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The Search Engine Update, May 6, 2002, Number 124

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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

+ Search Engine Strategies Comes To Sydney
+ Call For Speakers: Australia
+ The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization
+ The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion
+ Issues With The LookSmart Cost-Per-Click Transition
+ Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change
+ Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL
+ Overture Wins Yahoo, What Will Happen With Google?
+
Google Launches Answers Service, API Program
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

Please note: due to the length of stories in this issue, most are online-only versions. A link to each article is listed in the newsletter, under the story's summary.

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Hello Everyone--

At the end of last year, I spoke to a group of librarians and professional researchers about developments in the world of web search. Before I began, I asked the audience what they thought the biggest challenge to web search was. Answers such as the need for better coverage of the web, relevancy quality, tools to find similar words and other technical features were suggested. No one came up with what I thought the biggest challenge was: making money.

Last year was a year of survival for many of our search engines. The year 2001 began with the closure of Go.com, the former Infoseek, then later NBCi and Excite stopped independent cataloging of the web. The remaining search engines looked as to how they were going to stay alive, and paid placement and paid inclusion programs became standard offerings across the industry.

This month's issue of the newsletter deals with money. It wasn't a planned theme, but major changes at LookSmart, plus the battle between Overture and Google for the hands of Yahoo and AOL, have all revolved around money.

How search engines will make money continues to have a deep impact on the results searchers see and the ability for webmasters to be found. I hope this issue better explains some of the significant changes that have just happened and makes you better prepared for more changes that are inevitable in the future.

Also, a personal note. I absolutely love to get feedback from readers and diligently read all my email for tips, ideas for future coverage and comments about articles within Search Engine Watch. I also try to respond to as much email as I can.

Now my plea. If you have comments, suggestions or tips, please do not send them to me between May 11 and May 27. I'm taking my first real computer-less vacation for three years during that time, to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. If the computer goes along, my wife assures me there won't be an 11th anniversary.

I get on the order of 300 emails per day, a healthy chunk of that unfortunately spam from people who think I want to enlarge portions of my body, get HGH, (whatever that one is about), purchase Viagra, get a cable decoder and a host of other things, some of which are presented in Asian languages that I can't even read. I live in fear of what my email box will look like went I get back from my vacation.

I don't want to miss your important email, so either send it before the 11th or hang on and send it on the 28th. And if it's an urgent story, you can address it to associate editor Chris Sherman. Contact forms for both of us can be found below.

Search Engine Watch Contact Form
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/contact.html

Want to send direct to Chris or me? Use the links with our names in them. However, do look at the other options. They may get you an answer to specific questions more quickly.

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Search Engine Strategies Comes To Sydney

It's onward and downward for the Search Engine Strategies conference, downward Down Under, that is. The conference comes to Sydney on June 11 & 12!

As always, Search Engine Strategies features sessions involving both search engine marketing experts and speakers from major search engines themselves. Services confirmed to speak so far include AltaVista, LookSmart and Yahoo.

Sessions at the conference are designed to bring beginners up to speed and provide advanced marketers with tips, news and advice that they also can put to use. The Sydney show will also feature special sessions oriented toward search engine marketing in Australia and New Zealand.

Dates for other upcoming SES shows: Aug. 12 & 13, in San Jose, California, and a third day, Aug. 14, is likely to be added, with a particular focus on enterprise search. Oct. 17 & 18: Munich. Dec. 11 & 12: Dallas.

Links to sites for all the shows can be found via the main Search Engine Strategies site below except Munich, which will be posted soon. The Sydney agenda is available, and the San Jose agenda should be ready in about two weeks. For the other shows, you can sign-up to be informed when the programs are ready.

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com

There's also going to be a special "Search Engine Strategies Forum" in Singapore on June 17. This is a half day event that begins with an overview on search engine marketing from me, followed by a forum session with panelists from major search engines. More about the forum can be found below:

Search Engine Strategies Forum: Asia 2002
http://www.intmediaevents.com/sew/asia02/

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Call For Speakers: Australia

Once again, I'm looking for speakers to round out our Search Engine Strategies show to be held in Australia. If you are interested, see the URL below for more information.

SES Call For Speakers
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/speakers.html

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The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization

Most search engines come nowhere near monetizing all the links displayed on their search results pages. However, the quest for greater profits is likely to change this, especially if the search engines think it can be done without hurting the relevancy of their product. LookSmart's switch to cost-per-click pricing for small business listings is the first real test of maximizing monetization this way. Unfortunately, the change and others over the past year have created consumer concerns. Either the search engines need to address those concerns in a clear, single voice, or it is likely that standards will be imposed on them by some governmental agency. The full article exploring these issues can be found below:

The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/05-money.html

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The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion

Companion piece to the above article. Pages pitching webmasters on the advantages of paid inclusion end up hurting search engines that run these programs, because they imply that the search engines have out-of-date, incomplete listings of the web. A look at the mixed messages that are being sent out by the web's major crawlers.

The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/05-inclusion.html

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Issues With The LookSmart Cost-Per-Click Transition

It's been almost a month since LookSmart switched commercial "small business" listings to a cost-per-click payment model. How is the transition going? According to LookSmart, wonderfully. According to forum posts, letters and people I've spoken with, it's a nightmare. The article below takes a look at some of the issues that have cropped up and explores the wide difference of opinion.

Issues With The LookSmart Cost-Per-Click Transition
The Search Engine Update, May 6, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/05-looksmart.html

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Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change

Companion piece to the above article. A sampling of letters received by Search Engine Watch relating to the change by LookSmart to cost-per-click pricing.

Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/05-letters.html

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Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL

Google has been selected by AOL to provide editorial search results and paid listings to AOL's various search properties in the United States, including AOL Search, Netscape Search and CompuServe Search. The deal ousts Overture, which has provided AOL with paid listings since October 2000. Inktomi also loses out in the deal. The company has provided editorial results to AOL Search since July 1999, but these are now to be phrased by this summer. The article below provides full details on the change. Please note that if you read an earlier version of this article, a significant change is that Netscape confirms in the near future, Google will shift to delivering the Netscape Search's primary results.

Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL
SearchEngineWatch.com, May 1, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/05-aol.html

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Overture Wins Yahoo, What Will Happen With Google?

Overture had a major win last month by extending its initial five-month deal to provide paid listings to Yahoo to an additional three years. In addition, Overture being named Yahoo's exclusive paid listings provider may impact whether Google will get to renew its editorial partnership with Yahoo that expires next month. The article below provides full details on the change.

Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL
The Search Engine Update, May 6, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/05-yahoo.html

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Google Launches Answers Service, API Program

Google introduced two new interesting features last month. The first, Google Answers, is a beta program that allows users to get personal answers from a professional researcher, in exchange for a fee. The second allows programmers to use the new Google Web APIs (application programming interfaces) to create, well, anything they can think of to interact with Google.

Google Answers
http://answers.google.com

Google Web APIs
http://www.google.com/apis/

Programmers, get more details of the Google APIs from here.

Google's Newest Technology: People Answering your Questions
SearchDay, April 22, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0422-google-ans.html

Review by Search Engine Watch associate editor of the new Google Answers service.

New Google Answers Service Raises a Few Questions of Its Own
Information Today, April 24, 2002
http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb020422-3.htm

Could the new Google Answers service replace expert librarians, researchers and reference desks? Various experts in the industry offer thoughts, but the consensus seems to be that they aren't scared of being wiped out.

Google gives some advice...for a price
News.com, April 19, 2002
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-887360.html

Can Google succeed with an answer service when others have had failures? A review of what others have tried, and a note that Google is not depending on the new program to make or break its business.

Google's Need for Speed
Business 2.0, April 22, 2002
http://www.business2.com/articles/web/0,1653,39878,FF.html

A look at what business reasons Google might have for allowing programmers to interact with its service.

Developers dig in to Google's toolbox
News.com, April 17, 2002
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-884546.html

Another review of Google's API program and how it is or may be used.

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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:

Keeping Current with the World of Search Engines
SearchDay, May 2, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0502-sereading1.html

Ironically, many people feel that staying current with the world of search is a major source of information overload. It needn't be, if you rely on this baker's dozen list of excellent newsletters and weblogs.

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Inside the Google Search Appliance
SearchDay, April 30, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0430-googleapp.html

Want Google search on your own internal network? Try the Google Appliance, a self-contained version of the popular search engine that's stuffed into a pizza-sized box.

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Map This!
SearchDay, April 29, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0429-maps.html

The Maptech MapServer contains over 60,000 topographic maps, nautical charts, aeronautical charts, and aerial and satellite photographs covering the United States.

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Ask the Search Engine: Coping with Fraudulent Pay-Per-Click Traffic
SearchDay, Apr. 18, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0418-ppc-fraud.html

Pay per click search engines can bring lucrative, targeted traffic to your site, but how do they avoid abuse that can needlessly drive up your costs? Mamma.com's Patrick Hopf describes strategies and tactics to combat PPC fraud.

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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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Quepasa to become Spanish search engine
Arizona Republic, April 26, 2002
http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0426Quepasa26.html

While Quepasa is to be relaunched as a Spanish-language search engine, it sounds more like it is about to become a Spanish-language Overture, a paid placement service.

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CIA Taps Inktomi For Government Work
SiliconValley.internet.com, April 24, 2002
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,,3531_1015521,00.html

The CIA is looking to Inktomi's enterprise search solution as a way to find documents in multiple languages.

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New Search Online Metasearch Site is Loaded With Features
About.com Web Search Guide, April 23, 2002
http://websearch.about.com/library/searchtips/bltotd020423.htm

Review of new meta search site Search Online.

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AltaVista, Google Remove Controversial Links
IDG, April 18, 2002
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,94843,00.asp

Threatened with a lawsuit from the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, AltaVista and Google said they would remove links to a web site explaining how to sabotage railway systems. A resolution with Yahoo is apparently still pending.

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Search engines bolster gov't security
Reuters, April 17, 2002
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-885056.html

In its war on terror, the US government may look harder at enterprise search solutions to help it locate information.

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Search the Web via IM
InstantMessaging Planet, April 17, 2002
http://www.instantmessagingplanet.com/public/article/0,,10817_1012411,00.html

Describes Googlematic, which lets you ask Google to send the top five results to a search from with AOL's AIM client or from MSN Messenger.

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The Seventh Search Engine Conference
Infonortics, April 15-16, 2002
http://www.infonortics.com/searchengines/sh02/02prog.html

You'll find links here to presentations from speakers at this regular conference about search engines. The emphasis is more on enterprise search than web-wide search.

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The Search Is On
ComputerWorld, April 15, 2002
http://www.computerworld.com/itresources/rcstory/0,4167,STO70041_KEY241,00.html

Looks at four different research projects and products aimed at improving data mining.

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Search Engine Freshness
SearchEngineShowdown.com, April 4, 2002
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/stats/freshness.shtml

Which is the freshest search engine? Google, with a range of between 1 day to 68 days old. Which is most out-of-date? WiseNut, with a range of 247 to 286 days old. Based on 12 sample searches and conducted by respected search engine commentator Greg Notess.

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