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.
In This Issue
+ Site News
+ Conference Registration Discount Deadline Is Tomorrow!
+ Researching Search Terms With WordTracker
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Express Changes, Zeal Relaunch Coming From LookSmart
+ Consumer Group Asks FTC To Investigate Search Ads
+ New FAST Search Goes Live
+ Scout Report's Susan Calcari Passes Away
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)
The Jupiter Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings page has been updated. The latest figures show that Go and NBCi, which have dropped out of the portal game, have also lost audience share. Meanwhile, Excite and AltaVista show further weakness, while Google and GoTo continue to climb.
Jupiter Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings
Chris Sherman has been very busy with the daily SearchDay newsletter. If you don't already receive it, please be sure to see the SearchDay section below in this newsletter for links to interesting articles about a new way to use your favorite search engine from the address bar of Internet Explorer and a members-only edition of an article about the new volunteer directory, JoeAnt. Those of you who are interested in site and enterprise search issues will also find a special SearchDay with an update of developments in this area, provided by guest writer Avi Rappoport, of SearchTools.com
Conference Registration Discount Deadline Is Tomorrow!
If you've been thinking about registering for our upcoming Search Engine Strategies conference next month, the time to act is now! That's because the last day to get the early bird registration discount is tomorrow, July 18. Sign-up by tomorrow, and you can save up to US $200 on the registration price!
Search Engine Strategies will be held in San Francisco on August 16th and 17th. It features an entire day 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.
The conference is also unique in having several panels that feature representatives from the actual search engines themselves. Get first hand advice, direct from the source! The second day of the conference also allows marketers more opportunity to hear sessions on promotion issues.
Web searchers -- you're not left out! Day 2 features two "searcher-oriented" tracks designed for you. These panels will give you tips on searching better, as well as a glimpse into behind the scenes issues that influence how well search engines work for searchers.
Developers and systems administrators also have a track for them on Day 2, designed to help you understand how to add a search engine to your own web site, intranet or to create a vertical search feature. Learn how improving site and ecommerce search can lead to more sales or how having better intranet search can mean productivity savings.
I'll be speaking at the conference, along with other search engine marketing and research experts. There will also be speakers from the search engines themselves, including About.com, AltaVista, FAST Search, Google, GoTo, Inktomi, LookSmart, MSN Search and Netscape/The Open Directory.
Exhibiting companies include Business.com, Did-it.com, EasyAsk, Fast Search & Transfer, Inceptor, Inktomi, Firespout, LexiQuest, LingoMotors, NuTech Solutions, Position Technologies, Quigo Technologies, SiteLab, Sprinks, Web Ignite, WebSeed and WebGenius.
Those interested in sponsoring or exhibiting should contact Frank Fazio Jr, [email protected], for more information. Attendees can find the agenda or sign-up for the conference via the URL below:
Search Engine Strategies: San Francisco 2001
Researching Search Terms With WordTracker
The key to success with search engine marketing is understanding how your audience is searching for your products and services. If you fail to make use of the terms your audience searches with, you'll fail to be found by them. It's that simple. Term research is so crucial to success, yet marketers have lacked a robust tool to help them with it. That oversight has ended, thanks to the recent improvement of the WordTracker service. It's a must have resource for any search engine marketing professional. A full review of the service can be found below.
Researching Search Terms With WordTracker
The Search Engine Update, July 17, 2001
Express Changes, Zeal Relaunch Coming From LookSmart
In the coming week or so, expect two major changes to be coming from LookSmart. The first will be an express change service, allowing site owners to modify existing listings quickly or add new categories, for a fee. The second will be a major relaunch of the LookSmart-owned Zeal site, where listings are compiled by volunteer editors. Those listings will finally be integrated into LookSmart's regular database, though the Zeal site will continue operating as a standalone service. The changes at Zeal promise a much faster option for non-profit and non-commercial sites to get listed within the LookSmart database. I'll be bringing you a complete rundown on how both changes will impact the listing process at LookSmart, in the next newsletter.
Consumer Group Asks FTC To Investigate Search Ads
Is it deceptive advertising to include paid listings in your search results and not clearly label them as ads? A group backed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader believes so, and it's asking the US Federal Trade Commission to take action against seven major search companies.
Commercial Alert filed its complaint with the FTC on Monday, claiming that AltaVista, AOL Time Warner, Direct Hit, iWon, LookSmart, Microsoft and Terra Lycos are violating US law by inserting paid listings within their search engine results "without clear and conspicuous disclosure that the ads are ads."
It is significant that the complaint doesn't suggest that the ads shouldn't be allowed, only that they be clearly labeled and distinct from more editorially-derived listings. Indeed, Google is singled out for praise because its paid listings appear with "Sponsored Links" identifiers and are thus considered to be clean.
Ironically, most of the services named are in trouble mainly for carrying paid placement listings from GoTo under euphemisms such as "Featured Listings" or "Partner Search Results" while GoTo itself was not named. This is probably either because GoTo has no long history of carrying editorial-results or because the "Cost to advertiser" labels associated with each paid listing at the GoTo site itself is deemed to be clear enough to consumers.
The companies named certainly could make life easier for themselves by changing the wording associated with the paid listings carried by their search engines, but that wouldn't take care of issues connected with paid inclusion listings.
In the case of paid inclusion, sites are paying to have better representation in search results but usually do not gain any ranking boost. Thus, it is more difficult to completely classify paid inclusion content as ads (though, interestingly, companies like LookSmart may call those who take out paid inclusion listings "advertisers").
This story just broke as I was preparing the newsletter, so expect a follow-up as necessary. It's unlikely that the FTC will take any immediate action, but the story is already generating headlines and may produce some abrupt changes, if only to solve a PR nightmare.
Commercial Alert Files Complaint Against Search Engines for Deceptive Ads
Commercial Alert, July 16, 2001
The actual complaint and background about why it was filed.
Search Engines Accused of Deception
AP, July 16, 2001
More about the complaint, plus quotes from Consumer Action and from search engines defending themselves.
Group Charges Search Engine Results Deceptive
NewsFactor.com, July 16, 2001
Another story about the complaint.
Pay For Placement?
Not familiar with the concepts of paid placement or paid inclusion. You'll find plenty of articles on the topic here, written by me and others.
New FAST Search Goes Live
FAST Search has released a new version of its AllTheWeb.com site, which I'll be looking at more closely in the next newsletter. In the meantime, you can explore how the changed service lets you search for web pages, images, video clips, MP3 and FTP files. Other new features have also been added, which you can find listed in the all new help files.
NBCi Switches To GoTo
In April, I wrote about how NBCi was getting out of the portal business. This month, the company finally shut down the directory it had produced itself. Instead, search results at NBCi now come from that favorite of the failing portals, GoTo. The results are not listed as paid at NBCi, unlike at Go.com, which about a month ago finally added a big "Sponsored Search Results Provided by GoTo" disclaimer to the GoTo results that it now uses.
NBCi Down, Probably Out
SearchEngineWatch.com, April 19, 2001
Covers the initial announcement that NBCi was pulling out of the portal game and links to articles about the closure of Go.
Scout Report's Susan Calcari Passes Away
Produced by librarians and educators, the Scout Report is a weekly highlight of top resources that are valuable to any researcher. It's also one of the oldest and most respected "best picks" newsletters on the web. Sadly, the founder and executive director of the Scout Report, Susan Calcari, passed away on July 8, after a battle with breast cancer. More about Susan can be found below, as well as how to contribute to a scholarship in her name.
Susan Calcari 1956-2001
The Internet Scout Project
Sign-up to receive the Scout Report here.
Here are some recent articles that may be of interest from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:
RealSearch with Internet Explorer
SearchDay, July 15, 2001
If you're running Internet Explorer, you can forget visiting the home page of the major search engines and directories from now on. Just enter your query into IE's address window, prefaced by the name of the search service you'd like results from, and RealSearch will take care of the rest. Also covers the new date range search feature offered by Google.
Special Search Tools & Products Issue
SearchDay, July 12, 2001
Guest writer and respected industry expert Avi Rappoport provides an update on developments in the world of search tools and products that make sites and intranets searchable.
Hang Ten with SurfWax Metasearch
SearchDay, July 10 & 11, 2001
SurfWax is a metasearch engine with some powerful advanced features, including the ability to build your own customized gateways into the invisible web. In two parts, with URLs to both parts shown above.
In Defense of Search Engine Cloaking
SearchDay, July 9, 2001
Search engines with myopic vision are limiting the web by enforcing politically correct and stylistically bankrupt policies, according to one disgruntled SearchDay reader.
JoeAnt Scours the Web
SearchDay, July 5, 2001
From the ashes of Go Guides has emerged JoeAnt, a new volunteer-driven directory of the web. More about the service and tips on submitting, in this special edition for Search Engine Watch members.
You can also sign-up for SearchDay on that page to get more articles like these during the workweek, along with search engine headlines from across the web.
Search Engine Articles
Realtor Finds New Leads Territory in Search-Engine Bidding
Direct Marketing News, July 16, 2001
Paid placement with GoTo not only increased traffic by 25 percent for this company but leads converted well, too.
Book Review: Search Engine Positioning
WebReference, July 16, 2001
Positive review of the new book on search engine optimization techniques by Fredrick Marckini, founder and CEO search engine promotion firm iProspect.com.
Taking The Plunge in the Pay-Per-Click Link Pool
Link Mensch, July 16, 2001
Short, concise overview of getting started with paid placement search engines.
Lookle bows to Google might
The Australian, July 16, 2001
Apparently, Lookle looked a lot like Google, so Lookle changed its look to avoid problems. It's entirely unclear whether Google actually asked Lookle to do this or was just saying they'd investigate the design similarities after being asked about it as part of this story. As for Lookle, whatever potential it has to become a global search engine appears to be currently limited to carrying paid listings from FindWhat.com.
Yahoo rises as Semel touts gains
News.com, July 12, 2001
Yahoo reports a net income of $8.7 million for last quarter, beating analyst expectations of no net income. The company had a net loss of $48.5 million, when restructuring and acquisition-related charges are included.
Hey Everybody, Yahoo's On!
The Standard, July 12, 2001
By lowering its earning projections, Yahoo has made a $45 million quarterly loss seem like a success.
Google's Successful Search
BusinessWeek, July 10, 2001
Review of Google's business side, how the company is surviving and thriving in a market where other Internet companies -- including some of its competitors -- are struggling. And hey -- a new IPO prediction, this time for 2002 (though no one from Google is cited as saying this). Also, Google doesn't handle all of Yahoo's search queries, only those that aren't matched by Yahoo's own human-compiled listings. Finally, just as Tara Calishain of ResearchBuzz.com noted in her review of the article, in no way should Google be seen as going down the portal path by offering address lookups or stock quotes. True portal features in the past were designed to make people "stick" within the site. In contrast, Google's features mesh perfectly with its search mission of passing people through its site.
Search engines still searching for profitability
Upside, July 9, 2001
Detailed recap of how search engines have shifted to integrating paid listings and other means of making money, including enterprise search. Lots of quotes and comments from major search players, and check out the part about Google leaving its first $100,000 in investment money in a desk drawer for a month because the yet-to-be-born company had no checking account. Sequoia Capital's Michael Moritz is incorrect when quoted as saying Yahoo has always outsourced its search technology. Yahoo has always had its own search technology -- human editors and internal software to sort through those human-compiled listings. Yahoo has only outsourced for the crawler-based results that kick in if there are no matches from its own listings.
Moreover.com chief steps down
The Guardian, July 9, 2001
Moreover cofounder and chief executive Nick Denton is stepping down, to let the company grow under a former DoubleClick and Oracle executive, Susan Atherton. "The truth is I'm a media guy who has adapted pretty well to running a business but Susan's got 15 years experience," said Denton.
A Master of Headline Grabbing
Time, July 9, 2001
Profile of news search service Moreover.
Illuminating the Web
Time, July 9, 2001
A look at the challenge of indexing the invisible web and enterprises.
Power Up With New Metasearch Tools
About.com Web Search Guide, July 9, 2001
Review that covers the advantages of meta searching and some relatively new meta search tools, SurfWax, Vivisimo and qbSearch.
Spam Scam Targets GoTo Listings
Wired, July 6, 2001
What if you had a listing on GoTo and everyone clicked on it, just to run up your bill? A look at the things the company does to prevent fraud.
Search Engine Submission and Resubmission Guidelines
Search Engine Guide, July 6, 2001
Interview with Position Technologies' Jim Stob, on when to submit and resubmit to search engines.
Dot-com demise reaches researcher Jupiter
News.com, July 5, 2001
Review of problems faced by research and web site rating firm Jupiter Media Metrix, including accusations that its measurements aren't as accurate as rival Nielsen NetRatings. I like the part about companies that are switching to NetRatings because they feel Media Metrix underrepresents them. Want to bet that the minute NetRatings should fail to deliver, these companies will go looking for another ratings firm?
Find Canada on the Web
About Web Search Guide, July 2, 2001
In depth review of how to find Canadian information on the web, eh.
Porn sneaks past search filters
News.com, July 2, 2001
Keeping porn images out of image search results is quite the challenge. While image search engines still can't read images in the way they can text, some can at least identify colors, helping keep files dominant with flesh tones out of the results. It only it weren't for all those darn baby photos messing everything up -- "Babies tend to be showing a lot of skin," said image search company LookThatUp.
Upstream: Video Searching
Technology Review, July/August 2001
Review into research about making video searching easier.
New IT company aims to increase speed of Internet, database searches
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 28, 2001
Vivisimo is a great meta search engine, but the company actually aims to use its technology to help businesses manage information. Also how the company got its name (which I think looks and sounds great, but which I also always misspell).
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The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!