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The Search Engine Update, Jan. 22, 2003, Number 141

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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 Search Engine Watch members. 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

+ Search Engine Strategies Comes To Boston, Sydney
+ Overture UK Launches Accreditation Program
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

I'm happy to report that Search Engine Watch was honored twice in the 2002 Pandia Awards, once for "Best Site On Searching" and again for "Best Site On Search Engine Marketing." Among the other winners was Google for "Best All Round Search Site," FAST for "Best Professional Search Site" and WebmasterWorld.com for "Search Engine Discussion Forum." A round-up all award winners can be found below:

The Pandia Awards 2002
http://www.pandia.com/post/016.html

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you who voted for the 2002 Search Engine Watch awards. We're tabulating the results this week, then Chris Sherman and I will sit down and select the winners. Your feedback in this is an essential part of the process, so we appreciate your help. Awards are to be announced sometime on January 28, via the page below:

Search Engine Watch Awards
http://searchenginewatch.com/awards/

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Search Engine Strategies Comes To Boston, Sydney

The agenda is now complete for Search Engine Strategies Boston, which comes to the city on March 4-6. As usual, there are a variety of sessions that focus on how to improve editorial and paid listings on search engines. Both search engine marketing tactics and general issues are explored.

Leading sessions will be experts in search engine marketing, as well as confirmed speakers from About.com, FAST/AllTheWeb.com, Google, Inktomi, LookSmart/WiseNut, Overture and Yahoo.

You can sign-up by calling (203) 662-2976 or online, via the URL below, which also provides detailed information about sessions.

Search Engine Strategies Boston: March 4-6, 2003
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/boston03/

Search Engine Strategies is also returning to Australia, from March 26-27. I won't be "chairing" that show, but Jupitermedia's staff in Sydney has assembled an agenda full of search engine marketing topics for the event. More details can be found below:

Search Engine Strategies Sydney: March 26-27, 2003
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/sydney03/

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Overture UK Launches Accreditation Program

Accreditation of search engine marketers is an issue that's been much discussed over the years. "OK search engines, how about you giving us some criteria and if we agree to them, you give us your accreditation blessing," has been the pitch by those in favor of such a plan. Now, for the first time that I know of, a major search engine has done exactly this: Overture, at least its UK-operation. The article below takes a close look at what's happening there.

Overture UK Launches Accreditation Program
The Search Engine Update, Jan. 22, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/01-accredit.html

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SearchDay Articles
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Here are some recent articles that may be of interest, from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:

Searching for Happenings Around the Globe
SearchDay, Jan. 22, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0122-events.html

Discovering information about thousands of events and happenings taking place around the world can be difficult and time consuming. Whatsonwhen, a specialized searchable database, makes it easy and even fun.

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Teoma Releases Version 2.0
SearchDay, Jan. 21, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0121-teoma.html

In some ways still the new kid on the search engine block, Teoma hits puberty today as "version 2" of the search engine is formally rolled out to the public.

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The Value of Non-Commercial Web Directories
SearchDay, Jan. 16, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0116-directories.html

Along with the many commercially built web directories available on the web, several non-commercial options exist which offer the searcher well organized collections of high quality resources.

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No Charge: Public Libraries Provide Full-Text Access to Databases!
SearchDay, Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0115-databases.html

A persistent myth says that you can find "everything" on the web. Not even close! Fortunately, many public libraries offer free access to a wealth of online databases that are often much higher quality than what you can (or can't) find on the web.

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Searching for Public Records
SearchDay, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0114-pubrecs.html

Many governments have put public records online, but all too often in Invisible web databases that can't be found by search engines. The Search Systems Public Records Locator can help.

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Google Asks Court to Dismiss SearchKing Lawsuit
SearchDay, Jan. 13, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0113-google-suit.html

Google has responded to SearchKing's lawsuit alleging that Google improperly reduced SearchKing's PageRank scores, and has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

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Library Lookup: A Simple but Powerful Search Tool
SearchDay, Jan. 9, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0109-liblookup.html

Trying to decide whether to buy or borrow a book? Use the Library Lookup bookmarklet to instantly search your local library at the same time you're viewing pages at any online bookstore.

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Visualizing the Web with Google
SearchDay, Jan. 8, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0108-touchgraph.html

The TouchGraph GoogleBrowser shows you what the web 'looks like' to the search engine, visually displaying the linkages between your favorite web sites.

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On the archive page below, you'll find more articles like those above, plus have the ability to sign-up for the free newsletter.

SearchDay Archives
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/archives.html

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Search Engine Articles
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Full Boolean at AlltheWeb
Search Engine Showdown, Jan. 21, 2003
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/newsarchive/000629.shtml

Recaps new boolean support at AllTheWeb.com, along with other changes.

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Employees are a lot like consumers in how they look for data. But is giving them Google enough?
Information Week, Jan. 20, 2003
http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20030117S0006

Looks at different enterprise search practices being used by companies, including the Google Search Appliance, Verity K2 and iPhrase.

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Santa Was Good to DealTime
InternetNews.com, Jan. 16, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/1570701

Why has Google launched its shopping search engine Froogle? The privately-held shopping search engine DealTime provides a good answer: earnings potential. DealTime reports record revenues of $11 million last quarter,

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Inktomi narrows Q1 net loss
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, Jan. 16, 2003
http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2003/01/13/daily76.html

Inktomi reported revenue of $14 million for the last quarter, with a net loss of $1.4 million.

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Google Dominates New Size Showdowns
Search Engine Showdown, Jan. 16, 2003
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/newsarchive/000625.shtml

Google leads the pack in terms of size, based on the latest estimates from Greg Notess

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Yahoo Posts Profits on Marketing, Fees Growth
InternetNews.com, Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1570551

Yahoo posts a $46 million profit for the last quarter, primarily due to a 31 percent rise in income from "advertising and paid search revenues," the bulk of which is paid listing fees that come from Overture. Listings and fees now make up 31 percent of Yahoo's overall revenue.

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Web spec searches for small businesses
ZDNet, Jan. 15, 2003
http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1106-980626.html

Discusses a new idea for allowing small and medium sized businesses to describe themselves to search engines through meta data in XML files. Given the bad history search engines have with meta data, I think it's unlikely you'll see this be accepted.

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Espotting Offers FAST Search
InternetNews.com, Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1570571

Espotting has signed a deal with FAST in order to provide an all-in-one solution of editorial and paid listings, to partners seeking such a solution. This also puts Espotting links on the AllTheWeb.com site for those viewing it from the UK (and possibly other European countries). For those in the US, it is still Overture paid listings that you should be seeing.

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Overture buys into search analytics
News.com, Jan. 15, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-980768.html

Overture has bought web stat analytical firm Keylime Software. It's likely the technology will be used to provide enhanced reporting, especially ROI reporting, for Overture advertisers.

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Will Froogle Be a Google for Shoppers?
BusinessWeek, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2003/tc20030114_5644.htm

Google's shopping search engine gets taken for a test ride, and while Business Week writer Alex Salkever acknowledges the service is still under development, he comes away far more impressed with competing services NexTag and PriceGrabber

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The Power of Google
SearchEthos.com, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.searchethos.com/power-of-google.html

Examines Google's great influence given the traffic it can route to other sites and the possible responsibilities it has.

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Search engines get "Gatored"
News.com, Jan. 14, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-980572.html

Got Gator? Do a search on Google, and you might be surprised to discover a pop-under page appears containing paid listing from Overture, FindWhat and Lycos. This might be a great way for advertisers to get a new source of search-related traffic, but it could also be that the audience being indirectly solicited this way doesn't convert as well. Can't say either way, so far. It's also pretty likely Google doesn't like the idea. It's an issue I'll try to explore more in the future, from all angles.

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Overture Sees Revenues Up, Along With Acquisition Costs
InternetNews.com, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1569361

Overture announces earnings on February 6 and says it expects fourth quarter revenue to be $200 million, above the $190 million it estimated. However, profit will be down from its original estimates, due to a legal settlement and higher costs to retain its network partners. Overture lost a dispute recently with a former affiliate partner Internet Fuel, which was awarded $8.7 million. Overture apparently cut off Internet Fuel as an affiliate before its contract had ended because advertisers were unhappy with the quality of traffic from that source. Overture also says that the cost of acquiring traffic from partners will now be 62 percent of revenue, up from 59 percent last quarter. The blame is placed on the biggest partners wanting more money.

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Creeping Costs Put Overture Under the Gun
TheStreet.com, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.thestreet.com/_tsclsii/tech/georgemannes/10062598.html

Another look at the increasing amounts of what Overture has to pay to its traffic partners. Yahoo is estimated to get 70 percent of all revenue earned by Overture's paid listings on its site.

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Google's Gaggle of Problems
BusinessWeek, Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2003/tc20030114_2858.htm

Another of the many articles that have been appearing that look at the challenges Google faces as the industry leader in search. I'd disagree with the contention that Overture has slowed Google's momentum in the paid listings market. Overture recently won a deal with CNN that's cited as key proof of this, but I'd interpret that as a relatively minor win.

In contrast, Overture failed to win completely the much more important Yahoo Japan account, instead being forced to share the searches with Google. If anything, it is Google that throughout 2002 curbed Overture's momentum as the monster player in the paid listings space, winning the much more sizable deals of AOL and Ask Jeeves. Overture remains a huge player, of course -- but Google provides it with serious competition.

I also don't know where the LookSmart CEO, quoted in the story, is getting the figures to say that Google has "stolen 40 percent" of the search market from AOL, MSN and Yahoo. If anything, those players have all held their audience shares relatively steady, in the onslaught of Google. It's the smaller players such as AltaVista that have really fed into Google.

FYI, some confusion here has me saying that 20 out of 30 links on Google's home page don't earn revenue. Actually, this was Yahoo that I was talking about -- and it's a reason why Yahoo might have wanted Inktomi, in order to use paid inclusion as a means to earn more off those currently "unpaid" editorial results.

Very interesting to see that Google declined to be interviewed for the article. A bad move that leaves it with no voice against competitors like LookSmart.

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Differentiation Can Be Brutal in the Web Search Business
Traffick.com, Jan. 9, 2003
http://www.traffick.com/article.asp?aID=129

Andrew Goodman lets fly at the status of how major search engines appear to consumers, in his view. A good read that will be making some of the search engines cringe -- and with good reason.

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Overture CFO: Yahoo's Refocus On Search Hurts Google
Dow Jones Newswire, Oct. 8, 2003
http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030108/1428000595_1.html

Overture Gleeful Over Yahoo-Inktomi Deal
InternetNews.com, Jan. 9, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1566971

Overture's chief financial officer Todd Tappin believes that Yahoo's acquisition of Inktomi and the company's renewed emphasis on search will hurt Google, claiming the company will have to spend more money on marketing itself and on technical development and product innovation. This change will also benefit Overture, Tappin says, though exactly how wasn't explained in the article above. The second article does suggest that major portals perhaps feeling Google is more a threat to them may choose to partner with Overture.

Will Google have to spend marketing money to defend its search brand? Not necessarily. "Google" has already become a verb used by some, similar those who might say they need to "Fed Ex" a package. This, plus Google's growth overall, has happened with Google spending virtually nothing on marketing itself to search consumers. Great word of mouth, leading to positive press reviews, has been the chief factor in my view.

In contrast, past efforts by search engines to build their search brands through marketing haven't proven that effective. Television was the big thing to do in 1997-1999, and it produced minor gains for some, typically in the range of a 5 percent rise in audience share. Northern Light is a classic example where all the spending it did translated into no real gain at all. Search Engine Watch members can see more commentary on charts from 1997-1999 from Media Metrix, found via this page: http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/archives/past-mediametrix.html

Interestingly, it should be noted that Google does spend on marketing -- but that money is almost exclusively on marketing itself to potential advertisers, to get them to try its paid listing products.

How about more money on technical resources? What, the 50+ PhDs Google already has on staff isn't enough? Google has been constantly hiring people and been innovative in the marketplace even without the threat of Yahoo. In contrast, one of the reasons Yahoo may have wanted to acquire Inktomi in the first place could very well be that Google has gobbled up so many technical people already. Getting Inktomi is one way of getting a core group of people and, interestingly, denying them to would-be competitors.

In fact, one of the real mysteries in the Inktomi acquisition is why Overture didn't buy them. The company remains lacking crawler-based editorial listings to offer its partners who want an all-in-one solution. Meanwhile, if Yahoo has moved to build its own in house crawling capabilities, there's no reason why in a year or two, it might decide to build its own internal paid listing program -- which would be a real threat to Overture. Certainly, that's what Yahoo originally planned to do in 2002.

Crystal ball gazing is always hard. Yahoo certainly has set itself up now to compete with Google, and that will put pressure on the company. However, such pressure doesn't mean that Google will necessarily be hurt, nor that Overture somehow magically benefits.

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More Google Toolbar Issues
Search Engine Optimization Support Forums, Jan. 8, 2003
http://www.supportforums.org/article154.html

Short summary of a discussion from WebmasterWorld.com that finds JavaScript can be used to disable the PageRank meter in the Google Toolbar.

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Google news performing well
Journalism.co.uk, Jan. 8, 2003
http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/story538.html

Newsknife.com rates the quality of news sites such as CNN and the BBC. It has been monitoring how well Google's automated headline service compares since it launched last year. Verdict? Very good, though not perfect -- human edited sites still have a slight lead, so far. Story above covers the findings, while Newsknife itself (http://www.newsknife.com) is one to add to your bookmark list.

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SEM Power Tips
ClickZ, Jan. 8, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/1565511

Tips on leveraging brands, the content of your listings, the content of your landing pages and other advice on getting more out of your search engine marketing campaigns.

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A Visit with FindWhat.com CEO, Craig Pisaris-Henderson
Academy Of Web Specialists, January 2003
http://www.academywebspecialists.com/newsletters/0103.html#nobles

FindWhat.com's CEO discusses how FindWhat serves one billion searches per month through its network, hints at international prospects and adding more US distribution partners and covers issues about getting more out of using the service.

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The State Of Search Engine Marketing, 2003. Google rules the roost.
searchengineblog.com, January 2003
http://www.searchengineblog.com/summary.htm

searchengineblog.com's Peter Da Vanzo ran a series of great interviews with various people involved with search engines in the latter part of 2002, and in this article, he looks back and comments from them all to put together his thoughts on where search engine marketing is going in 2003.

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