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The Search Engine Report, February 6, 2001, Number 51

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THE SEARCH ENGINE REPORT
February 6, 2001 - Number 51

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/
Copyright (c) 2001 internet.com corporation

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About The Report
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The Search Engine Report is a monthly newsletter that covers developments with search engines and changes to the Search Engine Watch web site, http://searchenginewatch.com/.

The report has 159,000 subscribers. You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long either part is sent in its entirety.

Did you know that there's a longer, more in-depth version of this newsletter?
The twice-monthly "Search Engine Update" newsletter is just one of the many benefits
available to Search Engine Watch "site subscribers." Learn more about the advantages
to becoming a site subscriber at this page:
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?source=ser0102

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 & Conference News
+ The End For Search Engines?
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Going, Going, Go.com-Gone
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ AltaVista Tightens Belt, Stays Hopeful On Search
+ LookSmart Cuts Staff But Gains Big Amazon Deal
+ Excite, NBCi Also Reduce Workforce
+ Yahoo Gets Paid Listings
+ Inktomi's Free Add URL Penalty
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Google Does PDF & Other Changes
+ Patent Wars II: CMGI Strikes Back
+ Bush's Dubious Victory At Google
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ WebTop Search Rage Study
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Internet Top Information Resource, Study Finds
-- (full story online, summary and link provided)
+ Interesting Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Site News

Hello Everyone--

This month, the newsletter is heavy on the business side of search engine developments. I try not to concentrate on this aspect too much, because I know it's boring to many people. However, with the closure of Go.com announced and several other search engines having had recent layoffs, I think there is concern even among non-business types about whether their favorite search engine is going to be around much longer.

I think the news sounds much worse than it is, and I've been busy on a series of articles I hope will provide you with some perspective on the changes, whether you are worried from a searcher's point of view or wondering from a site owner's or web marketer's perspective.

The shorter articles are within the emailed version of this newsletter, but one was simply too long to include and is available online only -- "The End For Search Engines?" I do encourage you to read this, where I compare the current doom and gloom now with the same apocalyptic statements that were issued in 1997. Search engines changed their business models then and survived, through we ended up with portals that certainly didn't please some web searchers. We're seeing a change again, one where pure search may be rewarded, but the trade-off will be whether search engines can balance paid listings, paid inclusion, paid submission and other revenue-generating programs with a quality search product that doesn't alienate users. A link to this article is in the newsletter, below.

In happier news, I'm pleased to announce the winners of the 2000 Search Engine Watch awards. Google won as both Outstanding Search Service and Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine. Ixquick and Dogpile won for Best Meta Search Engine, while news search service Moreover won for Best Specialty Search. Two services were also inducted into the Hall Of Fame: Yahoo and FindLaw. More details can be found via the awards page below, and thanks to all of you who participated! I'm looking forward to expanding the awards next year, based on your many comments and suggestions.

2000 Search Engine Watch Awards
http://searchenginewatch.com/awards/

Within the web site, I've completely reorganized the former "Pay For Placement?" page. You'll now find a brand new page called "Buying Your Way In," which itemizes the major paid programs offered by various search engines in a nice little chart. You know I'm not happy until everything's in a chart. The old Pay For Placement page continues, but this now contains only links to past articles I've written on the topic of paid programs, along with articles written by others. Both can be found via the What's New page, below:

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

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Conference News

The next Search Engine Strategies conference is just 10 days away! Coming to London on February 15, I'll be presenting and moderating sessions at the conference that features experts on search engine marketing issues and panelists from the various major search engines themselves.

Services participating include AltaVista, Google, GoTo, Inktomi, LookSmart, Lycos Europe, MSN Search, Netscape/The Open Directory and Yahoo. There will be a special presentation on regional and language issues, of interest to those based in Europe or who need to be listed with European search engines. We will also be having roundtable sessions where European search engine marketing experts will answer questions about advanced issues.

Search Engine Strategies is also coming back to the US, in Boston on March 20 and 21. This will be our first two-day event, with the second day devoted to "searcher" issues. Come to the day that suits your interest or get a discount if attending both days makes sense. An agenda is available now.

Information for both conferences can be found via the new web site for all Search Engine Strategies conferences, past, current and future:

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com/

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The End For Search Engines?

The impending closure of Go only underscores the dramatic changes that have been taking place among the major search engines over the past few months. Money is tight; new revenue is being sought anywhere, and no one seems guaranteed a future. Will your favorite search engine be around tomorrow? For searchers, such losses could mean less diversity in search results. For web marketers, a consolidation could mean less likelihood of being found. It's scary sounding stuff, and no one knows the answers. However, a look back can provide us some perspective on how the future may unfold. We've had doom and gloom before, in 1997, and survived. See the full story, below:

The End For Search Engines?
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/02-theend.html

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Going, Going, Go.com-Gone

The Go.com site is to close by the end of February, according to a surprise announcement today from owner Walt Disney Company, marking the end of one of the web's oldest major search resources. More details on the closure, including refunds to those who paid for yearly spidering, below:

Going, Going, Go.com-Gone
SearchEngineWatch.com, Jan. 29
, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/01-go-gone.html

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AltaVista Tightens Belt, Stays Hopeful On Search

AltaVista had another round of layoffs in January, losing 200 people, which cuts the company workforce to about 600 total. AltaVista is retaining its search engineering staff and says it fully intends to continue developing its own web wide search product, rather than outsourcing this to a third party such as Inktomi, FAST or Google.

"We're absolutely not reducing our equipment or search engineers. As a matter of fact, it's the opposite," said Ralph DiMuccio, AltaVista's industry relations manager. "Another group that was left virtually untouched was the enterprise group."

The enterprise group is AltaVista's division that produces software that companies can use for intranet and site specific search. AltaVista sees this as a growth area, nor is it alone. For instance, last year Inktomi acquired Ultraseek, the enterprise product that grew out of Infoseek. This was so Inktomi could diversify its search offerings and compete for intranet and site specific clients.

AltaVista's search engineering team supports both its web search and enterprise search operations, and the company feels the synergy between web and enterprise is essential to success in both areas.

"If we are going to be a serious leader in the enterprise software market, then we need a group behind that to take what works on the web and productize it," DiMuccio said.

I wouldn't necessarily agree with this. Web search and enterprise search have different requirements, and I don't think you have to be a web search company in order to successfully serve the enterprise market. There certainly are some synergies that can come out of doing both, of course. More importantly, a company like AltaVista gets considerable play when pitching its enterprise product out of the fact that some of the core technology is used for web search. If AltaVista outsourced its web search, then it would lose this advantage, irregardless of the fact that it might not reflect any real problem with the enterprise package.

Of course, by offering web search, AltaVista can also go after a third market: portals and vortals who want to license web search. The company has about 50 to 60 such clients currently, it says, and plans to go after more.

"We are very aggressively pushing into the search licensing market, and maybe we'll get back some of the bigger clients we used to have," DiMuccio said.

The biggest of those clients was Yahoo, lost in 1998 to Inktomi, which itself lost to Google in 2000. AltaVista also gained, then lost, MSN Search to Inktomi in 1999. With both Yahoo and MSN Search, one reason suggested for the loss was AltaVista's attempt to be a strong portal competitor to those companies. Those portal pretensions were dropped in September of last year, and the change to concentrate on search, and nothing but search, showed up last week with AltaVista's redesigned home page.

Missing is the more channelized design meant to bring users into sticky areas of the site. Indeed, things like photo albums and free home pages are gone or going away. Instead, the face of AltaVista has been simplified, so that the focus on search really is front and center.

"What you are also going to see is the ending of most of our content relationships. AltaVista Live will be gone," said DiMuccio. "There's no portal play. It's search and directory, going forward."

Conclusion? Wait and see. Lycos once suggested that it had no plans to drop its own homegrown web search product yet went ahead and did exactly that last year in favor of FAST and Inktomi. However, Lycos did not also have a software division nor did it do much with web licensing. So, perhaps AltaVista will make it in maintaining its own search index, and the web would probably benefit from having an additional resource like this. As for the viability of the AltaVista site itself, that will clearly be tied to whether the company can monetize the service.

"You are seeing a struggle to find the right business model," said DiMuccio. "We have to be able to stand on our own as a company and keep growing revenue, even though the advertising pie may be shrinking."

AltaVista
http://www.altavista.com/

AltaVista Cuts 200 Jobs
SiliconValley.Internet.com, Jan. 18, 2001
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_564251,00.html

A few more details specific to the recent cuts.

Terra Lycos lassos AltaVista's Raging Bull
News.com, Jan. 30, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4649115.html

As part of its jettisoning of non-search features, AltaVista sold its Raging Bull stock site to Terra Lycos.

No IPO for AltaVista...Again
SiliconValley.Internet.com, Jan. 10, 2001
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_557401,00.html

Forget the IPO plans. With dotcom stocks in the dumps, AltaVista has dropped plans to go public for the near future.

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

LookSmart Cuts Staff But Gains Big Amazon Deal

LookSmart cut its staff by nearly one-third last month, but this was due primarily to the continuing refocus at LookSmart on selling listings that are distributed to partners, rather than trying to sell advertising on its own site.

In fact, just after the layoffs, LookSmart announced its biggest "Subsite Listings" sale to date, to Amazon. The deal allows content from Amazon to be deeply categorized in the LookSmart directory. That means Amazon will likely appear in response to a wider range of queries, so its traffic from LookSmart partners such as MSN Search should increase.

In return, Amazon -- like other Subsite advertisers at LookSmart -- will pay LookSmart a per click fee. LookSmart did not release how much the Amazon deal is worth, only that it is the largest such deal to date. In its last three quarters, listing services have generated $10 million for LookSmart.

Overall, it would be foolish to see the recent layoffs as a sign of LookSmart being on the ropes. Such thinking simply doesn't take into account the completely new paid inclusion business model that LookSmart is following, which should be successful, given that its search partners are looking for cash.

My favorite quote on LookSmart's prospects has come out of an earnings update by Merrill Lynch's Henry Blodget: "As expected, whacks guidance and 30 percent of employees. Still a real company, though (believe it or not), with plenty of cash. New bar set so low management ought to be able to get out of bed in morning and fall over it."

LookSmart
http://www.looksmart.com/

LookSmart inks directory deal with Amazon
News.com, Jan. 17, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4510989.html

More details on the Amazon deal.

LookSmart Looking Up
InternetNews.com, Jan. 17, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_562131,00.html

Details on the Amazon deal and revenues at LookSmart in general.

LookSmart Pains On 4Q Revision
SiliconValley.Internet.com, Jan. 11, 2001
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_558671,00.html

LookSmart is cutting its staff by a third, due to dropping ad revenues, and it is consolidating operations to focus more tightly around a different type of "ad" product -- selling listings within its directory.

LookSmart Submit Page
http://submit.looksmart.com/

Updated materials that outline LookSmart's various listing programs.

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

Past articles about LookSmart's Subsite program can be found in the paid inclusion section of this page.

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Excite, NBCi Also Reduce Workforce

Along with other search-oriented services, Excite and NBCi also cut staff in January.

Excite@Home, which runs the Excite web site in addition to offering broadband Internet access and other services, laid off 250 people and retains about 2,750 on payroll. In terms of search, the layoffs had the most impact on Excite's directory listings, rather than its web wide crawling.

Though Excite has taken LookSmart's directory feed since August 1999, the company has always tried to massage the listings into category organizations it preferred. Those days are done, because the people responsible for this were let go in the recent layoffs, Excite says.

In addition, those layoffs caused some delays in Excite getting the latest version of the LookSmart information online at Excite. The company expects that its data should be refreshed in the near future. Ordinarily, the LookSmart data should be refreshed at least every two weeks, Excite says.

As for NBCi, it cut 150 jobs throughout the company, in January.

Excite
http://www.excite.com/

NBCi
http://www.nbci.com/

Excite@Home lays off 8 percent of staff
News.com, Jan. 23, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1004-200-4577500.html

More details on the Excite cuts.

NBCi Cuts Workforce
InternetNews.com, Jan. 18, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,,3_563581,00.html

More details on the NBCi cuts.

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

Yahoo Gets Paid Listings

If the appearance of paid placement listings on search engines has been a revolution over the past few months, then the war is over, because they've now come to that most conservative of search engines, Yahoo. A new "Sponsored Sites" program launched last Thursday allows web sites to be positioned at the top of Yahoo's commercial category listings.

"I hope this is yet another way that the directory can serve as a powerful vehicle for merchants to reach their intended audience, just as that has been a side effect until now," said Srinija Srinivasan, Yahoo's editor in chief, about the new program.

Srinivasan also saw value for Yahoo's users, likening the way paid listings are called out to the way advertisers in Yellow Pages may call attention to themselves by running larger ads or using bold text.

"That information is extremely salient, the size of the ad, bolding, both of these things add elements to that page," Srinivasan said. "From the users' standpoint, this information literally didn't exist before [at Yahoo”."

Before October of last year, virtually no major search engine offered paid placement listings. Now, with the new Yahoo program, Excite remains the only major service not to have them. The growth underscores the popularity of paid listings as a new revenue stream for search engines.

Nearly all of the major services have opted to use GoTo's paid links, which means any site that can prove some type of basic relevancy for a particular term is able to buy its way to the top of the results, for that term. In contrast, Yahoo's system is more restrictive. Only sites already approved by Yahoo editors and listed with its directory can purchase paid listings.

Yahoo's paid listings do not appear on the search results page that appears in response to a keyword search, as is the case with most other services. Instead, they only show up within a well-defined "Sponsored" box at the top of Yahoo's category pages. Paid listings also only appear within commercial category, which are easily identified because of the new yellow reverse bar used to highlight the category name, rather than the normal blue one. For example, compare these two categories:

Shopping & Services: Beanie Babies
http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Shopping_and_Services/Toys/Stuffed_Toys/Beanie_Babies/

Recreation: Beanie Babies
http://dir.yahoo.com/Recreation/Toys/Stuffed_Toys/Beanie_Babies/

The first is a commercial category about Beanie Babies, so it features yellow bars and has a spot for any sponsored listings. The second is a non-commercial category about the stuffed animals, so it has blue bars and no sponsored listings area.

Paid listings are sold by the month, with the fee ranging from $25 to $300, depending on the popularity of the category. Some categories may be priced higher than $300, and these must be purchased through Yahoo's ad department, rather than the online self-serve program.

Approval of your paid listing should come within five days. Up to five paid links can appear in the Sponsored box. If there are more than this, Yahoo then rotates all advertisers equally.

Sponsored links will also have the word "Sponsored" appear next to them in the regular editorial listings, which I think is somewhat unfortunate. It may give the impression that sites are only being listed in these editorial areas because they have paid, when this is not the case.

Interestingly, Yahoo felt adding "Sponsored" to listings in the editorial areas would actually be a benefit to both users and site owners.

"I hope that being a Sponsored Site says something about your site and being a business that wants to be around that differentiates you in a good way," said Srinivasan.

Upon reflection, she said Yahoo might reconsider this part of the program, if users indeed took the sponsored flags the wrong way.

"If that's the perception, then I'd certainly want to rethink that, Srinivasan said.

Yahoo Sponsored Sites Home Page
http://sponsoredsites.yahoo.com/

Sign up for the program here.

Yahoo Sponsored Sites Help
http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/sponsored/

More information and assistance about the program can be found here.

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Inktomi's Free Add URL Penalty

Submitting your page to Inktomi via the free Add URL pages of its partners such as HotBot causes them to incur a ranking penalty. What?!!! Relax, it's not as bad as it sounds, though disclosure of this change, made in the middle of last year, would have saved confusion among those in the search engine optimization world. See the full story, below:

Inktomi's Free Add URL Penalty
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/02-inktomi.html

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Google Does PDF & Other Changes

Google now includes listings of Adobe PDF files from across the web, a first for any major search engine and a feature long overdue for them to offer. PDF, for Portable Document Format, is a popular means for researchers, among many others, to publish information. By including PDF content in its listings, Google makes its service even more useful for those trying to get into the nooks and crannies of the web.

Not all of Google's computers have been updated with the PDF information, which means that is pretty random as to whether you'll encounter the PDF-enhanced listings.

"If you did a query, depending on the luck of the draw and how busy the data centers are, you might not get PDF search," said Craig Silverstein, Google's directory of technology. All the computers should be updated by the end of this week, he said.

When that happens, users will have access to the full text of 13 million PDF files. They will appear mixed among the normal listings of HTML documents, when relevant for a particular query. However, PDF files will be prefaced by a [pdf” label next to their title. This is to help warn users before they click on these documents, as they can sometimes be quite large to download. They also require having the Adobe Acrobat reader to view them. If you don't have Acrobat, don't worry -- clicking on the "text only" below the listing will let you view a text only version of the files.

Want to restrict your search to just PDF files at Google? Make use of the inurl: command AFTER your search words. For instance, a search for "colleges inurl:pdf" tells Google to find documents containing the word "colleges" and which have pdf in their URL. So far, this seems to pretty much ensure that you only get back PDF files. Multiword queries also seem to work -- "amazon ebay inurl:pdf" brings back PDF files mentioning both of those companies, for example.

That inurl: command look interesting? Here are some other power commands you can add to your Google arsenal:

allinurl: is supposed to tell Google to find ALL the words you specify after it, within the URL of a web page. In contrast, inurl: is supposed to find ANY of the words you specify after it in the URL, rather than all of them, Google says.

You can also try allintitle: to find all the words you specify within the title of a document, while intitle: is supposed to find ANY of the words.

There's also a site: command, which is useful for finding pages just from a particular site -- "site:searchenginewatch.com google" would bring up all the pages from Search Engine Watch that mention Google, for instance.

Of course, rather than trying to remember these commands, you can also make use of Google's advanced search page (listed below).

Google now also supports the Boolean OR command -- sort of....

"To say we support the OR command would be a great overstatement. People have discovered if you type in a capital OR, Google does something with it," Silverstein said.

What's happened is that Google has added some behind the scene logic to catch variations of words written with diacritical marks, such as accented words like pjches (French for peaches), even when they are written without the accents, Silverstein said. This logic means that if you do a search for two words, with a capital OR in the middle, you may get something similar to a Boolean OR working for you.

In addition to crawling PDF files, Google has also been indexing some dynamically generated content since the end of last year.

"We've been expanding the kinds of dynamic content that we crawl, developing mechanism so we can tell if we are getting trapped. We're starting to crawl more, and we're very excited about it," Silverstein said.

Google has also grown its index of WML and HDML pages, designed for WAP browsers, to 2.5 million pages. An option to find this is supposed to be available when visiting the Google home page using a WAP browser. Be sure NOT to place a slash after the .com in Google -- otherwise, Google will fail to detect you are a mobile user.

Google is also offering a new "University Search" program to universities, where it will allow them to make their sites searchable for free. See below for a link to more information.

Google
http://www.google.com

Google Advanced Search
http://www.google.com/advanced_search

Google Toolbar
http://toolbar.google.com/

Want to search a specific site from Google? That's built into this nifty toolbar, as well as the ability to search the entire web with Google.

Google Ventures into the Invisible Web
About Web Search Guide, Jan. 31, 2001
http://websearch.about.com/internet/websearch/library/weekly/aa013101a.htm

Chris Sherman has an excellent in depth look of PDF search at Google.

Adobe Acrobat Home Page
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/

Learn more about PDFs and download the Acrobat software that lets you read PDF files from here.

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

Adobe's own PDF-specific search engine can be found here. Until Google, this was the best we had, for locating PDF files. Now, its 1 million documents is small compared to Google's 13 million PDF files.

Google Adds Title Syntax (Finally) And URL Syntax
ResearchBuzz, Dec. 6, 2000
http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2000/nov30dec6.html

Tara Calishain provides a close up look at playing with new Google power commands.

Boolean Searching on Google
Search Engine Showdown, Nov. 3, 2000
http://searchengineshowdown.com/features/google/googleboolean.html

Guide from Greg Notess about trying to make use of OR at Google

Google University Search Sign Up
http://services.google.com/googleuniv/login

Does your university need a site specific search capability? You can sign up for Google's free offering from here.

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

Patent Wars II: CMGI Strikes Back

"Tempest in a teapot."

That what I said in 1997, when Lycos announced it had patents on search engine crawling, and I see nothing different in light of AltaVista's recent claims.

CMGI's chairman and CEO David Wetherell, whose company has a majority stake in AltaVista, suggested in an Internet World article that some patents recently awarded to AltaVista might give it the ability to seek licensing fees.

"Virtually everyone out there who indexes the web is in violation of at least several of those key patents," Wetherall was quoted as saying, adding further that the company would take action against potential infringers soon.

The first reason I'm not worried about this is that Wetherall clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. In the article, he repeats a claim that AltaVista has tried to make before -- that they were the first to spider the web. They were not. Major search engines such as WebCrawler and Lycos were operating a year before the idea of a search engine was even discussed as Digital, which gave birth to AltaVista.

Who was really first? It depends on your definition. The World Wide Web Wanderer is widely recognized as the first web crawler, and it was launched in 1993. However, it didn't let you search anything. Instead, it was designed to measure the growth of the web. In contrast, WebCrawler seems to be the first full-text crawler-based search engine similar to those we use today.

Another example of Wetherall's lack of knowledge is when he discusses a specific set of patents about indexing distributed databases. That sounds similar to a patent Infoseek claimed -- back in 1997.

Infoseek rolled that out almost a week after Lycos let loose a scare about patents it expected to be granted related to web searching. Despite a scary sounding statement from the Lycos chief scientist at the time, four years later, nothing has ever come of this.

Most important is the fact that our current group of search engines all use their own different types of technologies to generate results, and many have patents on the exact techniques they use. That hasn't prevented other search engines from coming up with their own techniques. For example, Direct Hit has patents relating to the use of clickthrough measurements to improve results. That hasn't stopped Inktomi, Yahoo and others from tracking clicks.

Concern over AltaVista's threats probably would have disappeared, but flames were fanned when Alan Emtage, who created the Archie FTP search service in 1990, said he stood by to help anyone fight attempts by AltaVista to pursue its patents. That produced another round of articles, which in turn made AltaVista's threats seem even more real.

I asked AltaVista for the record whether they really do plan on taking action such as outlined by Wetherall -- no response yet. I'll let you know if I get one. More likely, the threat will be allowed to quietly disappear.

The Internet World Interview: David Wetherell
Internet World, Jan. 15, 2001
http://www.internetworld.com/011501/01.15.01interview.jsp

The interview that sparked the concern over AltaVista's patents.

CMGI Claims Patently Wrong
Wired, Jan. 31, 2001
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,41508,00.html

More on Emtage's suggestion that his prior art on searching would invalidate AltaVista's claims.

Search Engine Creator: AltaVista Patents Bogus
Boston.internet.com, Jan. 31, 2001
http://boston.internet.com/news/article/0,1928,2001_576031,00.html

Longer interview with Emtage, on the AltaVista claims.

Patent may let Lycos license spiders
News.com, Sept. 2, 1997
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,13881,00.html

Sound familiar? "Anyone on the Internet using smart spidering technology is potentially an infringer," according to Lycos's chief scientist, Dr. Michael Mauldin. "We're going to be looking into what our competitors' spiders do. Obviously, requesting royalties is one of the options open to us."

Search Engines and Legal Issues
http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/legal.html

See the "Patents" section for other articles about search engines claiming patents.

A History of Search Engines
http://www.wiley.com/compbooks/sonnenreich/history.html

By author Wes Sonnenreich, this covers the early days of search engines on the Internet.

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

Bush's Dubious Victory At Google

Clearly, I should have written about this when it came to my attention in late November -- but to be honest, I really didn't want to offend anyone. Now that the story has appeared in several other places, well -- what the heck. It turns out that for the past three months, if you did a search on Google for a particularly insulting phrase -- think "dumb Oedipus" -- the top result was to the official George W. Bush campaign store. How on earth did this happen? See the full story, below, to learn more:

Bush's Dubious Victory At Google
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/02-bush.html

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

WebTop Search Rage Study

In January, I reported on how long it takes until people experience search rage, according to a study conducted on behalf of search engine WebTop.com. I've since been provided a full release of the study. It provides wonderful insight into on how often Internet users in the United States search, what they look for and the satisfaction or frustration they encounter, when searching. In short, Americans search practically every other day on average, spend about 1.5 hours per week searching, are mostly seeking news and entertainment information and generally do locate what they are looking for. More details can be found at the article below:

WebTop Search Rage Study
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 5, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/02-searchrage.html

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Internet Top Information Resource, Study Finds

A study conducted on behalf of answer service Keen.com that monitored 74 people over four days during the Fall of 2000 shows that Americans need answers to four questions per day, spend nearly 9 hours per week looking for those answers, online or off, and that the Internet has become their top information resource -- a remarkable change, considering it has only been widely available for about six years. More details can be found at the article below.

Internet Top Information Resource, Study Finds
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/02-keen.html

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

Mining the 'Deep Web' With Specialized Drills
New York Times, Jan. 25, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/25/technology/25SEAR.html

Long article examining why you might turn to a specialized search tool to find information that ordinary search engines might miss, be it "Invisible Web" content, news information or on other topics. By the way, the search I did here was actually for "linda chavez" rather than "chavez," but the results reported were as dismal.

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The Fundamentals of Quality Search
ClickZ, Jan. 18, 2001
http://clickz.com/cgi-bin/gt/article.html?article=3200

Tips from Gerry McGovern of acclaimed web agency NUA, on making basic site search better.

More Fundamentals for a Quality Search
ClickZ, Jan. 25, 2001
http://clickz.com/article/cz.3253.html

As above, focusing on advanced site search and search results pages.

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

Where Did All the Bots Go?
ClickZ, Jan. 17, 2001
http://clickz.com/cgi-bin/gt/article.html?article=3188

Every six months or so, someone comes out with a desktop search utility that's supposed to be a search engine killer. There are rave reviews, then the product disappears. Personally, I don't think users like add-ons that they must (1) download, which sometimes takes a long time and (2) may live apart from their browser. The Google toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com/), for example, is useful because it adds itself within seconds right to your browser -- though users still need to download it (it only takes seconds to do). Bill McCloskey offers another pessimistic voice in this article. By the way, if despite all this you are sold on the idea of search add-ons, you might look at Zapper (http://www.zapper.com). I haven't reviewed it yet, but some favorable comments have come in.

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

The Old-Fangled Search Engine
Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55132-2001Jan12.html

Search engines have not made libraries and librarians obsolete.

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

Cache at the End of His Rainbow
Wired News, Jan. 15, 2001
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,41065,00.html

How Google's caching feature is being used by people to recover missing web sites.

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Dont Be Shy, LadiesGoogle Him! Check Out His Search Engine First
New York Observer, Jan. 15, 2001
http://www.observer.com/pages/story.asp?ID=3672

Forget "Do You Yahoo?" The question on the dating scene is, "Have you been Googled?" In what sounds like it should be an episode of "Sex And The City," Deborah Schoeneman of the New York Observer explains how checking up on potential dating partners using Google is all the rage. What's your search appeal?

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

Tough Times for Data Robots
New York Times, Jan. 12, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/12/technology/12CYBERLAW.html

Crawlers face another legal roadblock, due to a injunction last month preventing Verio from running a robot to gather potential customer leads from Register.com's publicly-accessible WHOIS database.

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

Customization Options for Web Searching
Online, Jan. 2001
http://www.onlineinc.com/onlinemag/OL2001/net1_01.html

Guide to customizing how you search, for several major search engines.

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

Thanks this month to items spotted in....

PersonalReader.com
http://www.personalreader.com/

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

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

Search Engine Showdown Newsletter
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/lists/news.shtml

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