THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
March 15, 1997 - Number 1
================ About The Update ================
The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to those people who have subscribed to "A Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines."
================= Introductory Note =================
Welcome to the first update. I sincerely thank those of you who've subscribed to the web site. There are new benefits that each of you now have because you subscribed:
+ Offline Edition: An offline edition of the Webmaster's Guide To Search Engines is now available. It is located in the subscribers-only area, which is password-protected. This password is being sent in a separate message. This subscribers-only area is at:
+ Search Engine Update: This mailing list goes out mid-month and will keep you informed of interesting search engine news and tips. It's only for subscribers. Non-subscribers have to wait for the monthly summary.
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================== Search Engine News ==================
Instant Listings On Infoseek
Infoseek has made its page listing service even faster. An online form is now available, and pages submitted via the form are added to the index within minutes. You can even find the exact time the page was added, up to three days after submission, using the Check URL form.
Many pages can be added at once via the old email option, though it may take up to a week to process them this way.
This new system makes Infoseek the fastest of the major search engines to index submitted pages. Previously, it was tied with Alta Vista in adding pages within a day or two of submission.
Infoseek's Add URL page notes that a page may not be added to the index if it is submitted more than once in a 24 hour period. No doubt this is an anti-spamming measure, designed to hinder spammers who would otherwise change a page, resubmit, then keep changing until the page made the top ten.
Infoseek does not seem to penalize for submitting many pages within a short period of time. Alta Vista does this as an anti- spamming measure.
ADD URL page http://www.infoseek.com/AddUrl?pg=DCaddurl.html
Check URL Status page http://www.infoseek.com/AddUrl?pg=CheckURLStatus.html
AOL Launches AOL NetFind
On March 13, AOL unveiled its AOL NetFind service at Internet World in Los Angeles. In the past, AOL members have directed its members to a search page where they could choose between using Excite or WebCrawler. Now they are directed to the AOL NetFind page.
Under the hood, AOL NetFind is actually Excite with an AOL look. Excite is crawling the web as normal, and AOL NetFind taps into the Excite listings.
There are some slight changes. Obviously, there's the AOL NetFind look & feel. More important, the results from an Excite search are not exactly the same as an AOL NetFind search.
For example, a search for "bill clinton" brings up 1,188,366 hits with Excite but slightly more with AOL NetFind: 1,321,528. In addition, the top ten results for this search aren't exactly the same. Not all of the same sites appear, and the ranking order is slightly different.
Why the differences? AOL NetFind may be slightly tweaking the ranking criteria when it taps into the Excite listings. It may also be that AOL is provided with its own copy of the Excite listings to use. If so, the copy could be less (or more) recent by those used by Excite. I'll let you know more as I find out.
AOL NetFind is also supposed to be listed on the ABC and Microsoft web sites. It remains to be seen if AOL NetFind will replace the current Microsoft search page that comes up for those using Internet Explorer. Several engines currently reside on that page and are rotated as default choices.
Want to have some fun? Pop over to NetFind and do a search. Now in the address box, look for this at the end:
Cut that part off and reload the page. Surprise! Welcome to Excite, or at least the Excite look & feel. Don't stop there. Pop over to Excite and do a search. Now add those characters to the end of whatever is in the address box. Welcome back to AOL NetFind!
AOL NetFind http://www.aol.com/netfind/
C|Net article on announcement http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,8754,00.html
UPS Partners With Search Engines
Sending a package via UPS? The delivery company now has buttons on the home pages of Infoseek and Lycos that take you directly to a tracking query form. A similar set-up is planned for Yahoo, though it wasn't installed when I checked on 3/13. Does this mean FedEx will go after other engines such as Alta Vista and Excite? Details can be found at News.Com or at PR Newswire:
Rating the Raters
Who's Marketing Online put together an interesting look at review sites and how they rate each other. For example, NetGuide Live gives Magellan 5 stars (best), while Magellan rates NetGuide Live only 2 stars.
More important, there's a good look at the quality of reviews, exploring issues such freshness or inconsistent praise and criticism.
Submissions Remain Off At Open Text
The Open Text URL submission page has been closed since late November while the index has been upgrading its crawling capabilities. It was promised to be reopened in mid-March, but that date has now slipped back until late March. Watch the Submit URL page to see if the index will deliver on its latest promise.
Open Text Index http://index.opentext.net/
Open Text Submit URL page http://index.opentext.net/main/submitURL.html
Yahoo Categories To Get Own Sites?
Popular Yahoo categories could be broken off into their own sites in the future, Yahoo's President and CEO told C|Net in a story on earnings. The directory is also planning a launch later this year of a search engine geared toward product/merchant searches.
========= End Notes =========
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