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The Search Engine Report - Number 78

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ Search Engine Strategies Coming To London, San Jose
+ Yahoo's Search Engine Continues Evolving
+ Google Buys Applied Semantics
+ Harvard Criticizes Google's Adult Content Filter
+ Inktomi, Google Win In Recent Relevancy Test
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ About The Search Engine Report
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Search Engine Watch News
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Hello Everyone--

As many of you have probably seen, Search Engine Watch underwent its first ever major redesign last month. Since then, I've been busy finishing up some of the work involved in transitioning the web site. It was a major move. We've well over 1,000 pages of content, and the new design will eventually help us expose more of this to readers.

We've put in a huge number of redirects, so that you should be able to get to all your favorite bookmarked pages just as before, plus clicking from article to article shouldn't bring up 404 page not found errors. However, I'm using "shouldn't" loosely, for the moment. Despite our best efforts, there are the inevitable glitches. That's part of the clean-up work I mentioned!

If you come across a funny-looking page or can't find what you are looking for, please do feel free to send me feedback -- a link to our feedback form will come up if you get a page not found message, or you can go directly to the feedback form at http://www.searchenginewatch.com/about/article.php/2155671.

Thank you all for hanging in there through this transition period. It will be a good thing for Chris Sherman and I in the long-term, because the new content management system means we'll be able to spend more time writing content, rather than managing it! I also promise not to redesign for another seven years :)

While I've been corrected redesign problems, I'm also doing content updates along the way. Aside from little changes, the Who Powers Whom? Search Providers Chart has been updated to reflect new ownership of AllTheWeb and AltaVista by Overture, new ownership of Inktomi by Yahoo and to show new contract expiration dates for Overture providing main editorial and paid listings to Lycos. Similarly, the Major Search Engines page has had ownership updates, as well. Both pages can be reached from here:

What's New In Search Engine Watch's Departments
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/article.php/2148821

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Search Engine Strategies Coming To London, San Jose

Next stop for Search Engine Strategies will be London, on June 3-4. An agenda for our popular show about search engine marketing has now been posted. You can find more details or sign-up for the event via the URL below.

Search Engine Strategies London
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/london03/

Dates for our next US show have also been announced, including our first-ever four day event, August 18-21, in San Jose, California. More details and information will be posted on the conference web site in the near future for this and for our planned Munich and Chicago shows. In the meantime, you can visit and leave your email address, to be notified when details have been posted, via the URL below.

Search Engine Strategies
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/

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Yahoo's Search Engine Continues Evolving

Just seven months after Yahoo made a major change to its search engine, the New Yahoo Search has now been unveiled. What's different? Quite a bit, but the useful new additions don't detract from the previous changes. A close look at the changes can be found below.

Yahoo's Search Engine Continues Evolving
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2201931

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/03/article.php/2201901

What's A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/benefits/article.php?source=ser5

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Google Buys Applied Semantics

Google has acquired Applied Semantics, a move that gives the company new traffic for its paid listings, new strengths in the contextual advertising space, and also potentially hurts major competitor Overture. Below is my article on the topic, originally written for SearchDay. Search Engine Watch members should follow through from the blue box to the members edition of this article.

Google Buys Applied Semantics
SearchDay, April 23, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2196001

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Harvard Criticizes Google's Adult Content Filter

Google's SafeSearch porn filter was found to exclude non-porn sites such as the American Library Association, in a recent test conducted by the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Below is my article on the topic, originally written for SearchDay.

Harvard Criticizes Google's Adult Content Filter
SearchDay, April 16, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2191611

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Inktomi & Google Win In Recent Relevancy Test

In December, I called for search engines to get beyond the hype of who is biggest or freshest and develop a commonly-accepted means of measuring actual relevancy. Now, the first such third-part test like this in ages has been done. VeriTest was commissioned by Inktomi to conduct the test. It found that in raw scoring, Inktomi came out tops -- but just barely. Inktomi earned 1630 points, with Google just behind at 1597. That's so close that I'd essentially consider the services tied. Below is my article on the topic, originally written for SearchDay.

Inktomi, Google Win In Recent Relevancy Test
SearchDay, April 17, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2192401

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SearchDay Articles
=========================

Here are some recent articles that may be of interest, from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:

Optimizing Flash for Search Engines
SearchDay, May 6, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2200921

Macromedia Flash and other non-HTML formats can pose problems for search engines, unless you take appropriate steps to optimize the content. Search Engine Watch members should follow through from the blue box to the members edition of this article.

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How Search Engines Make Sense of the Web
SearchDay, May 5, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2200541

Search engines are essentially massive full-text indexes of web pages. The quality of the indexes, and how the engines use the information they contain, is what makes -- or breaks -- the quality of search results.

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Search Engine Milestones for April 2003
SearchDay, May 1, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2199451

The month in review: abstracts from selected press releases and announcements made during the prior month related to web search and search engine marketing.

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Ten Tips to the Top of Google
SearchDay, April 30, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2198931

Having a Web site that gets found in Google isn't hard to do, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are ten tips to get you started.

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ComScore Launches Search Engine Tracking System
SearchDay, April 29, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2197801

comScore Networks, known for its Media Metrix web traffic reports, has launched a new service to track and report on searchers' actual unique queries across 25 major search engines and portals. Search Engine Watch members should follow through from the blue box to the members edition of this article.

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Is Google's ASI Deal a Threat to Overture?
SearchDay, April 27, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2197251

Google's announcement last week that it was buying Applied Semantics (ASI) sent shockwaves through the financial community, causing internet analysts from Credit Suisse First Boston, Smith Barney and USB Piper Jaffray to lower their ratings on Overture.

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Search Engine Marketing Goes Mainstream
SearchDay, April 23, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2195251

There was plenty of evidence at Search Engine Strategies 2003 that search engine marketing has gone mainstream. Even the issues addressed by both keynote speakers reflected the classic 'separation of church and state' concerns that mainstream media have been discussing for almost 100 years.

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Questions and Answers About Changes To SearchDay
SearchDay, April 22, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2194601

Both SearchDay and Search Engine Watch have been revamped recently. Here are some of the common questions you've asked, with answers and a glimpse of where we're headed in the future.

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Ask Jeeves Serves Up New Features
SearchDay, April 21, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2194051

Ask Jeeves introduced several new features today, including a streamlined interface, image search, and what the company is calling 'smart search' tools and features.

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Link Popularity and the Myth of the Guestbook Link
SearchDay, April 15, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2190651

Link popularity is crucial for your pages to rank well in search engines, but the value of guestbook links is questionable, at best, and potentially lethal, at worst.

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Searching Images of Popular Culture
SearchDay, April 14, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2189791

Want a look at a Time Magazine cover from 1923? How about album covers for Blue Note records, or Chateau Mouton Rothschild Wine Labels? A searchable image database lets you view all of these, and more.

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Data Mining the Lycos 50
SearchDay, April 10, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2183861

Dig deep within the Lycos 50 list of most popular search terms and you'll find a wealth of fascinating information that not only reveals trends but serves as a goldmine for search engine optimization efforts. Search Engine Watch members should follow through from the blue box to the members edition of this article.

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Monitoring Web Pages 24 Hours a Day
SearchDay, April 09, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2178631

If you regularly visit web pages looking for new or updated information, you'll save countless hours by automating the process with software that tracks changes for you -- even while you sleep.

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SearchDay - Happy Birthday, Ask Jeeves!
SearchDay, April 08, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2177081

Ask Jeeves, an online question answering service that has gradually morphed into a search engine, officially launched its site six years ago.

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SearchDay - Yahoo Moves to Revitalize Search
SearchDay, April 07, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2177051

Yahoo today rolled out changes designed to speed up and enhance the search experience, marking its most significant departure yet from its traditional roots as a web directory

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Help LookSmart Crawl the Web
SearchDay, Apr. 3, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2177021

LookSmart is taking a new approach to discovering web content, offering a free downloadable screensaver program that also crawls the web when your computer is idle. Search Engine Watch members should follow through from the blue box to the members edition of this article.

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Want to receive SearchDay? Sign-up for the free daily newsletter from Search Engine Watch via the link below:

SearchDay
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/

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Search Engine Articles
=========================

Domain Name Ownership Research Tools
Online, May/June 2003
http://www.infotoday.com/online/may03/goldstein.shtml

So many domains these days -- how do you find who owns them? An extensive guide to domain name research tools.

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Google: An engine of change
San Jose Mercury News, May 5, 2003
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/5789385.htm

You've read this type of story before. Everyone uses Google! But is the company too dominant? Are there privacy issues when anyone can be Googled? Should they be regulated. As always, a lot of these issues are more broadly applicable to the entire search engine industry, not just Google.

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Inside the Soul of the Web
Wired, May 2003
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.05/google.html

Another story you've likely seen before, but here it is again -- watching live queries happening on Google, as displayed on a wall in its reception area.

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And You Thought the Web Ad Market Was Dead
BusinessWeek, May 5, 2003
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_18/b3831134_mz034.htm

The battle for paid listings in Europe is heating up. Actually, it was already heating up over a year ago (see Europe's Paid Placement Warriors, http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164541). However, Overture's now fighting hard to push back against the early lead Espotting gained in 2001.

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Google's Schmidt Takes On Moore's Law
AlwaysOn, May 2, 2003
http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=333_0_2_0_C

This is the fourth of a series of interviews with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the least Google specific. But links to the other parts can be found from this. Part 1 covers the purchase of Pyra Labs and suggests Google wanted the technology team more than the Blogger.com business. But Schmidt is big on the concept of blogging as the next big wave of communication on the internet, following on web page building and email. Part 2 touches on Google and search privacy issues generally, while Part 3 covers revenue.

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Search Research Comes of Age
ClickZ, May 2, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2200211

Covers new search popularity figures released in April by comScore as well as data-mining that comScore is promising that can be applied for search engine marketing efforts. Also covers other major metrics providers, such as Nielsen//NetRatings, Alexa and StatMarket. FYI, the Search Engine Ratings page (http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/) at Search Engine Watch will lead you to ongoing search figures from NetRatings, a summary of StatMarket releases and in the near future, ongoing figures from comScore.

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FindWhat.com Expects $10M Profit in 2003
InternetNews.com, May 1, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2199881

FindWhat expects to make a $10 million profit this year. Google's purchase of Applied Semantics -- one of FindWhat's top five partners -- will hurt the company, but it expects to do better in its deal in providing technology for internal paid listings program that Terra Lycos operates.

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Yahoo's overtures to Overture
News.com, May 1, 2003
http://news.com.com/2009-1088-984352.html

Scroll down to the second item, a revival of the rumor that Yahoo wants to purchase Overture. No hard facts, just more speculation.

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The Grammar of Sound
Technology Review, April 30, 2003
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/wo_harney043003.asp

Need to search through audio recordings to find particular keyword references? New technology from Fast-Talk Communications aims to make this much easier. Of course, SpeechBot (http://speechbot.research.compaq.com/), has allowed you to do this for ages for selected news content. The service either lets you search against written transcripts to match portions of audio recordings or has used speech recognition to create transcripts where none are available. However, FAST-Talk skips the transcription step used by SpeechBot and other audio-indexing companies. Instead, it makes a sound -- rather than word -- transcription of a document. This is supposed speed the indexing process.

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More Meaningless Metrics?
Traffick, April 30, 2003
http://www.traffick.com/blog/archive/2003_04_27_archive.asp#200222995

Andrew Goodman takes a skeptical view of new search popularity figures from comScore.

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China's Internet Cos Are Creating Alternatives to Google
Dow Jones, April 30, 2003
http://www.slb.com/ba.cfm?baid=3&storyid=599241

Let me see if I understand right. Google may face "fierce competition" when it decides to enter the Chinese market, according to one of the new home-grown firms that has sprung up recently to provide search services to that country. This is the same Google that the Chinese government banned, only to back off partially after popular outcry? Methinks Google's already got a loyal following in China, despite the fact that in Chinese, apparently its name sounds like "dog dog."

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Corporations seek better search results
News.com, April 28, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1032-998409.html

Analyzing search requests on corporate web sites -- corporate search analytics -- can be an important way to understand customers. But will companies really move toward doing this better, when they already tend to do poorly just providing a corporate search facility at all? New analytical tools that are coming up may help.

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Google AdWords: Best Practices
ClickZ, April 25, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2196411

Expect Google's ad programs to undergo changes over the coming year, says buyer Kevin Lee. In the meantime, consider ways to make the existing system work better for you.

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Overture Gets Squeezed
InternetNews.com, April 24, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2196481

A lowered earnings forecast and Google's acquisition of a former important Overture partner caused several Wall Street analysts to downgrade their recommendations of Overture.

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Ask Jeeves Sees Growing Profits
InternetNews.com, April 23, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2195711

Ask Jeeves exceeds its first quarter revenue forecasts and makes a $7.7 million profit. The company expects to earn total revenues of $102 million over the course of the year.

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Overture Makes Official S. Korea Debut
InternetNews.com, April 22, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2194971

Overture opens its doors to South Korean advertisers, who will find their links distributed on MSN Korea and through other partnerships.

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Overture Closes FAST Deal
InternetNews.com, April 22, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2194901

It's official -- Overture now owns the AllTheWeb search engine, formerly operated by FAST.

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Tips and tricks for Google geeks
International Herald Tribune, April 21, 2003
http://www.iht.com/articles/93851.html

Review of ResearchBuzz's Tara Calishain's book Google Hacks (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/googlehks/), which isn't about traditional hacking such as breaking into Google but rather how to make use of the Google API in a variety of nifty ways. My copy arrived just before a newsletter deadline, so I haven't had a chance to give it more than a flip-through. However, a portion is full of the wonderful searching tips that you'd expect from Tara, while another chapter focuses on the "get listed" information web marketers want, written by WebmasterWorld.com's Brett Tabke.

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Upgraded Ask.com Seeks Everyday Searchers
InternetNews.com, April 21, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2194271

I love this. For years, I encountered people who mistakenly thought Ask Jeeves was the only search engine that would accept a "natural language" search, such as, "What's the capital of California." In reality, all major search engines could handle this and still can. Ask Jeeves was simply the only one to encourage you to search this way. In the article above about Ask Jeeves redesigning, the search engine now ironically pleas that yes, you can do "keyword searching" as well as natural language searching. The impression is that keyword searching -- such as "california capital" -- is somehow more serious than natural language searching. In other words, Ask Jeeves wants you to know that its Teoma-powered results can handle research you might think could only happen at Google.

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Yahoo Wages Losing Battle In Web Search Market
The Korea Times, April 18, 2003
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/tech/200304/kt2003041817381711820.htm

The NHN portal is the most popular search tool in South Korea, followed by Yahoo and then Daum Communications, according to a recent survey.

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Microsoft Research seeks better search
News.com, April 17, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1012-997350.html

A look at how Microsoft wants to ease the ability to search for information, primarily via desktop applications.

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Missing Backlinks in Google
SearchEngineGuide.com, April 17, 2003
http://www.searchengineguide.com/whalen/2003/0417_jw1.html

Google not showing the pages that link to you, even though you know you have some? Jill Whalen correctly explains that for a well established site, this could indicate that you've been banned by Google. A look at things to check on and avoid. (For those in the Atlanta area, Jill's half-day SEM seminar, http://www.highrankings.com/may03-seo-seminar.htm, is coming there later this month).

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FindWhat Raises Bid Price
InternetNews.com, April 17, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2192631

Come September 1, FindWhat is increasing its minimum bid price to $0.05.

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Google tactics invade city's mayoral race
The Globe And Mail, April 17, 2003
http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/ArticleNews/gtnews/TGAM/20030417/UGOOGIE

It's not that long until the 2004 US presidential election, and perhaps the Toronto mayoral race is a harbinger of what to expect in terms of political paid listings. Candidates are buying ads linked to their opponents' names.

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Who is Sarah Williams of TrafficMagnet?
Traffick, April 16, 2003
http://www.traffick.com/article.asp?aID=140

Just like everyone else, I receive spam emails pitching search engine services. I've especially enjoyed the multiple ones that have come recently a Mr. Kronis offering advice on "how to optimize and prepare http://www.searchenginewatch.com specifically for better results with Google." He's clearly visited Search Engine Watch and understood what the site is about - not! Then there's the generic email that came in today, asking for a link swap and informing me, "An added benefit is increased search engine traffic because the search engines rank sites higher that have a good number of relevant links." Really? I did not know that :) In this article above, Ed Kohler provides a welcome dissection of a pitch he's received. And if you were hoping to perhaps ask Sarah out on a date, she apparently doesn't exist :)

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China Web alliance takes on Google
South China Morning Post, April 16, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1032-997112.html

I've probably read five different versions of the "Chinese search engine" alliance story and still have yet to fully understand what exactly is going on. This story is the best I've seen so far, but it's far from clear. As best I can tell, the China Search search engine (http://www.chinasearch.com.cn) was started last September and is backed by the Chinese government. Now a variety of Chinese portal sites, including the popular Sina.com portal, seem to have agreed to use this government-approved search engine. And users in China are expected to use the search engine since they can't rely on accessing services like Google and AltaVista -- which have been blocked in the past by the Chinese authorities.

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Everything You Wanted to Know about Black Holes
Traffick, April 14, 2003
http://www.traffick.com/blog/archive/2003_04_13_archive.asp#200148241

Might Google's contextual ads attract fewer clicks than search targeted ones? Might they ever, says Andrew Goodman, after looking at some long-standing ad groups of a friend.

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Overture Fleshes Out International Plans
InternetNews.com, April 14, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2190041

Overture plans to launch in seven new regions this year. South Korea has happened, Italy follows by the middle of this year, then launches to follow in Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Also notes new estimate that the paid search market should generate $2.1 billion this year, rising to $7 billion by 2007, according to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

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In Searching the Web, Google Finds Riches
New York Times, April 13, 2003
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/13/technology/13GOOG.html

Reports from insiders say Google's revenue will rise from $300 million in 2002 to $750 million or more this year. The company now has 800 people employed. The story suggests that Microsoft might try to challenge Google by adding search capabilities to the Windows operating system. Microsoft effectively did that years ago, making its own search engine the default choice within Internet Explorer. That has helped make MSN Search one of the most popular search engines on the web -- but Google has thrived, in spite of it. Story recaps more of the growth of Google and competition in the market, all likely a familiar story already to readers of this newsletter.

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Overture joins scumware company
Pandia, April 11, 2003
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2003/12-scumware.html

Some are upset that Overture has partnered with Gator, software that some consider to be scumware. See more about the partnership in a further article, below.

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Ready for Its Future?
ClickZ, April 11, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2184121

As Yahoo continues to evolve its search, it may make sense to explore the many ways to be found at the service. Kevin Lee outlines some broad strategies as well as specifics.

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Yahoo sits on $2 billion hoard
News.com, April 10, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1030-996446.html

Despite Yahoo recently acquiring Inktomi, the company has plenty of cash still on hand in case it wants to go shopping for more.

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Analytics boost Discovery.coms search engine traffic by 300%, sales by 35%
InternetRetailer.com, April 10, 2003
http://www.internetretailer.com/dailynews.asp?id=9043

I've said it many, many times. Small, simple changes to make your site more friendly to search engines can sometimes have a big impact on traffic. Discovery.com saw a 300 percent in traffic from Google. Did they buy links from sites with a high PR value? No. Did they get involved with a sophisticated link swapping service? No. Were customized doorway pages and cloaking involved? No. All the site apparently did was change the home page from being served dynamically into a more search engine friendly HTML design.

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Yahoo Revises Estimates Upward, Reports Profit
InternetNews.com, April 9, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2179641

Yahoo reports a first quarter profit of nearly $50 million and predicts yearly revenue will be up to $1.3 billion. Paid listings have been a key factor in the growth.

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Styling Your Copy for Search Engines AND Visitors
SearchEngineGuide.com, April 8, 2003
http://www.searchengineguide.com/buresh/2003/0408_sb1.html

Want to be found for "widget manufacturing?" Then it helps to use those words naturally in your copy. A short illustration on how to do just that.

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Online Marketing Idol
eMarketer, April 8, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002163

Q&A with search engine marketer and ClickZ columnist Kevin Lee on changes and developments in the search engine space.

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Survey Results on Google's New 'Content Targeted' Ads: Low Clicks, Iffy Conversions
ContentBiz.com, April 7, 2003
http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2314

MarketingSherpa surveyed its readers about Google's new contextual links and found general agreement that clickrates from these links are much lower than when they are search-targeted. But as the article points out, this is pretty much a non-issue. It would be nice if the ads got more clicks, but any click gains at all is traffic you didn't have before. The real question is whether those content-targeted clicks convert as well as search-targeted ads. Those surveyed didn't have enough information to say, so the article turned to two tracking firms for advice. ClickTracks reported for its own advertising, conversion seemed lower. Did-It found the quality to be good in some cases but advised anyone to closely monitor conversion metrics. Conclusions? Stick with the contextual ads program to build brand or if you find the conversion rate is good enough. More advice is also offered -- be sure to read this good article.

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Search Engine Friendly URLs with mod_rewrite
DevArticles, April 7, 2003
http://www.devarticles.com/art/1/506

How to make dynamic URLs search engine friendly using the Apache web server's mod_rewrite command.

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A Beacon of Hope for MSN
BusinessWeek, April 7, 2003
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_14/b3827129_mz034.htm

MSN is gaining audience and making money in Europe

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Overture signs deal with Gator
News.com, April 4, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1024-995616.html

Overture has made it official and signed a three year deal to distribute its paid listings through Gator's new SearchScout program. Those who run Gator, an application that stores passwords and form data, will be shown SearchScout results via pop-under windows when they do searches at other search engines, such as Google. Gator's system of delivering contextual ads has upset some site publishers in the past, while some users consider the software to be "scumware," claiming it gets installed unknowingly -- something Gator itself strongly denies. The main issue for Overture advertisers, however, is really one of conversion. Will the ads convert as well as those that are search-targeted? Gator and Overture say yes. It may be so, but it would be nice to see Overture offer an opt-out to advertisers who don't want contextual placement via Gator or other distribution partners, in the way that Google provides.

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Search and the Buying Cycle
ClickZ, April 4, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2175501

Just because your visitors aren't ready to buy today doesn't mean they are worthless. Understanding that they need to move through the buying cycle may help you better reach them for when they are ready to purchase.

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Overture Jumps as Yahoo Grabs Cash
The Street, April 4, 2003
http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/tech/georgemannes/10078443.html

Is Yahoo assembling cash to buy Overture? No one is saying, but cash-rich Overture certainly doesn't need to be "rescued" with a buyout, write George Mannes.

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Google Inks Amazon to Comprehensive Search Deal
InternetNews.com, April 3, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2174691

Google's giving Amazon both web search capabilities and Google's contextual links

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Call for OFT inquiry into search listing price rise
New Media Age, April 3, 2003
http://www.newmediazero.com/nma/story.asp?id=241089

Overture UK upped its minimum bid in February, then fierce rival Espotting did the same. Bring in the regulatory Office Of Fair Trading, says one advertiser of Overture (and probably Espotting, but the story doesn't say). Sorry, says the OFT so far, we don't see a problem.

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Microsoft Covets Google's Niche
Reuters, April 2, 2003
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58323,00.html

I couldn't help but be amazed at the fallout from the "news" that Microsoft considers Google a competitor. The company has been saying this for nearly a year now. The latest frenzy got sparked by a report that Microsoft is upping its investment in search. Sure -- but no one should think for a moment that Microsoft has been neglecting search prior to this. The MSN team diligently rolls out regular, incremental improvements to their search engine. They are very Microsoft in this way, making each release slightly better, in the way that Microsoft constantly improves its software (well, in the case of FrontPage XP, they made some terrible backwards moves, says this long-time FrontPage user).

It's interesting also to see some people posting in forums that now we've got to look out, because Microsoft has the money and know-how to build its own internal Google-killer. The same words were said back in 1997, when Microsoft first launched its own search engine (see my past article, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2165701). Some people assumed that the game was all over then. Five years on, Microsoft remains in a very competitive market. No doubt, they're going to continue to be a huge player in the space, as they've long been. However, they are not simply going to knock aside the other large players they are up against.

========================

Microsoft Denies Paid-Search Plans
InternetNews.com, April 2, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2173971

No, says Microsoft, we aren't planning our own paid listings network to replace Overture. Investors worried about this rumor brought Overture's shares down in early April. It came out of a research note from SoundView's Jordan Rohan, who cited an interesting internal memo about Microsoft's plans to invest more in search. Microsoft spun the official word that such investment isn't aimed at paid search products.

========================

Report: Microsoft eyes paid search
News.com, April 2, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1032-995086.html

As per the story above, but the focus is more on Rohan's report, suggesting that both Yahoo and Microsoft will eventually wean themselves from Overture. Has denials from both Overture and an unnamed Microsoft source, who also says investment will be in improving and building Microsoft's own search technology.

========================

A question of answers
The Age, April 2, 2003
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/01/1048962753538.html

Profiles those who work for Google Answers, Google's pay-for-answers service. I like the person who was "tipped" $160 for an especially good answer about the composition of shampoos.

========================

Analyst: Jeeves to sell enterprise unit
News.com, April 2, 2003
http://rss.com.com/2100-1025-995201.html

Ask Jeeves may be getting out of the enterprise search game, according to Forrester Research.

========================

What makes a good search engine?
ComputerUser, April 1, 2003
http://www.computeruser.com/articles/2204,2,1,1,0401,03.html

Q&A with Teoma's head of research and development Apostolos Gerasoulis and Steve Berkowitz, president of Teoma-owner Ask Jeeves. Focus is on Teoma's "community-oriented" approach of determining relevancy.

========================

Making Search Fun with Internet Scavenger Hunts!
About.com Web Search Guide, April 2003
http://websearch.about.com/library/weekly/aa040303a.htm

Want to teach students how to search better? Why not send them on an internet scavenger hunt? Information on how these work and ways to find existing ones you can tap into.

========================

Pay-Per-Click Strategies for Search Engine Marketers
SearchEngineBlog.com, April 2003
http://www.searchengineblog.com/interviews/pay-per-click-part5.htm

Three marketers share tips on cost-per-click advertising, in this fifth part of a series of articles. Follow the links at the top of the article to also read previous parts of the story, which touch on selecting cost-per-click paid listings providers, selecting keywords, balancing PPC and organic unpaid SEO.

========================

Taxes.com wins right to criticize rival
News.com, March 31, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1032-994837.html

Taxes.com wins back the right to criticize its rival J.K Harris. A court previously had granted a preliminary injunction saying that Taxes.com's use of the J.K Harris name constituted trademark infringement, as it was seen as causing Taxes.com to rank well for "J.K. Harris" in search engines. Taxes.com had used the name frequently, a key issue as why the injunction was originally granted. However, a higher court didn't find the references "gratuitous" but instead necessary to make statements about J.K. Harris.

========================

Google, SportsLine.com Ink Search Pact
InternetNews.com, March 31, 2003
http://www.atnewyork.com/news/article.php/2172381

SportsLine.com is getting editorial and paid listings from Google. Oh, did I say editorial? Let me use financial analyst speak: algorithmic and paid listings.

========================

Google Secures Scandinavian Deal
InternetNews.com, March 31, 2003
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article.php/2172681

Google is to provide editorial results to Scandinavian portal Eniro.

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