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The Search Engine Report - March 4, 2003 Number 76

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About The Report

The Search Engine Report is a monthly newsletter that covers developments with search engines and changes to the Search Engine Watch web site, http://searchenginewatch.com/. You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long either part is sent in its entirety.

Did you know that there's a longer, more in-depth version of this
newsletter? The twice-monthly "Search Engine Update" newsletter is
just one of the many benefits available to Search Engine Watch members
Learn more about the advantages to becoming a member at this page:

http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?source=ser2

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies In Boston Today, Sydney This Month, London In June
+ Google Throws Hat Into The Contextual Advertising Ring
+ Up Close With Google's Contextual Ads
+ Overture CEO Ted Meisel Speaks On Acquisition Plans
+ MSN Search: We're In No Rush To Change
+ Google Acts To Protect Trademark
+ Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved
+ Overture To Buy FAST Web Search Division
+ Overture To Buy AltaVista
+ Singingfish Grows As Multimedia Search Provider
+ Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why?
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

It really has been an unprecedented month. Two search engines are set up for acquisition by Overture in as many weeks, while Google buys a blogging firm and also releases an entirely new advertising product, contextual links. I've been writing like mad, to keep up with it all. I'm also traveling this week, so I have no ability to print and proof the articles in this issue of the newsletter. Expect some typos!

In addition to the newsletter, I've also been busy doing site updates:

* The Nielsen//NetRatings Ratings page has been updated with search-specific figures for January 2003. Google remains the most used search engine, in terms both reach and "search hours."

* The Searches Per Day page has been updated with current self-reported figures for many major search engines, including a new 250 million searches per day figure just in from Google. I've also added a second chart that estimates US-based searches per day by working off of total search hours recorded.

* The Search Engine Results page and the Who Powers Whom Search Providers Chart have been updated with new changes mainly applicable to HotBot, while the Major Search Engines page has also had minor updates. You can find all of these pages via the What's New page, below:

What's New
http://searchenginewatch.com/whatsnew.html

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Search Engine Strategies In Boston Today, Sydney This Month, London In June

I'll keep this short -- if you are reading this newsletter today, March 4, you're missing the first day of Search Engine Strategies Boston! But you can still attend the second and third days, which are jam-packed with search engine marketing-goodness.

Later this month, from March 26-27, Search Engine Strategies returns to Australia. I won't be "chairing" that show, but I am organizing the one after that, in London from June 10-11. Also, we expect to announce the dates for the San Jose, California show shortly. These will likely be August 18-20.

Agendas for Boston and Sydney can be found via the web site below. Brief information for London is also available, and you can sign-up to be notified for when the agenda is ready. San Jose, when the final dates are announced, will also be posted at the site below.

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com/

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Google Throws Hat Into The Contextual Advertising Ring

Last week, Google unveiled a new method of distributing its paid listings, placing them on web pages, as opposed to the traditional means of inserting them into search results. The new product, Google Content-Targeted Advertising, will likely accelerate the already rapid growth of contextual advertising. It also sees Google offering its second non-search product within a month, following on the company's acquisition of blog-firm Pyra Labs. The article below looks at the growth of contextual advertising, players in the space and the impact Google will have on the advertising product -- as well as the impact the product will have on Google.

Google Throws Hat Into The Contextual Advertising Ring
The Search Engine Report
, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/03-google.html

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-google.html

What's A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser3

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Up Close With Google's Contextual Ads

This article looks closely at how Google's new contextual ads system operates. Learn how pages receive ads, the way Google is adding publishers to its network and answers to other questions. This is an article only available to Search Engine Watch members. See the second URL for information about becoming a member.

Up Close With Google's Contextual Ads
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-upclose.html

What's A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser3

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Overture CEO Ted Meisel Speaks On Acquisition Plans

Not since 1996, when Excite purchased both Magellan and WebCrawler, have we seen one search engine company gobble up two others. Even then, Excite let a couple of months pass between acquisitions. Overture announced its two acquisitions within the space of just two weeks. The rapid move has people speculating what Overture will do next. Not another acquisition any time soon, assures Overture president and CEO Ted Meisel. As for how Overture will digest and use what's already on the plate -- AltaVista and the web search unit of FAST -- Meisel provided further guidance on some key questions during an interview with me last week. This is an article only available to Search Engine Watch members. See the second URL for information about becoming a member.

Overture CEO Ted Meisel Speaks On Acquisition Plans
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-meisel.html

What's A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser3

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MSN Search: We're In No Rush To Change

Over the past two months, there's been a run on crawler-based search engines. Yahoo intends to buy Inktomi. Overture plans to buy AltaVista and AllTheWeb. The question everyone is wondering is what impact these changes will have on MSN Search. General manager John Krass clarifies some of the rumors and speculation that have been swirling around his popular service. Yes, MSN examined AltaVista but was not "serious" about buying it. In fact, Krass says that for the time being, outsourcing for MSN's search results seems the best option. "We're looking at all of our strategic options right now. What's the best thing to do long term, not short term?," he said. The full interview, only available to Search Engine Watch members, can be found below. See the second URL for information about becoming a member.

MSN Search: We're In No Rush To Change
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-msn.html

What's A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser3

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Google Acts To Protect Trademark

When Google won the Search Engine Watch award for Outstanding Search Engine in January, I explained to readers how Google's success as a search engine was underscored by the increasing use of its name as a synonym for search, a consumer tribute but a trademark owner's nightmare. Now Google's first publicized action to protect its trademark from being transformed into a generic word has occurred, as explained in the story below:

Google Acts To Protect Trademark
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/03-googled.html

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Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved

AltaVista, the Google of its day, is now to be gobbled up by Overture. It's a famous name that's seen better days. But AltaVista's not the only major search player to have faded, as years have gone by. Come along and see the early search engines that have died, those that have been transformed, who's survived and how the "new" players that are no longer so young are doing, in the article below.

Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/03-wherenow.html

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Overture To Buy FAST Web Search Division

Overture announced its intention last month to purchase a second crawler-based search engine in as many weeks, that owned by FAST. The company operates the AllTheWeb.com web site and provides results to other search engines such as Lycos.com. An overview of the deal, with slight updates from when originally written, is in the article below:

Overture To Buy FAST Web Search Division
SearchEngineWatch.com, Feb. 25, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-fast.html

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Overture To Buy AltaVista

Overture announced its intention to purchase AltaVista in a $140 million cash and stock deal. The story below provides a summary of the deal, with a look at issues and assets that Overture gains with AltaVista.

Overture To Buy AltaVista
SearchEngineWatch.com, Feb. 18, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-altavista.html

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Singingfish Grows As Multimedia Search Provider

Looking for audio or video files from across the web? Singingfish has offered its multimedia search engine to help you in this since mid-2000, but the company recently signed a deal to power audio-visual searching in Microsoft's Windows Media Player client. The deal means that Singingfish now provides the multimedia searching capabilities for two of the web's largest digital media players and give the company a Google-like dominance as a multimedia search provider. But what exactly is the multimedia content that Singingfish provides access to through searches at its own site and through client players? And what are the issues that site owners with this content should be aware of? The articles below provides an in-depth look.

Singingfish Grows As Multimedia Search Provider
SearchEngineWatch.com, Feb. 18, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-singingfish.html

Singingfish Multimedia Search Engine Launches Paid Inclusion
SearchDay, Feb. 27, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0227-singingfish.html

Singingfish, the search engine that holds a Google-like dominance in providing multimedia searching to audio-visual players, is launching a paid inclusion program this week.

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Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why?

Google purchased Pyra Labs last month, the company behind the popular Blogger.com weblog creation tool and Blogspot, a weblog hosting service. Google still hasn't explained what it intends to do with the purchase. In this article written right after the purchase was announced, I speculated that Google didn't buy Blogger because it would help improve search. Instead, distribution of Google's paid listings into Blogger.com content was much more likely key asset. Since this was written, the ad distribution has indeed happened.

Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why?
SearchEngineWatch.com, Feb. 18, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-blogger.html

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Search Engine Resources
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Google Spell Checking
http://www.google.com/help/features.html#spell

Google's Spell Checking feature won as "Best Search Feature" in the 2002 Search Engine Watch Awards (http://searchenginewatch.com/awards/2002winners.html#feature). In giving the award, we said our only fault with it was that if you spell something wrong, and if Google also sees that it has no matches for your incorrectly spelled word, then it will automatically correct your spelling and generate a new search results page. It's not a problem for most people, but advanced searchers may find the behavior disconcerting. Well, Google listened and informs us that automatic generation of a new search results page now no longer happens.

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Dave's Quick Search Taskbar Toolbar Deskbar
http://www.dqsd.net/

Like the Google Toolbar, this gives you access to Google without having to first visit the Google web site. Unlike the Google Toolbar, it has a number of other options built into it, such as the ability to query other search engines such as FAST and Teoma, as well as a range of specialty search services. This can be done using a menu-system or by special prefix codes in front of your query. The toolbar also has a built-in calculator, currency converter, translation tool and other features. This installs into your Windows taskbar, rather than into your browser. It also requires a 400K download. Thanks to the tip from reader Peter Stephenson.

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Googlebar
http://googlebar.mozdev.org/

Got Netscape but you want the Google Toolbar, which is only for Internet Explorer? Then check out the volunteer-created Googlebar for Netscape. Reader Jonathan Mendelson says that while it's not a 1.0 release, he's found it to work perfectly.

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Search Engine Dictionary
http://www.searchenginedictionary.com

A find from www.ResearchBuzz.com, this site provides a definition of terms related to search engines.

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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:

AlltheWeb Introduces New Look, Features
SearchDay, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0304-atw.html

AlltheWeb has streamlined its look and feel, and has added new features that should appeal to casual and power searchers alike.

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What Would Google Vote For?
SearchDay, March 3, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0303-gfight.html

A new site puts a spin on the 'am I hot or not' craze, by using Google to assess the relative popularity of opposite or 'competing' search terms.

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Cybercafe Search Engines
SearchDay, Feb. 24, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0224-cyber.html

On the road and wanting to get online? These cybercafe search engines can help you find internet access in hundreds of cities around the world.

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Hot Trends in Search Engine Marketing
SearchDay, Feb. 20, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0220-ses-seo.html

Perhaps it's a terrible clichi, but the only thing that experts agree is constant in the search engine marketing business is constant change.

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Puzzling Out Google's Blogger Acquisition
SearchDay, Feb. 18, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0218-bloggle.html

Pundits are scratching their heads over Saturday's surprise announcement that Google had bought weblog publishing heavyweight Pyra Labs, but a look at the big picture reveals some intriguing scenarios for "Bloggle's" future.

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What's New at AltaVista and MSN Search
SearchDay, Feb. 13, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0213-avmsn-update.html

Both AltaVista and MSN Search rolled out incremental improvements this week proving that the quest for more relevant search results is continuing full steam ahead.

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A Visual Bookmark Manager
SearchDay, Feb. 12, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0212-netvis.html

NetVisualize Favorites Organizer is a bookmark manager with an interesting twist: In addition to storing URLs, it also captures a thumbnail image of each of your favorite pages.

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Optimizing Flash for Search Engines
SearchDay, Feb. 11, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0211-ses-flash.html

Your glitzy Macromedia Flash animations may dazzle and impress, but over-reliance on Flash may render your website all but invisible to the major search engines.

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Wikipedia - A Collaborative, Multilingual Encyclopedia
SearchDay, Feb. 10, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0210-wikipedia.html

Wikipedia is an ambitious project to produce a free and complete encyclopedia in every language, written by hundreds of volunteers working collaboratively together.

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Home-Grown Search Engine Optimization
SearchDay #459, Feb. 6, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0206-ses-home.html

Managing a search engine optimization effort needn't be stressful if you follow these tips from a panel of experts. Search Engine Watch members should follow the link to a special members-edition of this article.

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A Portal for the Semantic Web
SearchDay #458, Feb. 5, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0205-sworg.html

SemanticWeb.org is an information and community portal dedicated to the next generation web -- a virtual wonderland where we'll be able to do all kinds of cool things, including finding information with nearly effortless ease.

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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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Google lands Web search patent
News.com, Feb. 26, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1024-986204.html

Google gets its first patent, covering the company's method of ranking search results.

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Majority of Online Stores Fail Search Engine Test
InternetNews.com, Feb. 27, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/1730881

Getting people to your web site is only half the battle. Once they arrive, you want to convert them into buyers. Sadly, a survey find two-thirds of the 25 top online retailers have poor site search capabilities, meaning that potential customers might miss out on what they are looking for.

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Searching for dollars
Boston Globe, Feb. 23, 2003
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/054/business/Searching_for_dollars+.shtml

The story is familiar to most of you. Paid listings have become a major revenue source for portals, given the demise of banners. Good refresher on how things have changed, over the years.

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Google is the net dominator
The Guardian, Feb. 27, 2003
http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/comment/0,7496,904006,00.html

And yet another of the endless articles suggesting that only Google can make sense of the web. "If you want to find something online, you have to use Google. Without Google, the net is a random mess." No, you do not have to use Google. You have good, alternative choices such as AllTheWeb, Inktomi or Teoma that also do an excellent job of cleaning up that mess. Run on over to HotBot.com, and you can easily try all three and Google as well.

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Espotting on the Overture/Fast deal
Pandia, Feb. 26, 2003
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2003/05-espotting.html

It took Overture-competitor Espotting a day to figure how to spin the Overture deal to acquire FAST's web search division. When it finally issued a statement, the company suggested that Overture's partners would see the purchases as threatening (at least one has privately confirmed this to me), since Overture will operate the AltaVista web site (which has been dying a slow death in terms of popularity) and the AllTheWeb.com site (which receives virtually no search traffic compared to other major players). The company also says it expects deals in place with AltaVista and AllTheWeb to continue. In reality, expect Overture to get out of these as soon as it can. Pandia offers its own take on the impact on Espotting, working off of the company's statement, in this article.

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Markets cheer Terra's giant loss
BBC, Feb. 26, 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2801393.stm

Investors are happy Terra Lycos posted a $2 billion loss for 2002? Yes, because most of that was due to a revaluation of the company, which investors hope will mean the company can now better develop going forward or perhaps go private.

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Smart Search Engine Tactics
eMarketer, Feb. 25, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002075

Some statistics on how search engine marketing is growing each quarter, a noticeable bright spot when it comes to advertising spend.

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LookSmart Looks Ahead
eMarketer, Feb. 21, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002069

Dakota Sullivan, vice president of marketing at LookSmart, comments on its relationship with Inktomi assuming the Yahoo acquisition completes, says to expect WiseNut to reemerge later this year as a search solution for portals and comments on other expected changes in monetizing search.

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Interview With Dakota Sullivan of LookSmart
Web Rank, Feb. 20,2003
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/InterviewWithDakotaSullivanofLookSmart.htm

Dakota Sullivan, vice president of....wait a minute, wasn't he the same guy talking about LookSmart in the item above? Yes, and here's more from his rounds with a different publication. He comments on the move last year to a pure cost-per-click model for all commercial listings that caused uproar and suggests all is well because LookSmart has more than 30,000 business paying ongoing monthly fees with it.

Of course, before the change, LookSmart reported having 90,000 small businesses among its customers, according to LookSmart's last financial filings. Nevertheless, the one-third remaining with LookSmart earn more for the company. It's a gamble that paid off, and one that's spurring others like Yahoo to examine how to make more off of their editorial listings, as predicted in my article from last year, The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/05-money.html

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Word Scans Indicate New Ways Of Searching The Web
ScienceDaily, Feb. 19, 2003
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030219080454.htm

Jon Kleinberg is the computer scientist instrumental in developing the HITS algorithm that profoundly influenced Google, Teoma, and other search engines. Now he has found that "bursts," an increase in usage of certain words in frequently updated information such as email and weblogs, could be an excellent indicator of emerging trends and social patterns.

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Looking Back on 5 Years of Search
About Web Search Guide, Feb. 18, 2003
http://websearch.about.com/library/weekly/aa021803a.htm

Short summary of how searching and search engine marketing have changed over the past five years. Note that Search Engine Watch actually launched in 1997, not after 1998.

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"Just Issued" Info Retrieval Related Patents and "Just Filed" Patent Apps
The ResourceShelf, Feb. 17, 2003
http://www.resourceshelf.com/archives/2003_02_01_resourceshelf_archive.html/#90332145

Roundup of a variety of new patents or patents-pending relating to search.

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Google goes public
Red Herring, Feb. 14, 2003
http://www.redherring.com/investor/2003/02/google021403.html

Google doesn't need to go public, but the tech industry would be happy if it did, since that might inspire confidence in the sector.

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Overture Inks Search Pact with MSN Japan
InternetNews.com, Feb. 13, 2003
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article.php/1583991

Overture gets an expansion of its test to provide paid listings to MSN Japan, with contracts for the Internet Explorer search pane and the MSN Search Japan site running through December 2003 and 2004, respectively.

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Yahoo Promises More Search Moves
InternetNews.com, Feb. 12, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/10789_1583521

Yahoo has a big day for financial analysts and talks more about the importance of search. Note that the October 2002 search overhaul mentioned in this article didn't make Yahoo into routinely the first or second most-used search engine. It has been that way for months, if not years. Yahoo also expects to roll out paid listings into non-web search areas of its site. The company reiterated that it felt buying Inktomi's crawler technology made sense but that outsourcing paid listings to Overture also remains the right choice, for now. In the future, however, Yahoo might change, if it determines that's in its best interests.

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Google Named Brand of the Year
InternetNews.com, Feb. 11, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1582431

Readers of Interbrand's BrandChannel.com name Google brand of the year. Out of 1,315 votes, Google received 15 percent, followed by second place Apple with 14 percent, Coca-Cola with 12 percent and Starbucks with 11 percent. Google ranked fourth, last year.

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Yahoo UK! admits! scam!
The Register, Feb. 11, 2003
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/29281.html

Fraudsters! have! been! telling! people! in! the! UK! that! they! need! to! pay! to! renew! their! Yahoo UK! listings! They! don't! need! to!

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Overture Doubles Keyword Price With No Notice to Advertisers
Direct Newsline, Feb. 10, 2003
http://searchenginesinfo.com/ar/marketing_overture_doubles_keyword/

Minimum bids at Overture US rose from $0.05 to $0.10. Lower bids are grandfathered, but this story looks at complaints that the official notification from Overture gave people little chance to react to the change.

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Hunting for Google's Cache
SearchEngineShowdown.com, Feb. 10, 2003
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/newsarchive/000631.shtml

Darn! Google didn't cache it. Well, maybe they did, and you just need to know how to look more closely for the cached copy. Greg Notess shows you how.

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Merchants Outbid for Top Billing
New York Times, Feb. 10, 2003
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/10/technology/10ECOM.htm

Fraudulent retailers may outbid legitimate firms for top rankings in paid listings. Those legitimate firms think that paid listing providers ought to screen out the fraudsters. An analyst rightly says the paid listing providers have little incentive to take aggressive action. Overture rightly comments that it's hard to screen nine million listings to determine the legitimacy or reputable nature of a vendor, but that the company will and has taken action when it gets credible reports of problems. Google declines to say much of anything about the issue.

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Google falling victim to success
Oakland Tribune, Feb. 10, 2003
http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82˜10834˜1170210,00.html

Staying on top of the search race may be harder for Google, now that its competitors are have improved and are focusing renewed efforts on search. Another "challenges Google faces" story, and another one where Google declines to comment, leaving competitors like Ask Jeeves and Yahoo to speak for them.

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Don't let these perverts win
Cheshire Chronicle, Feb. 7, 2003
http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/page.cfm?objectid=12617643&method=full&siteid=50020

Google refuses to remove filth from site
Cheshire Chronicle, Feb. 14, 2003
http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/chesterchronicle/page.cfm?objectid=12639573&method=full&siteid=50020

Sick website taken down
Cheshire Chronicle, Feb. 21, 2003
http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/chesterchronicle/page.cfm?objectid=12663897&method=full&siteid=50020

A web designer in the English city of Chester did a search for "chester guide" and was shocked to find "Chester's guide to: Picking up little girls" listed as the second result. The content of that page, which I've seen in following up on this article, is pretty disgusting. However, it does not appear illegal under UK law. That means when Google was asked initially to remove the site from its listings, the search engine responded that this was something it wouldn't do.

The second article documents that after a reader campaign by Chester's local paper, Google still hadn't dropped the page. One reader got an official Google response that said, "Only an administrator can, by including code that blocks our robots or placing a request with us, prevent his/her page from being listed." That's not correct at all. Google can and does pull pages from its index for various reasons, without administrator consent.

Google eventually decided the site was illegal and yanked the listing. Even if it wasn't illegal, this is one of those cases where you want Google to show some common sense and just manually suppress the site. Google can exercise editorial discretion if it wants -- and sometimes, it should.

The page remains on the web, of course -- that really is something that Google cannot control. And since it's on the web, any other search engine might find it. That's why, when I followed on this story earlier this month, it was listed in the indexes at Inktomi and AltaVista. But it didn't rank well for "chester guide" and probably other innocent searches that people might do, so those two search engines escaped the wrath that came down upon Google.

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Is Net Surfing a Dying Sport?
IDG News Service, Feb. 7, 2003
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,109264,00.asp

Scarlet Pruitt, who wrote this story, called me soon after she got the StatMarket press release showing that more people were reaching web sites via direct navigation than by following links and search engines. "Is search in trouble," she asked. Not at all, I said. Go back and ask StatMarket to break out the ALL the stats. She did, and it turns out that navigation to web sites via search engines is up -- way up. Nevertheless, some may wonder why if search engines are so popular, sites still are only getting a relatively small 13 percent of their traffic from them. My past article (http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/05-gap.html) explains this "search gap," as I call it, and why making a good first impression is crucial.

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Overture Plunges as Costs Rise
TheStreet.com, Feb. 6, 2003
http://www.thestreet.com/tech/georgemannes/10067404.html

Overture sees its stock price drop after announcing that costs will rise and profits will be lower, due to investments to improve advertiser tools, international expansion and the need to share 63 to 64 percent of its revenue with distribution partners. Previously, the company had put the range at 61 to 63 percent.

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The Lunchtime Effect
ClickZ, Feb. 5, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/1579241

If paid listings were like television ads, the vendors selling it would essentially be telling you that you need to have your ads running with every program they have, all throughout the day and night. While you still can't pick and choose distribution partners, with a little work, you can at least chose when you want to run your ads. Carefully thinking about your "dayparts" may give you better performance, as Kevin Lee explains.

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Local lawyers duke it out in cyber spat
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 4, 2003
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/feb03/115925.asp

Wow, flashback to the 90s, because here's a retro case involving meta tags. Milwaukee's lawyer Gerald P. Boyle, who represented serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, claims in a suit that the use of his name in a meta keywords tag is causing competing lawyer John Cabaniss to ranking in the top results for "gerald p. boyle" at Google. Google doesn't index the meta keywords tag, so if that's the chief evidence in this case, it's going to be a short one. Of course, Cabaniss doesn't help himself by incorrectly saying about Boyle, "He just has to get better meta-tag people." Put gun in hand, aim at foot -- now shoot!

The page in question has already changed on Cabaniss's web site, and it has no meta keywords tag on it. The cached copy at Google of the older version of the page also shows no meta keywords tag in use, so you almost wonder if there was ever one at all. Regardless, the main reason that page is currently ranking well at Google is because Boyle's name is used in the title tag of the page, as well as in the body copy of the page.

The page talks about a case that Boyle lost, so using his name is also probably fair game. The key challenge will be to convince a judge that Cabaniss created this page solely in hopes of getting people to his web site if they searched on Boyle's name. For past issues involving meta tags and lawsuits, see http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/metasuits.html

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

FindWhat.com Turns Up a Strong Fourth Quarter
TheStreet.com, Feb. 4, 2003
http://www.thestreet.com/_tsclsii/tech/georgemannes/10066633.html

FindWhat's earnings are up, but its operating margin is expected to drop during 2003. Blame expansion costs, the need to share more with distribution partners and litigation costs for a pesky little patent case involving Overture.

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