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The Search Engine Update, November 5, 2001, Number 112

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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 & Copenhagen
+ Lycos Redeems Itself With Relaunch
+ Desperately Seeking Search Engine Marketing Standards
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Congratulations! You're A Search Engine Marketer!
+ Searching The AOL Time Warner Way
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Yahoo Hits Hard At MSN
+ Web Spiders List Planned
+ New At Google: More File Types & Page Snapshots For Some
+ AltaVista Woes Continue
+ Excite To Close NewsTracker
+ Overture Goes To Profit & Other Search Engine Financial News
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

Happy Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night to everyone in the United Kingdom!

Within the Members-Only Area, the Researching Keywords At Major Search Engines page has had a slight update. It explains how to confirm popular search topics by using the related searches features offered by various search engines.

Researching Keywords At Major Search Engines
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/more/terms-research.html

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Search Engine Strategies Conference Coming To Dallas & Copenhagen

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

Once again, I've organized two days' worth of sessions packed with information about search engine marketing. If you are a beginner and know little, the conference will bring you up to speed. Advanced? There are plenty of in-depth sessions to choose from. Been to Search Engine Strategies before? There are a number of new and improved panels.

In addition to creating the event program, I'll also be speaking at the conference, along with other search engine marketing experts. There will also be speakers from the major search engines themselves, including About.com, AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, FAST Search, Google, Inktomi, LookSmart and Overture (GoTo).

Search Engine Strategies is also returning to Europe this year, coming to Copenhagen on December 12. I'll be speaking at that event, along with other experts and search engine representatives. The program is being organized by I-Search moderator Detlev Johnson and European-based search engine marketing expert Mikkel deMib Svendsen.

Those interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the events should contact Frank Fazio Jr, [email protected], for more information. Those interested in attending can find conference agendas and more information via the URLs below. For Dallas, be sure to see the "Conference at a Glance" page, if you've come before, for a rundown on what's new.

Search Engine Strategies Dallas
http://seminars.internet.com/sew/fall01/

Search Engine Strategies Denmark
http://seminars.internet.com/sew/denmark01/

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Lycos Redeems Itself With Relaunch

It's been some time since I would have suggested that anyone turn to Lycos to search for anything, but today's relaunch of Lycos is a surprising reversal of the service's decline. If you gave up on Lycos in the past, it is well worth revisiting the improved service.

The Lycos of the past year or so was a terrible mishmash of poor results and confusion. Queries on popular topics tended to bring back results that simply recirculated you back into content only from Lycos. Paid listings were placed at the top of the page as "Featured Listings," then also often stuffed into the "Popular" area, then usually inserted again as another "Featured Listings" detour in the middle of the editorial results.

These past sins are now forgiven. The new layout is clean, well-delineated and features high-quality listings provided by FAST Search. While I'd still give Google the relevancy edge, the improvements FAST Search has made in the past few months have made it an extremely strong contender in the relevancy race.

The changes at Lycos came right as I was finishing the newsletter (of course), so I'll do a fast rundown of the results page and highlight the key points:

You'll usually see three paid listings from Overture (GoTo), at the top of the results page, and these are well identified by the new "Sponsored Search Listings" heading. I think this is much clearer for those who want to know where paid listings appear, and Lycos deserves praise for making the change.

The "Web Results" area is where you will find crawler-based listings provided by FAST. However, if Lycos has its own content relevant to your search, this may appear as the number one listing and is noted as "From The Lycos Network." It's a compact way to alert you to the company's own information, which certainly may be useful, without getting in the way of results across the web, for those who want them.

Lycos is still making use of human-compiled information from the Open Directory, but users are given access to this now through category links that appear below the crawler-based results, within the "Categories" section at the bottom of the results page. Take a moment and review these options -- you may find that a category link helps you narrow in on what you are looking for better than the numbered listings.

Be aware that if you search again using the box at the bottom of the results page, your search will be run only against Open Directory information, not against the crawler-based listings, as was the case with your original search. I think this may be confusing to some people and personally would prefer that the box operate by default just as it does from the Lycos home page.

If you do want to search again against the crawler-based listings, the easiest thing is to scroll back up to the top of the results page, and use the search box there.

The new listing format officially went live today, though you may have encountered it since late last week. The Lycos home page also sports a new look, and the navigational theme and icons at the top of the page carry through to other Terra Lycos-owned web sites, such as HotBot.

The functionality of HotBot has not been changed, as is the case with Lycos. However, Terra Lycos says that HotBot will probably see some "rigorous" changes in the future.

One thing you may have noticed at HotBot is that occasionally, instead of Direct Hit-powered results, you may have been getting mainly Inktomi information or even Overture paid listings. This hasn't been an intentional change but rather some timeout problems that the service suffered in October, Terra Lycos says.

Listingwise, nothing's really changed. If you want to be found at Lycos, you need to be listed with FAST and the Open Directory. The pages below explain this more. Of course, the emphasis is now on FAST's listings -- so if you've been ranking well at AllTheWeb.com, which is FAST's own search site, you'll probably now see more traffic coming from Lycos.

Conversely, if you had been getting good traffic from Lycos and suddenly see a drop, this is probably because you had an Open Directory listing that is no longer exposed to as many Lycos users, because of the new listing format.

Lycos
http://www.lycos.com

HotBot
http://www.hotbot.com

New AllTheWeb.com Goes Live
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 2, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0108-alltheweb.html

I'm hoping to finish a "How FAST Search Works" page later this month. In the meantime, this article covers many key details about the service.

Fast/AllTheWeb Add URL Page
http://www.alltheweb.com/add_url.php

To get listed with FAST, you need only submit your home page and one or two inside pages. Expect a delay of one month or longer until your pages show up, assuming they are indeed accepted. This is not guaranteed to those using the Add URL page.

FAST PartnerSite
http://www.fastsearch.com/products/internet/partnersite.asp

FAST is planning to launch a paid inclusion program similar to that offered by AltaVista and Inktomi in December. In the meantime, you can take part in the fee-based beta test. More information is available at the URL above.

How The Open Directory Works
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/opendirectory.html

More tips and information on submitting to the Open Directory.

Lycos Add URL
http://home.lycos.com/addasite.html

Yes, Lycos still maintains its own Add URL page. The company says this feeds URLs to FAST Search and to the Lycos spider, which is still used for a few international Lycos editions. It won't hurt to use it, but if you've submitted to FAST, most people don't need to do this additional submission.

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Desperately Seeking Search Engine Marketing Standards

It seems that every so often, someone makes a new push to suggest that the search engine marketing industry needs to establish standards of conduct. The idea usually dies away from a lack of support. However, a new effort is underway from several different parties that might have more luck. They'll need that luck, because the barriers to establishing standards remain substantial. You can find the full article via the URL below:

Desperately Seeking Search Engine Marketing Standards
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 5, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0111-standards.html

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Congratulations! You're A Search Engine Marketer!

As the nature of search engine promotion has expanded and matured, the label "search engine optimization" hasn't seemed to cover what some companies and individuals feel they do. But what should come to replace it, if anything?

The venerable phrase "search engine optimization" originally emerged to cover the optimization that was done for crawler-based search engines. Now directories are a big part of the search engine mix, as are paid listing services. In many cases, you aren't really "optimizing" for these other venues, but you certainly are doing work that can influence how people are listed.

Personally, my preferred successor term is "search engine marketing." I've been using that since the middle of last year in some cases, especially when describing what's taught at the Search Engine Strategies conferences.

I've like the term because I feel it encompasses many things: optimizing for crawlers, managing paid listings, submitting to directories -- you name it. All of these activities are marketing on search engines.

I've never really pushed that term much in my writings, primarily because I didn't want to introduce yet more jargon into an industry that can already be confusing to newcomers. Indeed, it's only been until relatively recently that I've felt the phrase "search engine optimization" or the acronym "SEO" has begun to mean anything to those outside the immediate industry.

I've now changed my mind, primarily due to a poll that happened on the I-Search mailing list in September. Various terms were suggested to readers, and "search engine marketing" came out on top, with 39 percent of the votes. Just behind was "search engine optimization," with 35 percent.

It was close enough to make me think about sticking with SEO just for consistency. However but the desire for a broader term is clearly there, so I'm going to make the change. I'll still make use of "search engine optimization" in my writings, but this will begin to diminish over time and be replaced by search engine marketing.

What about all those other terms, such as "search engine submission," "search engine registration" or "search engine positioning?" On my "Intro To Search Engine Submission" page below, you'll find some specific definitions for each of these terms. Remember, these are my definitions only. Others may choose to use the same terms to mean different things. However, if you like my definitions, then certainly feel free to use them.

I-Search Survey Results
I-Search, Sept. 2001
http://list.adventive.com/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?A1=ind0109&L=i-search

See issue #365 for a breakdown of survey results.

Intro To Search Engine Submission
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/submit.html

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Searching The AOL Time Warner Way

Netscape Search used to be a powerhouse in the search world, because so many people were routed to it via the Netscape browser. Those heady days have declined, as Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser now commands the lion share of web users. However, Netscape Search has a new lease on life, via the AOL Time Warner network. Learn more about some changes to the service and how AOL Search fits in, via the URL below:

Searching The AOL Time Warner Way
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 5, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0111-aol.html

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Yahoo Takes On MSN

No one doubts that Yahoo is one of the web's most popular portals. However, unlike its major rivals MSN and AOL, Yahoo has no "browser advantage" to drive traffic to its web site, a weakness that the new "Yahoo Essentials" program for Internet Explorer aims to correct.

By browser advantage, I mean the fact that because so many people use Internet Explorer or AOL's own software, Microsoft and AOL Time Warner have the ability to drive millions to their online properties. In contrast, Yahoo lacks any natural advantage.

Traditionally, Yahoo has gained users through its brand recognition. In the same way that word of mouth now drives people to Google, so too did Yahoo gain users, in the past. Yahoo still gains users this way, but it also has advertising as another method to bring them in. Now, the company is eyeing Internet Explorer as a new traffic generator.

Searchwise, the new Yahoo Essentials tool changes Internet Explorer's behavior so that searches conducted within the address bar resolve to Yahoo, rather than through MSN Search. Additionally, the Internet Explorer search button is also changed to query Yahoo.

The idea of jumping into the browser to get users isn't new. Google's toolbar, though it doesn't change any of IE's settings, still provides IE users with easy access to the search engine (and if you haven't gotten it, do so. It's an outstanding tool). AltaVista and Lycos also released IE enhancements, in the past.

Even Yahoo had a "Companion" tool that added a search box to IE, similar to how the Google Toolbar works. However, Yahoo has upped the ante by going beyond simply adding on to Internet Explorer in favor of modifying it.

Meanwhile, Yahoo and MSN squabbled among themselves last month over who had the largest audience. Yahoo cited figures from NetRatings to back its claim, while MSN used those from Jupiter Media Metrix.

To complicate matters, NetRatings has now acquired Jupiter Media Metrix, which means the favorite game of citing figures from the company that shows you best will now be harder to play, for web operators such as Yahoo and MSN.

Finally, as if having Yahoo go after its users was not enough, a recent change to the MSN site caused those not using Internet Explorer to get an error message saying they needed to get a better browser. Internet Explorer was the suggested option. After an outcry, Microsoft finally removed the block.

Yahoo Essentials
http://essentials.yahoo.com/

MSN
http://www.msn.com

Google Toolbar
http://toolbar.google.com

Microsoft drawn into new browser war
News.com, Oct. 26, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7661190.html

Long analysis of the Yahoo move and the Yahoo-MSN rivalry.

Yahoo makes desktop power play
News.com, Oct. 23, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7625957.html

Long look at what Yahoo Essentials does and the audience figure dispute between Yahoo and MSN.

Yahoo Takes it to the Desktop
SiliconValley.internet.com, Oct. 23, 2001
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_909221,00.html

More about Yahoo Essentials, and how it will be promoted on Compaq computers, through a new deal.

NetRatings to Buy Jupiter Media Metrix, eRatings.com
InternetNews.com, Oct. 25, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_911241,00.html

More details about the NetRatings purchase of Jupiter Media Metrix.

David Slays a Weak Goliath
Iconocast, Oct. 30, 2001
http://www.iconocast.com/issue/20011030.html

Good analysis of the web measurement market, in the wake of the NetRatings-Jupiter Media Metrix deal.

Yahoo, MSN Spar Over Traffic Figures
SiliconValley.internet.com, Oct. 12, 2001
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_902921,00.html

We're the biggest, says Yahoo. No, we're the biggest, counters MSN. A look at the dueling audience figures. Yahoo claims its 210 million unique visitors worldwide in September -- as measured by NetRatings -- makes it the largest global web property. MSN says it had 270 million unique visitors according to former NetRatings-rival Jupiter Media Metrix.

Yahoo, MSN Battle Over Traffic Figures
NewsFactor Network, Oct. 12, 2001
http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/14127.html

Another story on the audience dispute. Note the analyst comment that the time a user spends on the site is more important than the site's audience figures. That's wrong. The statistics, any of them, mean nothing on their own. So what if a portal has someone on their site for an average of an hour per month? If their competitor only keeps visitors for 30 minutes per month but earns more per visitor, then the time means nothing. Or if a web site has millions more visitors than its rivals but fails to earn much from them, it's not going to stay in business -- as anyone watching the dotcom fallout over the past year understands well.

After an Online Ruckus, Microsoft Opens MSN Site to All
New York Times, Oct. 29, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/29/technology/29WEB.html

Details about how some of those not using Internet Explorer were blocked from the MSN site.

Help! They're Taking Over My Computer
ClickZ, Oct. 26, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/feedback/buzz/article.php/911221

So I finally install Netscape 6.1, then try to listen to a CD in my computer. Suddenly WinAmp has taken over and continually tries to connect to the Internet, though I'm offline. What's going on? And there's new options in my Start Menu that I need to remove, plus new bookmarks riddled through my Favorites. Pamela Parker had a similar experience with software that does things you never expected or asked for.

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Web Spiders List Planned

Search engine spiders and crawlers with other purposes pose significant problems to site owners. In particular, they can skew page view statistics, which means that advertisers might pay for impressions that human beings never see.

If only there were a public list of all the spiders operating, so that they could be filtered out! That's what the Interactive Advertising Bureau is now offering, in conjunction with ABCi. Of course, it makes you wonder what all those advertisers have been doing -- or not doing -- to filter out robotic queries without such a list.

Spiders can also overburden web servers, which is why the robots.txt protocol was created years ago. A subsequent list of spiders was also established, but the self-reported nature of this means that it may miss many spiders. In contrast, ABCi has maintained its own list by watching for spider behavior, as having a good list is essential to its auditing business.

No matter how good the ABCi list is, it still faces challenges. Some spider operators will fail to list themselves or may actually try to disguise that they are spiders, such as those that harvest email addresses off of web pages.

ABCi and IAB Spiders and Robots
http://www.abcinteractiveaudits.com/abci_iab_spidersandrobots/

More about the joint spider list can be found here. The list is actually semi-public. You need to be a member of IAB or an ABCi client to access it.

Spiders and Robots Are Ghouls and Goblins
InternetNews.com, Oct. 22, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_908361,00.html

Overview of the effort to create a new spider list. ABCi, which has maintained its own list since 1995, will be doing the work on behalf of the IAB.

The Big List of Web Robots
SearchDay, Oct 24, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1024-robots.html

More about SpiderSpotting and existing lists of robots on the web. Also includes links to information from the new ABCi effort.

Spiders and Robots and Crawlers, Oh My!
ClickZ, Oct. 25, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/media/media_buy/article.php/909611

Closer look at the problems that spiders pose for advertising measurements and why eliminating them isn't so easy.

The Web Robots Database
http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/active.html

The web's oldest list of spiders and crawlers, based on self-reported data.

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New At Google: More File Types & Page Snapshots For Some

Not content with being the only major search engine to list PDF files, Google now lists Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from across the web, as well as Rich Text Format and PostScript files. Chris Sherman has a full-report on the new file formats in the SearchDay article, below.

Google is also testing "Page Snapshots" with a small number of its users. These are small thumbnail images that appear to the left of each listing. They show in thumbnail format what the listed page looks like.

Don't go trying to look for an option to see this feature! It's simply something that will happen to about one percent of Google's users, and only to those who are detected to have high-bandwidth connections. The company says that if response to the thumbnails is positive, then they may be rolled out as a standard feature.

By the way, if you are seeing them and don't like them, use the "Preference" link from the Google home page, then switch off the "Page Snapshots" option.

Google
http://www.google.com

Google Unveils More of the Invisible Web
SearchDay, Oct. 31, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1031-google-files.html

In-depth review of new coverage of non-HTML files provided by Google. Google says that it now has more than 35 million non-HTML files in its index, including 22 million PDF documents. Microsoft Word documents are the next most popular format, followed by PostScript files, Google says. Search Engine Watch members -- use the link on this page to reach the members-only edition written for you, which covers issues about making sure the titles of your non-HTML documents make sense and how to prevent non-HTML documents from being indexed.

Google evaluates subscription options
News.com, Oct. 25, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7661450.html

Is Google planning a subscription-based search service for the corporate market? An employee suggested this would come. However, Google later said that the employee was only talking casually about business areas that Google might explore and that there are no actual plans to do this in the works. "We're not talking about subscription-based services at all," said spokesperson Cindy McCaffrey.

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Is AltaVista's Stale Index The Last Blow?

Earlier this year, it emerged that AltaVista had not refreshed any of its country-specific web page indexes for months. Now, it turns out that the main global database is also several months old.

It's a PR black eye that the service didn't need. AltaVista has been losing its audience steadily over the past year, with Google looking to be the big winner. To regain that audience, AltaVista has continued to proclaim for over a year that it is focused on search. Unfortunately, it's failing to deliver on that promise.

Back in March, AltaVista made a lot of noise about a new crawling system that was going to revisit each page in its index on a monthly basis or even sooner, if a page required it. Here we are in November, and that system doesn't seem to be working. Such a long delay doesn't promote confidence that AltaVista will get its act together.

To be fair, some parts of AltaVista's index were fresher than you could find at Google. For example, in mid-October, the listing for the CNN home page was only a few days old. This could easily be spotted by looking at the date of the listing. In contrast, Google's listing for CNN was still dating back to Sept. 13 -- though you would only know this by viewing Google's cached copy of the page.

That's more the exception that the rule, however. The vast majority of AltaVista's content out of date, which the company itself admits. There is one exception. Anyone who stumped up money over the past few weeks got their pages either included or revisited in a current fashion.

It's worth recalling that when AltaVista rolled out paid inclusion, it promised that regular spidering of "free" content would continue, albeit at a slower monthly refresh rate. That pledge has been broken.

Freshness is a key component for any crawler-based search engine, but verifying freshness can be difficult. One standard that all the crawlers should immediately implement would be to list the date that they last visited each page. Then, at a glance, any user could easily tell exactly how fresh -- or how old -- a search engine's listings are.

I tried to follow up with AltaVista on the freshness issue and its future in general last week, but the company couldn't get an interview scheduled. That was probably exacerbated by the fact that one of its long-time press relations people also left last week.

The departure reminded me about a similar situation last year. I took a briefing on how AltaVista was revitalized and set to do better -- only to have the person giving me the pitch add at the end of the interview that they were leaving. Other tech-related individuals I spoke with in the past have also left. The "rats off a sinking ship" image is the one that keeps coming to mind, after each departure.

I'm not normally one for predictions, but I'll ease myself out onto a limb and make one for AltaVista. I believe that Google will acquire AltaVista within a year.

No, there's no source within Google or AltaVista suggesting this to me, so don't take this as anything other than my own musings. However, it makes a lot of sense.

Google wants to play in the enterprise search space, making intranets searchable. This would give the company some insurance against the vagaries of selling adverting aimed at a consumer market. Google's big problem is that many corporations want a software-based search solution. They don't want to allow an company to "remote host" sensitive data.

In contrast, AltaVista does have a software-based tool -- and by many accounts, it's a great one, with plenty of customers. What AltaVista lacks is a decent web-wide index.

A logical step for AltaVista would be to dump its web-wide indexing effort and concentrate on the corporate market. However, I think there's a fear in the company that doing this would hurt the reputation of its enterprise product. The thought would be, "If you can't index the web, how can you handle my intranet?"

The answer is that web-wide indexing and enterprise searching are completely different creatures. While there can be some synergies in doing both, they still have different requirements. Poor web wide indexing does not mean poor enterprise searching, and vice versa.

If Google were to purchase AltaVista, it would pick up a decent software-based enterprise solution that could take it forward into the corporate space. It would also pick up what remaining traffic AltaVista has, along with those search patents that AltaVista likes to crow about. The patents probably don't pose any real threat to Google or other search engines, but if you can pick them up as part of a bargain rate package, why not?

There's a great precedent for this: Inktomi's acquisition of Ultraseek, back in June 2000. Ultraseek was the enterprise search subsidiary of Go.com (the former Infoseek). Go decided to concentrate on the consumer market and so wanted to offload Ultraseek. By picking it up, Inktomi gained big inroads into the enterprise space.

Of course, Google could build its own software solution from scratch. The new emphasis on including Microsoft Office documents and other file formats in its regular search results does suggest that Google could be doing this in order to have a more robust enterprise product.

AltaVista serving up out-of-date listings
News.com, Oct. 23, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7630946.html

Good coverage about AltaVista's freshness problem.

CMGI restructures $220 million debt from AltaVista deal
Chicago Tribune, Oct. 31, 2001
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/printedition/chi-0110310206oct31.story

CMGI still owes Compaq $220 million, apparently for the purchase of AltaVista. A new deal reduces this to $75 million in cash, $7 million in CMGI stock and a 49 percent stake for Compaq in CMGI's B2E Solutions.

Fired AltaVista Employee sues CMGI for $70 million
DigitalMass.com, Oct. 31, 2001
http://digitalmass.boston.com/news/2001/10/31/cmgi.html

Adding to AltaVista's woes, a former employee is now suing the company and parent CMGI for more than $70 million in damages, over his termination.

AltaVista Listing Enhancements
http://www.altavista.com/sites/search/listing_enhancements

In a new program aimed at earning revenue from web site owners, AltaVista will now allow listings to be "enhanced" with icons and other customized features. Basic details can be found here, directly from AltaVista. Chris Sherman is also planning a longer look in the SearchDay newsletter, later this week.

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Excite Closes NewsTracker

Excite is closing its NewsTracker service as of November 15. For those of you who were still depending on NewsTracker for news search needs, don't worry. There are plenty of great alternatives, which you will find below.

Excite NewsTracker
http://nt.excite.com

News Search Engines
http://searchenginewatch.com/links/News_Search_Engines/Major_News_Search_Engines/

A collection of top news search choices.

News Searching Week At SearchDay
SearchDay, Oct. 15-18
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1019-news.html

You want news search? Chris Sherman just covered it in-depth. The page above links to a compilation of his articles on the topic.

New Search Engine for News Searching
ResearchBuzz, Oct. 24, 2001
http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2001/oct18oct2401.html

Review of new news search service RocketNews, which provide access to news sources on both a free and fee basis.

Excite UK marches on
Europemedia.net, Oct. 31, 2001
http://www.europemedia.net/shownews.asp?ArticleID=6391

While we seem to be waiting for Excite slowly disappear, sibling service Excite UK says that it's business as usual, thanks to having BT as a joint venture partner. Of course, BT's having its own financial difficulties....

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Overture Goes To Profit & Other Search Engine Financial News

More quarterly earnings and financial news have come in since the last newsletter. Among them, Overture makes its first profit, $9 million for the last quarter. Competitor FindWhat also makes a profit, though a much smaller $651,000. For LookSmart and Ask Jeeves, there were continuing losses, though LookSmart's listing sales continue to rise. Both say they have plenty of cash to carry them through. Inktomi also had a loss, though it was less than analysts has expected. Also, a long look at Yahoo's attempt to build new revenue stream, and InfoSpace plans to cut 200 staff. See the URL below for a recap of articles, along with some extended comments from me.

Overture Goes To Profit & Other Search Engine Financial News
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 5, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0111-financials.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:

Build Your Own Yahoo
SearchDay, Nov. 1, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1101-directory.html

The itch to create your own online portal eventually strikes just about every web searcher. To do it properly, you should make sure you have the right tools for the job.

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The Wayback Machine: A Web Archives Search Engine
SearchDay, Oct. 30, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1030-wayback.html

The Wayback Machine is a phenomenal search engine that contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.

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Make a Shorter Link
SearchDay, Oct. 29, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1029-shorter-link.html

MakeAShorterLink.com takes long URLs and outputs a very short one that's easy to email, include in newsletters, or add to your own bookmarks or favorites list.

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Power Tools for News Junkies
SearchDay, Oct. 17, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1017-news-custom.html

Customize your online news with these nifty tools that aggregate snippets of news from all over the web into a single unified access point.

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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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Northern Light Gains Cash, Clout
Boston.internet.com, Oct. 31, 2001
http://boston.internet.com/news/article/0,1928,2001_914051,00.html

Northern Light turns six years old and gets a nice gift, $20 million in investment. By the way, from a briefing I had with the company last month, it said that about 65 percent of its revenue now comes from providing enterprise search solutions to companies, 20 percent from content sales (purchases of "Special Collection" documents) and 15 percent from advertising on the web site. Is Northern Light profitable? "We don't disclose our financials. That's one of the advantages of being a private company. I will say that the company is making sufficient progress on the financial front," said David Seuss, Northern Light's CEO.

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E-Commerce Metrics: Drowning in Your Own Data?
ClickZ, Oct. 29, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/article.php/911491

Statistics are great, but it's easy to get lost in the numbers. Here's a guide to what you should care about.

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iPhrase Talks Up LexisNexis Deal
Boston.internet.com, Oct. 29, 2001
http://boston.internet.com/news/article/0,1928,2001_911921,00.html

iPhrase, which makes search refinement technology, has expanded its deal to work with LexisNexis.

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With links to songs, videos and pictures, search engines advance
Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2001
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2001/10/28/financial1331EST0008.DTL&type=tech

Primarily a focus on multimedia search company Friskit, hoping to connect music lovers with songs. Also mentions Singingfish, which has several important partnerships already.

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LookSmart Picks Up the Pieces of Primary Knowledge
DMNews.com, Oct. 25, 2001
http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=17566

LookSmart acquires people and tools to help it do online marketing tracking. The company's press release about the acquisition says that this technology will be used to help LookSmart advertisers track the return on their spending with the company.

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Understanding the Power of Search Engine Marketing
ClickZ, Oct. 24, 2001
http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/909181

Perspective that ad managers and marketers who aren't considering search engines are missing out on a valuable and cost effective advertising venue.

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The Keyword at Google: Growth
BusinessWeek, Oct. 23, 2001
http://businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2001/nf20011023_3541.htm

Harder look at Google's success, well worth a read. Points out that in the site search and intranet enterprise market, the company has far to go. However, the company can deliver much more than a "handful" of ads on its pages, however. Indeed, for popular terms such as "cipro," Google will deliver up to eight paid listings versus 10 editorial listings. That's a 44 percent ad break; albeit one that's not typical, for most terms. Also points out that Google did not win out against Inktomi to power some results for MSN and AOL.

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Highlights of Ixquick Metasearch
About Web Search Guide, Oct. 16, 2001
http://websearch.about.com/library/searchtips/bltotd011016.htm

Review of the Ixquick meta search engine, which really should be among your top choices, if you are seeking a meta search tool.

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'Real' Plea: Make Love, Not Porn
Wired, Oct. 5, 2001
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,47326,00.html

The porn industry is widely known to produce some of the worst search engine spamming. Ironically, there's now an anti-porn group that's also turning to search engine spam to get out their message. They have apparently generated thousands of cloaked pages that promise porn content to viewers but instead deliver an anti-porn message.

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Inktomi Search/Submit - Are you Being Ripped Off?
PromotionBase, Oct. 2001
http://www.promotionbase.com/article/577

I've written before that for some time, Inktomi has been using LookSmart titles and descriptions for URLs that are listed in both its index and with LookSmart. The intent by Inktomi is to provide users with potentially a better description of the page.

However, site owner Haig Sakouyan dislikes the situation, feeling that it takes away from the site owner's ability to represent their site as they prefer and perhaps can hurt rankings, as well. He has a valid point, on the representation front.

Perhaps a solution here would be for Inktomi to do as FAST Search does -- use a LookSmart description only if no meta description tag exists (FAST Search will use an Open Directory description, if a page has no meta description tag).

As for the ranking issue, things are more complicated. Inktomi actually indexes all of LookSmart's listings -- so when you see your site listed, it may not actually be your page that's listed but your listing at LookSmart.

Alternatively -- and what I think happens -- is that Inktomi simply recognizes that it has spidered your URL, then uses all your on-page information for ranking purposes, while LookSmart information is just used for display purposes.

If the latter is correct, then the use of LookSmart's title or description would have no bearing on your ranking (while the fact you are listed in LookSmart would certainly give you a boost). I'll check with Inktomi on the issue and let you know what I find.

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I'm Feeling Lucky
Wired, Oct. 2001
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.10/google.html

Compares and contrasts the success with advertising that Google and Overture (GoTo) have been having. Despite what the article says, my understanding is that both of Google's ad programs operate on a CPM basis.

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