000
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2479005.html

AltaVista is now selling ads itself on the AltaVista US site, rather than DoubleClick, and it will be taking over ad sales on its various country-specific editions next February.

Microsoft loads up for pirate raids
ZDNet, Aug. 2, 2000
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2610696,00.html

Microsoft's other search engine isn't for web surfers. Instead, it helps the company track down pirated software.

Inktomi exec to create federal database for free
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 1, 2000
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/01/BU76749.DTL&type=tech_article

Inktomi has been very good for cofounder Eric Brewer, and now he's giving back by forming and funding a foundation to produce a site to provide access to US government information. The FirstGov site (http://www.firstgov.gov) is up with background about it, and functionality should come later this year.

Foreign domain names face compatibility hurdle
News.com, July 28, 2000
http://www.news.com/Perspectives/Column/0,176,468,00.html

Domain names that make use of extended Latin and non-Latin characters are now being offered, but there are issues about how well they work. And, the popularity of .nu is explained -- it means "now" in various Scandinavian languages.

=========================
My Reading List
=========================

Thanks this month to items spotted in....

ResearchBuzz
http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/

Netsurfer Digest
http://www.netsurf.com/nsd/

The Scout Report
http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/report/sr/current/

Search Engine Guide Newsletter
http://www.searchengineguide.com/

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