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The Search Engine Update, September 4, 2001, Number 108

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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

+ Site News
+ Search Engine Strategies Coming To Dallas
+ GoTo Speaks Out On FTC Complaint
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Inktomi Expands Inclusion Partners
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Update On Graffiti Programs
+ WebPosition Adds New Engines; Other Rank Checkers Emerging
+ New Bid Management Tools Emerge
+ Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Code Red An SEO Problem?
+ Search Engine Strategies Conference Coverage
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ UK Search Engines Get Paid Links
+ AltaVista Regional Listings Left To Rot
+ Google Seeks Usenet Posts
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

There was a lot of news for this issue, so I didn't get to finish up some site updates about power commands and special features at search engines that I've been working on. I'll be back at this and hope to finally get it finished, shortly. However, you will find that the Checking Your URL and Measuring Link Popularity pages are in fairly good shape. They cover the latest ways to find your URLs in search engines or to discover those linking to you. Both are listed below:

Checking Your URL
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/checkurl.html

Measuring Link Popularity
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/popularity.html

In the Search Engine Facts area, the pages about power searching, the at-a-glance guide to features, and some other pages have a mixture of new and old information, so be forewarned. I had to move them out earlier than expected, due to some technical reasons that I won't bore you with. Again, I do plan to finish these up shortly.

Search Engine Facts
http://searchenginewatch.com/facts/

In the Search Engine Reports area, I've updated the Search Engine Sizes page, which shows Google now having 1 billion pages indexed, a new benchmark. The Jupiter MMXI Europe Ratings was updated for France, Germany and the United Kingdom. I'll be updating the additional countries later this month -- I'll probably do them all on a continually rotating basis, since there are so many to track. For the three I've done, the trend charts show pretty clearly how well Google is growing and AltaVista is plunging. MSN is also doing well, as is Ask Jeeves, in the UK. I expect to post new Jupiter Media Metrix Ratings for the US later this month, also. All the pages mentioned can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Reports
http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/

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Search Engine Strategies Conference Coming To Dallas

Did you miss the Search Engine Strategies conferences held earlier this year in Boston and San Francisco? Don't worry! You've got one more chance in 2001. On November 14 & 15, Search Engine Strategies will be coming to Dallas, Texas.

The conference features two entire days devoted to marketing your site on search engines. Sessions are designed to bring beginners up to speed on promotion issues, while there are also in-depth sessions designed for more advanced marketers.

Those interested in sponsoring or exhibiting should contact Frank Fazio Jr, [email protected], for more information. Those interested in attending can sign-up via the URL below to learn when registration is open and when the conference agenda will be posted.

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com

Use the email box on this page to be notified when the conference agenda is ready.

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GoTo Speaks Out On FTC Complaint

At last month's Online Advertising Forum, GoTo's CEO Ted Meisel fired back at the complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission over paid listings on some search engines. His comments were both right and wrong on many points. The full story can be found via the URL below:

GoTo Speaks Out On FTC Complaint
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/09-goto.html

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Inktomi Expands Inclusion Partners

In conjunction with last month's Search Engine Strategies conference, Inktomi announced a number of new partners who are reselling its paid inclusion programs. A rundown on the new partners, as well as a refresher on the programs, can be found via the URL below:

Inktomi Expands Inclusion Partners
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 4, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0109-inktomi.html

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Update On Graffiti Programs

Last issue, I wrote about programs such as TopText, Surf+ and Gator that insert advertising links or banners into your own content. Here are some additional developments, since that article was written.

Scumware steals your traffic
PayPerClickSearchEngines.com, Aug. 31, 2001
http://www.payperclicksearchengines.com/update-newsletter-016.shtml#a1

Some of these graffiti tools have had, or still have, partnerships with paid listing search engines to help fill their inventory. As a result, many words on a web page might get links leading back to the top advertiser for that word at a particular paid listing service or to a list of search results from the service. GoTo never seems to have done this. According to this article, FindWhat and Kanoodle had partnered with Surf+ but have stopped. Some other, smaller services are also named. The best advice is to check with any paid listing service you advertise with about whether they have these type of partnerships, if you are concerned they're not likely to bring quality traffic.

Smart Tags: Dumb Technology?
WebReference, Aug. 29, 2001
http://www.webreference.com/xml/column38/

Though Microsoft has pulled back on its plans to deploy Smart Tags, the technology is still there and can be made active, assuming users have all the necessary components installed. This article takes a closer look about how you can deploy it for your own purposes.

Gator.com Sues IAB
InternetNews.com, August 28, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_874391,00.html

Gator, accused by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of replacing banner ads illegally, fires back by suing to have the allegations ruled unfounded.

Keyword software raises ire
MSNBC, Aug. 24, 2001
http://www.msnbc.com/news/618966.asp

Comprehensive look at the current issue with graffiti software. Discusses how some partnerships with some paid placement search engines caused some Surf+ users to reach porn sites and how FindWhat broke off its partnership with Surf+. Please note that MSNBC seemed to be having problems on Sept. 4, making this link not appear. I expect that should be fixed soon.

Gator's Legal Feud Means Big Publicity
Forbes, Aug. 29, 2001
http://www.forbes.com/2001/08/29/0829gator.html

A look at Gator, with stats on clickthrough, number of users (8 million) and the 200 advertisers paying at least $25,000 each to participate in the program. My favorite part is this: "The hitch is that Gator ads are never served on the actual site--they are always popup ads that float over areas of a Web site where advertising is traditionally served. And according to Gator, that makes the company's practices perfectly legal." Actually, no one has any idea whether this is legal. It's not a situation we've had before, and we'll only know if it is legal as lawsuits take place.

Forget Smart Tags; TopText Is Doing What You Feared
SearchEngineWatch.com, Aug. 22, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/08-toptext.html

My original article on the topic.

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WebPosition Adds New Engines; Other Rank Checkers Emerging

WebPosition Gold has released an updated version of its software that adds support for checking rankings at several paid placement search engines and provides an upgraded visitor tracking service.

New to the WebPosition Gold line up are FindWhat, Kanoodle, Ah-Ha, and Bay9, all paid placement services.

As for traffic analysis, the WebPosition Traffic Analyzer is now powered by HitsLink. The analyzer allows you to discover typical information that can be revealed by log analysis, such as the web sites that are sending you traffic, the path visitors take through your site, search engines that send you traffic and the search terms used at those search engines to find you.

The analyzer is an additional service, free to WebPosition Gold users for up to 90 days, then requiring a fee after that or display of a banner.

There are also some new rank checking tools that have emerged relatively recently, and I've listed a few that are probably worth a look, below. I may do longer reviews of these, in the future.

WebPosition Gold
http://www.webpositiongold.com

WebPosition Traffic Analyzer
http://counter.hitslink.com/webposition/promo-90.asp

90-day trial open to WebPosition Gold users -- your serial number will be required. You can also establish a new account apparently by opening the Traffic Analyzer window in WebPosition Gold and press CTRL-ALT-N. After the trial, free service can continue if a HitsLink banner is displayed. Otherwise, pricing begins at $10 per month and rises based on traffic.

HitsLink
http://counter.hitslink.com

Don't have WebPosition? You can still use the HitsLink service, but you'll pay a bit more, unless you opt for the banner-based free version.

WebPosition Traffic Analyzer
http://counter.hitslink.com/webposition/

30-day trial available to anyone.

HitBox
http://www.hitbox.com/

Similar traffic analysis solution provided by WebSideStory, with free and fee-based accounts.

WebTrends Live
http://www.webtrendslive.com/

Similar traffic analysis solution provided by WebTrends

The Counter
http://www.thecounter.com/

Similar traffic analysis solution provided by INT Media. (FYI, Search Engine Watch is also published by INT Media, but there's no other connection between the site and The Counter. If you like it and want to use it, great -- if you like another service and want to use it, that's great, too.)

WhatWhyWhere.com
http://www.whatwhywhere.com

Online services that monitors rankings in 50 US and European search engines.

AgentWebRanking
http://www.aadsoft.com/

Reader Steve Hayward suggested this free tool that allows you to check rankings on a variety of major US and European search engines.

WebRank
http://www.webrank.com/

New online-based rank checking service currently offered on a free basis, with rank checking for up to 30 keywords against up to 30 domains.

Search Engine Position Reporter
http://www.newmediamaze.com/serg.htm

Free tool that checks ranking at UK-specific search engines.

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New Bid Management Tools Emerge

Back in June, I wrote about bid management tools, featuring an automated one offered by Did-It. That tool has been updated, and a host of competing tools are now being offered. Here's a quick rundown on new entries into the market:

PPC Max ROI
http://did-it.com/services/

The newest bid management tool from Did-It, this is designed to help you factor in customer conversions into your paid listing strategy. In other words, you'd understand which terms and particular services are converting the best, so you could best allocate your spending. Did-It's other bid management tools are also listed, on this page.

ClickPatrol
http://www.clickpatrol.com/

New tool that lets you view and manage all your bids on GoTo, FindWhat, Sprinks, Ah-ha, and Kanoodle through a single interface. Self-managed pricing begins at $50 per month for up to 250 keywords. Automated management begins at $100 per month for up to 100 keywords.

Pay Per Click Optimizer
http://tangare.com/

A new software-based product for Windows that lets you monitor bids and spot gaps for GoTo and GoTo UK, FindWhat and Sprinks. It doesn't appear to automatically manage your listings or have log in capabilities, as far as I can tell. Cost is $149 to download or $159 for the CD version.

BidRight
http://www.bidright.net

A new software-based tool for Windows that manages listings with GoTo. It can perform gap checks every minute, if you so desire, and does have the ability to automatically log in and make changes. Fully-functional demo is available. Pricing is $89 for up to 50 keywords; $300 for up to 300 keywords and $999 for up to 1200 keywords. For over this amount, custom pricing is available.

Compare Your Clicks
http://www.compareyourclicks.com/

This free service lets you enter a term, then see the going rate for the top five positions on several paid listing services. A great tool for doing some quick research.

Search Engine Optimization Toolbox: Bidding Managers
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/toolbox/index.html#bid

Other bid management tools are listed here, along with an in-depth review of

New Tools For Managing Paid Placement
The Search Engine Update, June 18, 2001
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0106-bidtools.html

My last article on the topic of bid managers and how they can help you.

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Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs

The future looks dim for Excite@Home, which operates the Excite search engine. The company has creditors calling in their loans, putting it into possible bankruptcy. Meanwhile, FAST Search has had its second round of layoffs this year. The full article is below, which also touches on finances with Inktomi, Ask Jeeves and Terra Lycos.

Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 4, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0109-excite.html

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Code Red An SEO Problem?

The Code Red virus may be having an impact on search engine optimization work. The article below details how the virus produced a seeming increase of traffic, without there being any real increase at all.

In addition, I heard from one large SEO firm that found that the virus on other people's machines caused their own servers to be flooded with requests, to the tune of 50,000 per day. This has also been coupled with no sign of recent spider visits, making the company think that spiders are unable to access their sites due to Code Red requests.

If anyone else is having similar problems, let me know, and I may follow up further on the issue.

Code Red's Affect on SEO and Site Reports
Orbidex, Aug. 15, 2001
http://topsitelistings.com/el081501.htm

Explains how Code Red has skewed stat reports and how to restore them to "normal."

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Search Engine Strategies Conference Coverage

A number of articles out of last month's Search Engine Strategies conference have been appearing, and links to some of them are available via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies Conference Coverage
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/09-ses.html

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com

If you missed it, the next Search Engine Strategies conference will be November 14 and 15, in Dallas. The agenda and information for hasn't yet been posted, but you can leave your email address to be notified when everything is ready.

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UK Search Engines Get Paid Links

Paid placement listings have come to several major UK search engines, over the past few months. GoTo is providing results to the UK editions of AltaVista and Excite, while Espotting is providing listings to the UK versions of Lycos and HotBot.

At AltaVista UK, the two links displayed under the "Featured Sites" heading correspond to the top two listings at GoTo UK for the term you searched on. In addition, the three links displayed under the "Try these resources" heading at the bottom of the results page will correspond to listings three through five from GoTo UK.

At Excite UK, the first two links of the "Web Results" section correspond to the top two listings at GoTo UK, for the term you searched on. Excite provides a small disclaimer above the links, "The first 2 search results below are provided by a third party." The words "third party" in turn bring up an information box saying that the links come from GoTo and are not necessarily approved by Excite UK's editorial team. It fails to simply say they are advertising links.

At Lycos UK, the three links in the "Sponsored Links" box to the right of the main search results correspond to the top three listings from Espotting. At HotBot UK, it is exactly the same situation, except that the Sponsored Links box appears to the left of the main search results.

Lycos Europe also deserves kudos for clearly labeling and presenting its paid listings, unlike Terra Lycos, a joint venture owner of Lycos Europe. Terra Lycos runs the US editions of Lycos and HotBot and uses the euphemisms of "Featured Listings," "Popular" or "Products & Services."

AltaVista UK
http://www.altavista.co.uk/

Excite UK
http://www.excite.co.uk/

GoTo UK
http://www.uk.goto.com/

Want to appear in the paid placement spots at AltaVista and Excite UK? Then you'll need to open an account with GoTo's UK edition.

Lycos UK
http://www.lycos.co.uk/

HotBot UK
http://www.hotbot.lycos.co.uk/

Espotting
http://www.espotting.com

Want to appear in the paid placement spots at Lycos and HotBot UK? Then you'll need to open an account with Espotting.

Jupiter MMXI Europe Ratings
http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/mmxi-europe.html

Who's tops in the UK? You'll find some statistics here.

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AltaVista Regional Listings Left To Rot

It turns out that AltaVista hasn't updated its regional indexes since April of this year, and the situation is likely to continue for the next two or three weeks. The plan is for all AltaVista sites to use one master index, rather than having separate country-specific indexes, as operated in the past. When this happens, the regional search results should become fresher.

AltaVista May Leave Users Searching
IDG, Aug. 29, 2001
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,59983,00.asp

Excellent summary of what happened to AltaVista's regional sites.

Where Have Your AltaVista Listings Gone?
About Web Search Guide, Aug. 29, 2001
http://websearch.about.com/library/searchtips/bltotd010829.htm

Explains how the problems with AltaVista's regional listings were uncovered.

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Google Seeks Usenet Posts

Not content with having Usenet posts back through 1995, Google is seeking out older information to add to its collection. In particular, it is seeking those with NetNews CDs that were published from 1992 through 1995 and is offering a finder's fee for them. More information about the recovery project can be found below.

Google Groups: Help Us Complete the Usenet Archive
http://groups.google.com/googlegroups/archive_hunt.html

Google Groups
http://groups.google.com

New at Google
SearchDay, Aug. 27, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0827-news.html

News about recent reading enhancements to Google Groups.

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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:

Twelve Cool Sites and Tools for Searchers
SearchDay, Aug. 30, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0830-roundup.html

Display thumbnail images of search results, translate terms in dozens of languages, find related sites based on what you're viewing -- check out the dozen sites and tools covered in this roundup.

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Carrier Pigeons for the Web
SearchDay, Aug. 28, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0828-blogdex.html

Blogdex is the 21st century kin to Rothschild's famous carrier pigeons, serving as a terrific advanced warning system for emerging trends and web content that's often difficult to find by other means.

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BrightPlanet Upgrades LexiBot
SearchDay, Aug. 22, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0822-lexibot.html

BrightPlanet, the company best known for its often-cited study of the "deep web," has released version 2.0 of its LexiBot Software.

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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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Designing Web Ads Using Click-Through Data
Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, Sept. 2, 2001
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20010902.html

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen experiments with ways to increase clickthroughs on paid listings at Google.

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Find Everything Faster
PC World, Sept. 2001
http://www.pcworld.com/features/article/0,aid,55383,pg,2,00.asp

Comprehensive review of search services, along with product testing. Google comes out on top as a "Best Bet." FAST and Lycos also show strong scores.

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Trademark Holders Don't Automatically Win Similar Domain Names, Federal Judge Rules
The Legal Intelligencer, Aug. 31, 2001
http://www.law.com/cgi-bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=law/View
&c=Article&cid=ZZZREUR61RC&live=true&cst=1&pc=3&pa=0
&s=News&ExpIgnore=true&showsummary=0

Just because you hold a trademark doesn't mean you are entitled to take a domain name that makes use of the mark away from someone else, a US judge rules. This is especially the case, when there is little likelihood of confusion between web sites. Also, note that at the very end, the ability for people to easily find a trademark holder's site via search engines plays an important role. It was deemed as mitigating any initial confusion if users end up at the "wrong" site by entering the domain name

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Make Way for the Deep Crawl
ClickZ, Aug 29, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/874131

A look at how paid inclusion programs may make dynamic content more accessible. Also with an interesting summary of how the Quigo tool can turn dynamic content into search engine friendly pages.

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Search start-ups seek Google's throne
News.com, Aug. 28, 2001
http://investor.cnet.com/investor/news/newsitem/0-9900-1028-6985191-0.html

Looks at how Teoma and Wisenut hope to challenge Google (not to mention Inktomi and FAST) in the search space. Both services are impressive, but keep some things in mind. Every new service to come along talks about how they can do it faster and more cheaply. Also, Inktomi and FAST's paid inclusion programs do not give pages a ranking boost, so saying they offer "pay for prominence" isn't really correct.

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Don't pay for search-engine submissions
News.com, Aug. 24, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1278-210-6953620-1.html

Multi-submit search engine software isn't likely to bring you traffic but instead tons of spam email.

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A Case (of) Sensitive Search
About.com Web Search Guide, Aug. 23, 2001
http://websearch.about.com/library/searchtips/bltotd010823.htm

A look at the state of case sensitive searching at various search engines.

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The Difference Between Newsletters and Emails
ClickZ, Aug. 23, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/design/write_onl/article.php/871151

This isn't about search engines, but it is somewhat related and really resonated with me. I've written previously that search engines are important ways to get people to your site initially. Once they come, you want to ensure they return. An excellent way to do this is via a newsletter. However, if you don't offer decent content in your newsletter, it will become nothing but an annoying promotional email. For instance, on the same day this column appeared, I got my regular email from one of the airlines I've flown with. I've been getting this thing for months now, since I registered my frequent flyer account with them online. It never provides me with any useful information -- no tips on flying, no decent travel-related news, nothing but a few promotions that I've never interested in. Finally, I'd had enough and unsubscribed. Now this airline no longer has the ability to reach out to me. Had they put just a little more thought and effort into their newsletter, they might have kept that channel open. This column from Nick Usborne provides both a bad and good example of how to make your newsletters work for your customers.

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Linking Mistakes To Avoid, Part 1: Link Optimization and Short URLs
EricWard.com, Aug. 22, 2001
http://www.ericward.com/articles/082201.html

Making your URLs easy to link can help you both with search engines, link building and other promotional activities.

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Ten Considerations when Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Company
Academy of Web Specialists, Aug. 20. 2001
http://www.searchengineguide.com/aws/2001/hire-seo-firm.html

Tips on selecting an SEO company.

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