In This Issue
Search Engine Watch News
Later this week, we'll announce the results of the 4th Annual Search Engine Watch Awards. My thanks to all our readers who voted! I'll be busy tabulating the ballots, then Chris Sherman and I will get together to come up with the final winners. When the results are ready, you'll find them posted in the awards section of the site:
Search Engine Watch Awards
I'm now diving in to doing some site updates, integrating material that's been sent out in past newsletters. Just updated is our Search Toolbars & Utilities page. Check it out to find some new toolbars, including the just released MSN Toolbar, and search companions we've reviewed recently:
Search Toolbars & Utilities
In only a month, Search Engine Strategies comes to New York. Running from March 1-4, the show features sessions that cover every aspect of search engine marketing. You'll hear from search engine marketing experts as well as search engine representatives themselves -- confirmed speakers be there from About.com, AOL, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, Google, Inktomi, LookSmart/WiseNut, Overture and Yahoo, as well as a variety of specialized services such as Shopping.com and Singingfish.
I carefully develop all the sessions at the show. There are nearly 60 that will be offered in New York, and here's a flavor of just some of them:
The SEM & Spanish Speakers session was offered for the first time in Chicago, and it gave the audience chills to hear how wide open this market is. To paraphrase one speaker at the session, "Just think if you could go back to 1995 and not repeat the mistakes you made then." You can, through outreaching via search to Spanish speakers.
The new Competitive Research session examines how you can make use of search engines to better understand -- and win against -- your competition in a variety of ways.
Our Getting Local session expands, now exploring in two parts how search engines and online yellow pages are helping marketers reach out the local audience.
Can search do more than drive traffic to a web site? Our Measuring Offline Conversion session explores this, as does the Search Engines & Branding and Public Relations Via Search Engines sessions.
What does the future hold? I'm hosting a morning Future Of Search roundtable where this will be explored with representatives of the web's major search engines. The same day, an afternoon Future Of Search Engine Marketing session examines what's to come from a marketer's perspective.
If you own a search engine marketing firm, the first day of the show features an entire track of sessions designed to help you understand how to grow, value and potentially sell your firm.
Work for an ad agency? Work for an SEM firm trying to work with ad agencies? Then don't miss the Search Engine Marketing & Ad Agency session!
Trademarks are hot topic when it comes to search engines, and the issue is always explored in our regular session on legal issues. In New York, we'll take a closer look with a panel that features representatives from American Blind & Wallpaper, currently involved in a lawsuit against several major search engines in a trademark dispute.
Site Clinic lets you volunteer your site for review to gain tips on making it more search engine friendly. New for New York are additional "clinics" that offer help with improving conversion, link building and creating ad copy.
All this and more is offered at the show. If you enjoy the content we feature in Search Engine Watch, then Search Engine Strategies is your chance to see that content come to life! You'll find the full agenda and registration information via the link below:Search Engine Strategies New York
Dates for several other Search Engine Strategies events in 2004 have also been set. Find out when it will come to Tokyo, Toronto and San Jose via the URL below:
Search Engine Strategies
Search Engine Articles
By Danny Sullivan
Google Releases Orkut Social Networking Service
SearchDay, Jan. 22, 2004
Google has quietly released a social networking service called orkut, named after Orkut Buyukkokten, a Google software engineer who developed the project during personal time allowed to him by Google.
Here's a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:
A Better Search Tool for Finding Needles in Haystacks
SearchDay, Feb. 3, 2004
The NeedleSearch toolbar lets you capture the basic search functionality from any search engine, site search tool, or specialized database and put it at your command with a single click.
Search Engine Milestones for January 2004
SearchDay, Feb. 2, 2004
Notable news and announcements from the web search world during the past month.
Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Jan. 30, 2004
Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Build Brand Equity for Search - Inktomi as the Saviour of SEO/M - Orkut.com Social Networking Engine In Affiliation With Google - Adding Meta Tags Using Php - Google Update - Anyone Else's MSN Rankings Slipping? - Customer Petrified To Change His #1 Ranked Page On Google - Is It Worth Paying To Get On Web Directories? - Yahoo on the Brink of Throwing out The Directory?
On Search, the Series
SearchDay, Jan. 29, 2004
Few people who have a deep understanding of search have the ability to write eloquently about it. Search engine pioneer Tim Bray is one of those people, and he has written an absolutely fabulous series of essays that should be essential reading for anyone wanting a thorough understanding of the technology.
Hidden Google Tools
SearchDay, Jan. 28, 2004
Even if you consider yourself a Google expert, these 'hidden' tools and resources let you push the search engine's capabilities to the max.
A Multifaceted Online News and Blog Search Tool
SearchDay, Jan. 27, 2004
Rocketinfo Desktop is a powerful news search engine with a lot of additional goodies designed for both news junkies and online researchers alike.
Learning About Search Engines From Google Engineers
SearchDay, Jan. 26, 2004
Want to learn how Google works? A new archive of publications by Google employees offers deep insights into many aspects of the search engine's operation.
Google Alert Automatically Tracks Your Favorite Topics
SearchDay, Jan. 22, 2004
Google Alert lets you automate the process of running regular queries, sending you an email whenever any new content is added to the Google database.
Want to receive SearchDay? Sign-up for the free daily newsletter from Search Engine Watch via the link below:
Search Engine Articles
HighBeam Research: Going Beyond Googleing
EContentMag.com, Jan/Feb. 2004
HighBeam, the renamed Alacritude, seeks to revive the model of selling access to high-quality information through a subscription fee. Northern Light's attempt to mix free and subscription-based searching together failed, but perhaps HighBeam will have more luck.
A Selection of Recently Awarded Search Related Patents & Recently Published Search Related Patent Applications
ResourceShelf, February 2004
Gary Price's monthly round-up of new search patents, featuring a new one listing Sergey Brin as inventor.
Couldn't agree more with Tara Calishain that claims are nothing; action is everything. Dipsie is a new search engine not even launched yet getting hyped. You can expect more of this as everyone rolls out search services to catch the coattails of hype surrounding Google's potential IPO.
Dipsie may be great -- maybe not. When I looked at a demo back in November, it was locked to showing results for only one query, so it was hard to judge. Expect a closer look at this and other services as they warrant.
In the meantime, Gigablast continues to roll out new features and improve. It still probably won't replace Google or your favorite major search engine, but Matt Wells is diligently delivering stuff anyone can actually use. For past coverage on Gigablast, see: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3080321 (permalink to this item)
Google for a grade
Seattle Times, Feb. 2, 2004
Apparently the first university course on Google has been offered, though I suspect there have been others, just not publicized. It focuses on Google as a cultural phenomenon. Let's hope the professor actually decides to encompass search engines overall as a phenomenon -- which they are, but for which Google gets the lion share of credit today.
For example, one student says, "It has completely changed the way many if not most people access or find information." Another says, "This just blows me away that we're sitting in a classroom in Seattle, I type words into this thing and we're getting web pages from all over the world right with a click of a button...I'm not overselling Google. I'm talking about the web. Is this what humanity has been waiting for?"
Actually, Yahoo, Lycos, WebCrawler -- those early search engines from 1994, before Google even existed -- completely transformed how people accessed information. They popularized the idea of search as a resource. Google came afterward with a better system, but as I've written many times before, people did indeed locate information even before Google.
So is the second student overselling Google? Yes -- or at least giving them too much credit for a path originally trailblazed by others -- some of which like Yahoo are still going. (permalink to this item)
Readers of this newsletter are all too aware of the fact that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are all battling it out to maintain positions as major players in search -- along with Ask Jeeves and AOL, of course. This article looks at Microsoft going on the attack and Google responses so far to it. Cites the recent statement from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates about being behind in search, viewing Google as a leader and vowing to catch up. But catching up is hard when you lose key people to Google, such as apparently a Microsoft VP who was working to develop Microsoft's own search engine.
Lots of comments from veterans of battles against Microsoft but who don't necessarily know anything about search. For example, one says that Microsoft might not get away with "integrating" search because of the US Justice Department consent decree. As is often the case, the comment completely ignores the fact that search is already integrated into both Internet Explorer and the Windows operating system and has been for years.
Argh! Please spare us all from one more quote about how the next Windows operating system, codenamed Longhorn, is somehow going to do what exists now. Push the search button right now in Internet Explorer. Hello, you get MSN Search. Enter a word into the Internet Explorer address bar. Hello, MSN Search! Operating system integration? Click Start, then Search in Windows XP. The dialog box that appears asks, "What do you want to search for?" Did you choose, "Search the Internet?" Hello, MSN Search!
This isn't new -- see my last article on such integration from back in 2002, which itself was an update on long-standing integration: Searching & Navigating Via Internet Explorer, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164691
The article discusses Microsoft's attempts to woo away Google employees and reports Google's allegations that Microsoft is trying to partner with companies upset over lost rankings on Google. This part is woefully lacking in detail, which is sorely needed. How does Microsoft know what companies these are? Perhaps by reading through popular search forums? If so, what exactly is Microsoft offering -- guaranteed top rankings? And if so, for what, for free? And that helps the Microsoft business model how?
Much more likely, Microsoft is trying to entice major Google advertisers to make use of its own long-standing paid listing program, which will eventually likely be transformed into a replacement for carrying Overture listings. That doesn't necessarily hurt Google -- after all, people will continue to advertise on Google as long as it commands serious, unduplicated search traffic. Instead, it would much more hurt Yahoo, cutting it out of the share of advertising revenues it currently gets from MSN's use of its Overture business unit.
The popular media seems desperate to pose Microsoft-Google as a repeat of Microsoft-Netscape, as if we are dealing with a software product. Search is not software. Search does have roots in technology, but overall, it's a media product. Currently, it's difficult to lock users into a particular search product, as with a browser, because search does not require a particular software application.
Maybe Microsoft will come up with a product that's so tied to software that it people will get locked in. But operating system and browser integration isn't going to be it. In addition, unlike Netscape, Google isn't dependent on selling software. And unlike with Netscape, there's a third strong player, Yahoo, in all of this. Not to mention AOL and Ask Jeeves!
This isn't Microsoft-Netscape part two. Instead, this is ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX. There's unlikely to be one overall winner, but a particular search network may get a larger share than others depending on the quality of its programming. (permalink to this item)
Understanding exactly what's meant by "title" is important to succeed in different aspects of search engine marketing.
Verizon To Make Pages Even More Super, Slates Directory Overhaul
MediaDailyNews, Feb. 2, 2004
Verizon SuperPages plans a revamp next month, designed to attract new searchers looking for local products and services, as well as advertisers willing to pay on a cost-per-click placement for top listings.
Google Slaps Booble
InternetNews.com, Jan. 30, 2004
Google doesn't take kindly to new adult search engine Booble, saying that its name is confusingly similar to the Google trademark. A visit to the Booble search engine shows a definite resemblance to Google. Is it really a parody of Google, which might land Booble in safe water? A lawyer cited in this article says now. But change the look and feel, and it seems like you'd be on safer ground. I certainly hope we won't see a string of people being sued just because they have oo in the middle of their names and end in le. Meanwhile, Booble's traffic is skyrocketing because of the publicity: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/02/technology/02booble.html
Google CEO: "An IPO is not on my agenda"
Silicon.com, Jan. 29, 2004
Google CEO Eric Schmidt says there's no IPO "on my agenda right now." Rumors are that investment banks are saying to wait in hopes of an even bigger offering in the future.
MSN is running a beta test, a much cleaner look of results than currently implemented. I'll be taking a longer look in a separate article later. Meanwhile, here's some short details from Gary Price. I'll add that paid listings from "Featured Sites" now appear to have moved to the Sponsored area, making a much cleaner presentation that's in line with FTC guidelines on disclosure.
Fugitive Nabbed Because Of Date's Google Search
TheIndyChannel, Jan. 28, 2004
It's the classic man meets woman, woman googles man and discovers arrest warrant leading to apprehension story.
Google to set up in Zurich
swissinfo, Jan. 28, 2004
Google is opening a European research center in Switzerland. Low taxes were a main reason behind the choice.
Google's new social networking site comes back online after being closed for improvements.
Google faces trademark suit over keyword ads
News.com, Jan. 28, 2004
I'll be coming back to this story with my own article, taking a long look at the issues involved. But in short -- this is definitely a case to watch, with Google and several of its partners being sued over ads linked to words that are also trademarks. BusinessWeek also has some good background involving the same companies, but before the countersuit was filed: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2004/tc20040122_0347_tc047.htm
SEO Writing Strategies for Graphic-Oriented Sites
SearchEngineGuide.com, Jan. 27, 2004
Got a textually-challenged web site? Here are some tips on how to make them bit more search engine friendly.
Agencies and SEM: Howdy, Partner
ClickZ, Jan. 27, 2004
Ad agencies want and need good SEM firms to work with. Finding the right partner may be hard work, but it's well worth doing.
Google recently added a new feature letting you look up whois domain registration data via a search. Network Solutions objected to its database being queried, so blocked the Google requests. Now Google has pulled the feature. The Network Solutions claim to trying to protect privacy sounds weak. Anyone who wants this information can easily get it directly from Network Solutions itself, doing a whois lookup there. Yes, there are query limits -- but that's not the same as keeping email addresses and phone numbers from falling into the wrong hands period.
Unnamed people close to Google say it has cleared an audit, a necessary step if the company plans to go public.
Was Google's social networking site Orkut shut down to improve privacy protection? That's the rumor The Register heard.
Google Grants Non-Profits a Break
InternetNews.com, Jan. 27, 2004
Seen a public service ad delivered by Google's AdSense program? Those ads are helping drive traffic to charitable web sites.
BBC buys up 'Hutton inquiry' Google links
MediaGuardian, Jan. 26, 2004
Like others in the UK, I'm required to pay over US $150 per year in order to watch television. OK, so the commercial-free children's programming on CBeebies alone is worth it. Still, perhaps there are better things to do with my money and that of others who pay than for the BBC to advertise its coverage of the Hutton Report on Google. Oddly, no news is mentioned on whether the BBC also bought similar ads on Oveture or Espotting.
Build Brand Equity for Search
ClickZ, Jan. 26, 2004
Brand recognition can make you a more trustworthy choice when people consider what to click on in search results. So if you are a known brand, be sure to flaunt this!
Gigablast makes it easy to see past copies of web pages through direct links to the Wayback Machine.
MSN Toolbar Bops Pop-Ups, Works Search
InternetNews.com, Jan. 26, 2004
MSN makes a new search toolbar available, offering direct access to its search engine and search term highlighting.
Yahoo Calls It Quits in Denmark
TheStreet.com, Jan. 26, 2004
Yahoo is closing down operations in Scandinavia. Seems more than 70 percent of people in that region use Yahoo.com rather than local Yahoos anyway.
SEM Best Practices for Ad Agencies
ClickZ, Jan. 23, 2004
Tips for ad agencies that seek to do better with search engine marketing.
Profile of B2B paid search and contextual ad provider IndustryBrains.
Finally, you can perform a site: search on Google without having to add any additional words. Finally! Now if Google would provide accurate match counts and stop deliberately supressing some of the links it knows about when a link: search is performed.
LookSmart CEO Out
InternetNews.com, Jan. 21, 2004
LookSmart's looking for a new CEO. LookSmart Australia's CEO has taken over temporarily. He's got some free time on his hands, since LookSmart Australia is being sold to a local yellow pages firm there: http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8452263%5E15306,00.html
Google contextual ads will be showing up on European shopping search site Kelkoo. Not mentioned is the fact that the company already has a similar deal with major Kelkoo competitor DealTime UK.
Ever wish you could help Google understand that a particular word in your query is more important than another? Here's a handy form to let you do that. You can also see the results to learn how to do this yourself -- in short, repeat the word you want to prioritize.
A Couple of Comments About Google
(10 Things Google Needs To Fix)
Pandia, January 2004
Search expert Gary Price summarizes a variety of what might seem like little things that when added up reduce you confidence in Google. Fixing many of these things should be a priority.
Searching Google more efficiently
Pandia, January 2004
I've been meaning to mention Nancy Blachman's recent book on searching with Google, "How To Do Everything With Google," along with its associated web site. Fortunately, Panida's done a great job describing both!
Special thanks to:
+ Search Engine Guide, http://searchengineguide.com
+ About.com Web Search Guide, http://websearch.about.com
+ Search Engine Lowdown, http://searchenginelowdown.com
+ ResourceShelf.com, http://www.resourceshelf.com
+ John Battelle's Searchblog, http://battellemedia.com/
and reader submissions for some of the items listed above.
Search Engine Resources
Billed as an ad free, non-commercial directory of web sites designed for child-safe searching.
Here's one for all your Rebol programmers out there! This search engine spiders only pages containing the word "rebol".
Meta search against AltaVista, AllTheWeb and Inktomi, with the ability to create an "exclusion list" to block pages from particular web sites being included. For example, want to meta search only against .org sites? You can do it here. First URL is English version; second in French.
A travel deals search engine, collecting items from over 3,000 travel agency web sites and major travel suppliers.
Human-compiled directory of web sites.
Rich Skrenta was one of the founders of a little thing you may have heard of, the Open Directory Project. Now he's part of this new news search engine. I haven't yet explored it fully, but it's well worth a look. It's especially designed to deliver local news.
About The Search Engine Update
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Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!