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Search History: Excite & Bluffing For Netscape Net Search

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There was a time when I used to track who had what position on the Netscape Net Search page. If a service was there, it was a sure sign that you wanted to be listed with it. That's because so many people used Netscape that its Net Search page -- and the search engines listed on it -- got a ton of traffic. To quote from one of my charts back in 1996:

The Netscape Factor: Netscape Navigator is the most popular browser software on the market. An estimated 75% to 85% of net surfers use it. Netscape has two "buttons" that users can push to search for web sites, a "Net Search" and a "Net Directory" button. Each button makes a page within the Netscape web site appear. On the page, users can directly enter a query to a select group of search engines or directories. Thousands of people push these buttons daily, making the search engines and directories on the related pages extremely important.

Joe Kraus, one of the founders of Excite and Netscape Net Search alumnus, has a great post on how Excite bluffed its way onto that page: Persistence Pays, Part 2. With less than $1 million in the bank, Excite bid $3 million for entry and won -- but only after a stumble. Great reading.

If you want to track who was on that page over the years when it was important, it's all archived for our Search Engine Watch members here: Past Search Providers & Search Results Charts. As for who is important now, I rely more on looking at traffic figures from various rating services. You'll find stats on that over in our Ratings, Reviews & Tests section. As for the page itself, the positioning of multiple search engines died in 1999, when Netscape shifted over to using Google results: Netscape Search Gets Rebuilt.


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