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The Search Engine Report - Number 100

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In This Issue

+ SES NY Next Week; Toronto In May
+ What's Up With The SEW Awards?
+ Search Engine Report #100; SearchDay #1000
+ Top Stories
+ More From The Search Engine Watch Blog
+ About The Newsletter

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SES NY Next Week; Toronto In May

Search Engine Strategies New York begins next Monday and runs through March 3, featuring speakers from the major search engines of AOL, Ask Jeeves, Google, MSN and Yahoo, along with experts on search marketing. It's turning out to be our largest show ever!

Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang and I will be having a "keynote conversation" on the second day of the show, just in time for the company's 10th anniversary. Come hear us discuss where Yahoo's been and what Jerry sees the future holding for Yahoo and search in general.

I'll be doing my usual evening forum, where we talk about a range of topics. Chris Sherman and I both also will be moderating sessions throughout the conference. SEW Forums editor Elisabeth Osmeloski will be heading up our Site Clinic sessions at the show. Look sharp on the first and second days, and you might even spot SEW news editor Gary Price taking a rare break from our blog.

A full conference agenda is available. Many of our popular sessions on search marketing are returning and offer information of interest to search marketers of all levels.

For a full rundown, see the conference web site. You can also view the entire program at-a-glance or use the session planner to get itineraries designed for those new to search marketing, interested in ad issues, interested in organic/free listings or even what's new in the Been Before category.

Our SES Toronto show come next after New York, happening May 4-5. Dates for our other shows this year and basic information about them can be found on the Search Engine Strategies site.

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What's Up With The SEW Awards?

Earlier this year, I said we'd be holding the annual SEW Awards soon. We're behind! But they'll still be happening. The schedule is for nominations to open for the awards to Search Engine Watch members on March 15. Finalists will be presented for voting by anyone who is subscribed to one of our newsletters on March 22. Winners will be announced on March 31 or earlier. If you're subscribed to one of our newsletters, all relevant information will be sent to you. So hang in there and get ready to vote!

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Search Engine Report #100; SearchDay #1000

In case you missed it, this is Search Engine Report 100 -- the 100th monthly newsletter I've put out. Those interested in going back in time might check out the full list of newsletters here, including the very first one back in July 1996. It had news of Excite buying Magellan and Open Text selling keywords!

Those of you that also take the daily SearchDay newsletter, watch your subject lines. Hardworking Chris Sherman is about to put out his 1,000th daily newsletter next Friday! A full list of SearchDays can be found here, including the very first one back in May 2001.

I'd like to thank all of our readers for their support in bringing us to these milestones. Chris and I look forward to bringing you the 200th and 2,000th editions of our respective newsletters in the future!

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Top Stories
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Here's a recap of major articles, important blog postings and some interesting forum discussions from Search Engine Watch since the last newsletter:

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Google Toolbar's AutoLink & The Need For Opt-Out
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

AutoLink is new feature in the new third version of Google's popular Google Toolbar that's raised controversy since it was released last week. Why are publishers upset? Can they block the feature that adds links to their web pages? Who rules over content, users or publishers? Why do I think Google should give publishers an opt-out for the feature. And how can you opt-out despite Google? That, and other issues, are explored in this article.

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Googlebar For Firefox, Plus The Google & Firefox Deal
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

Last week, when Google rolled out the latest version of its toolbar, I was dumbfounded that a Firefox version still wasn't offered. What's the deal? In this story, a reminder of the great Googlebar clone, a good enough imitation that Google feels it needn't do its own. Also some news on how Google ended up the default search engine for Firefox.

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SEMPO Gets New Board Of Directors
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

SEMPO members have just received a mailing informing them of their new board of directors, selected through the recent election. The board is scheduled to be formally introduced to the public next Monday at the group's open meeting at Search Engine Strategies New York. In this post, a list of who was elected -- which includes all previous board members who stood again. See also New SEMPO Board To Be Announced Soon for details on the election and all nominated.

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SEM Business Issues On Discussion
SEW Blog, Feb. 25, 2005

Here's a pair of Search Engine Watch Forum threads dealing with some tricky SEM business issues. In How To Start & When You Can Charge For SEO, members discuss how to get started with SEO/SEM services. What level should you be at in order to confidently charge clients. Meanwhile, Sued for Blackhat SEO? looks at whether "black hat" SEO or really any SEO activity that backfires to a client's expectations could get you into legal hot water.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 25, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Concerns Over New Google Tool - Sued for Blackhat SEO? - Pay Per Call: The Other PPC - Little Guy Sued Over Generic Name Use - Getting an Education in Search Engine Marketing - Google's Stranglehold on Webmasters, and more.

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Forecasting Paid Search Traffic
Search Day, Feb. 24, 2005

Despite the hype, being #1 in paid search results may not provide your company the desired bang for your marketing buck. Intelligently optimizing a paid search budget involves far more than setting random bid prices and guessing at returns.

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AOL Unveils New Local Search Service
SEW Blog, Feb. 24, 2005

AOL has just released their new local search service, AOL Local Search. At the moment, listings and data for more than 13,000 million businesses, theaters, and other local establishment come from a variety of sources including powered AOL Yellow Pages, Moviefone, and AOL CityGuides for more than 300 U.S. cities. AOL plans to add more sources and type of info in the near future. More in this review.

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Search Engines and Legal Issues
SearchDay, Feb. 23, 2005

A competitor is running a search engine ad with your trademarked brand name. Another has copied your web site without permission. You suspect another of driving up your advertising costs through click fraud. What are your legal options? The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members takes a closer look at trademarks and search engine advertising, covering the issues and tactics available to brand owners to protect themselves. The longer version also looks at click fraud and the legal remedies available to search engine advertisers who suspect competitors are driving up their costs through fraudulent clicks. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

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Google Goes to the Movies
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Google has just launched a search "shortcut" to help users access local movie showtimes (U.S. only), film info, and reviews. The service is available from any Google search box or via SMS. More in this post.

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SEMPO Stats On Click Fraud; Most Worried, Many Confirm A Problem
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

SEMPO has released stats about click fraud drawn from the The State of Search Engine Marketing 2004 survey it released in December. In this post, a summary of key points. For Search Engine Watch members, the special Click Fraud A Worry For Most; Confirmed Problem For Many article dissects the numbers further in a series of charts.

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A New Version of Copernic Desktop Search is Now Available
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Copernic has just released a new public beta of their desktop search tool. that offers several new features and indexing options that enhance an already robust product. If you've never tried this feature filled, easy to use/modify, and free desktop search tool (Windows only), it's more than worthy of your attention. More in this review.

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Yahoo Increases Size of Image Database, New Features Added
SEW Blog, Feb. 23, 2005

Yahoo has just announced an increase in size to their image database. According to the company Yahoo Images now contains more than 1.5 billion image files. Along with increasing the size of the image database, Yahoo has made a couple of new features available to searchers. More in this article.

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Pay-Per-Call: A New Avenue for Search Marketers
SearchDay, Feb. 22, 2005

Local search in the U.S. is hot, but nearly 14 million companiesbmost of them small-to-medium sized businessesbare missing the local search marketing revolution because they don't have a web site.

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SMA-UK Gets Formal, Calls For Elections; SMA-NA & SEMPO To Meet
SEW Blog, Feb. 21, 2005

SMA-UK is moving ahead with becoming a formal organization, complete with an elected board. Meanwhile, the related SMA-NA association for North American search marketers recently opened its own web site and will be meeting and holds its first organizational meeting and membership drive on March 2, coinciding with Search Engine Strategies New York. Also meeting at SES NY will be SEMPO, on Feb. 28. More details on everything in this post.

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Cool Databases to Use: What's a RedLightGreen?
SEW Blog, Feb. 20, 2005

RedLightGreen is a large, useful database to find and access library books with plenty of features. More about this useful service, in this post.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 18, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: NY Times Agrees to Buy About.com - Quantity of Inbound Links the Only Linking Factor Search Engines Use? - New Google Toolbar Feature Rekindles the Anti-SmartTag Debate - Keyword Themes and Google - Why Search Engine Marketing Has A Passion for Web Site Usability, and more.

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Search Engine Showdown: Black Hats vs. White Hats at SES
SearchDay, Feb. 17, 2005

What does a 'hardcore search engine optimizer' look like? Does he wear a black hat? With little holes cut out in the top to allow for horns? Attendees at the 'Black Hat, White Hat, & Lots of Gray' session at Search Engine Strategies Chicago got to find out.

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Fired Googler Mark Jen Speaks, Again
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

Fired Google employee Mark Jen, who raised some eyebrows with his blog posts, discusses how he was never given a "straight answer" about why he was dismissed. But Google was apparently well within its legal rights to dismiss him without giving a reason. More in this story from IDG News Service: Fired Google blogger reflects, moves on. Also see Mark Jen Posts His Story for a summary of his dismissal and lessons learned posted on his blog, Former Google Employee Mark Jen Was Fired For Blogging for observations from Yahoo blogger Jeremey Zawodny on how blogging and corporate concerns can get along and Mark Jen, Controversial Google Blogger, At Google No More for more background on Jen's blogging activities and a timeline.

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What, Exactly, is Search Engine Spam?
SearchDay, Feb. 16, 2005

There's a subtle boundary that separates acceptable search engine optimization practices from the shadier techniques used by spammers. How can you recognize the difference between white-hat and black-hat techniques?

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New Beta Version Of Google Toolbar Available
SEW Blog, Feb. 16, 2005

Google has just released a new beta version of the their toolbar offering spelling correction, "AutoLinking," and word translation. More rundown on features, in this article. See also Googlebar For Firefox, Plus The Google & Firefox Deal and Google Toolbar's AutoLink & The Need For Opt-Out.

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Avoiding Search Engine Woes with Multiple Domains and Websites
SearchDay, Feb. 15, 2005

Operating multiple sites using numerous domains is a great strategy for businesses appealing to a wide range of customers. But this approach may trigger search engine spam penalties, if you're not careful with implementation. The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members goes into more detail about situations that can inadvertently trigger spam penalties, such as inappropriate cross linking between sites, using global templates, and geo-locating blunders, along with solutions to these and other problems. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

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Local Search Marketing Tactics
SearchDay, Feb. 14, 2005

It's tempting to think of local search as merely a subset of a broader search marketing campaign, but best results come with tactics specifically tailored to the uniquely nuanced needs of searchers looking for local information and services.

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Talking About Google's Feb. 2005 Update
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 11, 2005

For Search Engine Watch members, I've posted a Google's Feb. 2005 Update article that summarizes some things about the Google update that's recently happened. No major revelations, but pointers to various forum threads and a few thoughts. In this blog post, more about the feedback address Google set up about the update. Want to discuss or learn more? The What's Going On With Google: Feb. 2005 Update summarizes key threads on the topic in our forums.

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Yahoo Tips On Crawling Issues
SEW Blog, Feb. 11, 2005

The Yahoo Search Blog has some webmaster tips out today. Gzip your files, and they'll unzip and save you bandwidth when crawling. Respond with the right HTTP code, and it will only download pages if there's been a change to them. Getting slammed by the Slurp crawler? Make it sip rather than slurp through the crawl-delay mechanism. More in this post.

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Fresh comScore & NetRatings Stats Posted
SEW Blog, Feb. 11, 2005

I've updated the long-standing comScore Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings and Nielsen NetRatings Search Engine Ratings pages I maintain with figures that show search engine popularity for December 2004, the latest available. A summary of what they show in this post, and stats directly on those pages.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 11, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Ask Jeeves Acquires Bloglines - Bored With SEO - GoogleFox or FireBot? - The Case of Google and the Disappearing Employee - Does Yahoo Sandbox? - Term Weight Formula - New Google Maps, and more.

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Web Standards vs. Search Friendly Sites: Can You Have Both?
SearchDay, Feb. 10, 2005

Web designers don't understand search optimization, and search marketers are clueless about usability and stylebat least according to conventional wisdom. The good news is, those attitudes are slowly starting to change.

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Big Four Confirmed For Indexing Summit
SEW Blog, Feb. 10, 2005

The Indexing Summit is on! The what? Earlier this year, I said it would be great to have some type of indexing summit, where search engines could hear and discuss ideas on what web site owners would like in terms how their content gets indexed. I went forward with scheduling one for our upcoming SES New York show and just got a last confirmation for the panel. All four major crawlers, Yahoo, MSN Search, Google and Ask Jeeves, will be taking part -- and much thanks to all of them for stepping forward to participate. In this post, a call for ideas from you on what to raise.

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Closer Look At Yahoo Toolbar For Firefox
SEW Blog, Feb. 10, 2005

Move to Firefox but missing options the Google Toolbar allows. The new Yahoo Toolbar For Firefox along with some other things helps fill that gap. More in this post, along with other search features it offers. See also Word of a Yahoo Toolbar for Mac Users.

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Surveying the Search Landscape
SearchDay, Feb. 9, 2005

Danny Sullivan's keynote address at Search Engine Strategies has become a must-see event for conference attendees. At the Chicago conference he took the opportunity to look back over the year's search engine events and gaze into his crystal ball toward the future.

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Google The Registrar
SEW Blog, Feb. 9, 2005

We first blogged about Google becoming an authorized domain registrar about a week ago. Since then, lots of speculation but nothing about Google's exact plans with its new status. Bob Tedeschi offers a review of what we do and don't know about "Google the Registrar" along with comments from people in the domain name business in the article: A New Direction at Google. Also see our earlier post, Register with Google.

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Report: Most Search Marketers are Unsophisticated
SearchDay, Feb. 8, 2005

The majority of search marketers are unsophisticated, despite having worked in the field for two or more years, according to a study by JupiterResearch.

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Revisiting Google's Counts & Drops When Searching The Same Word Twice
SEW Blog, Feb. 8, 2005

Jean VC)ronis takes another look at trying to figure out Google count oddities covered before, such as why an OR search for two different words brings back FEWER results that a search for either of the words individually (it should bring back more, since the possible matching set is larger). In this post, a summary of what he found, with my own observations on how these meshes with the Google architecture we already know. And why it is useful that a search for tom versus tom tom might yield different results!

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New Google Maps Now Live
SEW Blog, Feb. 8, 2005

Google has released a new Google Maps service via its Google Labs site. Covering the United States, it allows you to drag maps around to find a new location, rather than the usual method of clicking to recenter and reload a page. It's well worth checking out, and this post explains more. Also see:

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It's Official: Ask Jeeves Acquires Bloglines
SEW Blog, Feb. 8, 2005

Today, Ask Jeeves is announcing that they've acquired Bloglines, a well-known, critically acclaimed, and free web-based RSS aggregation tool for an undisclosed sum of money. The move confirms rumors that have been around since Saturday. More in this article on Bloglines, the acquisition and this further step toward Ask rebuilding its search engine. Also see Ask Jeeves To Buy Bloglines? for an update on where other portals stand in terms of blogging and feed searching services.

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Lobbying for Your Search Marketing Budget
SearchDay, Feb. 7, 2005

Total marketing spend is not growing at most companies, and marketers are working hard for every part of their budget. To accommodate new ideas, most have to reallocate money from other programs, going through a justification and lobbying process that can seem more like high level diplomacy than marketing.

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Google Images Updates, Expands, Enters Main Results
SEW Blog, Feb. 7, 2005

Google has announced its Google Images database now includes 1.1 billion images. In addition, it confirms what some have been seeing before, that images will now be displayed inline with regular web search results, depending on the query. More on that, inline image display and search done by others and Google Image's past problems with freshness in this post.

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All Ads At MSN Search? How First Impressions Count
SEW Blog, Feb. 7, 2005

Is MSN super-commercial. It's more likely a consequence of its search quality still needing to improve rather than anything intentional. But the Chicago Tribune came away with a bad taste after trying MSN. In this post, a closer look at that review and a compare-and-contrast of answers for one query on Google and MSN -- along with the usual warning to be wary of judgments based on only a few queries.

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Google Images In OneBox Display Further Supplant Main Results
SEW Blog, Feb. 7, 2005

Google's long done what it calls OneBox insertions -- but the new ones from Google Images are further pushing down the "regular" results. Another reason marketers need to be looking strongly at how they get listed in vertical search results, as this post explains more.

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Overture Says No To Guns, Sort Of
SEW Blog, Feb. 7, 2005

Google's pretty well known for not allowing gun ads, which can get gun merchants upset that porn ads are allowed but gun ads aren't. But Overture doesn't allow some gun ads, as well. Turns out this isn't new -- but neither is it disclosed to advertisers before hand. That's something Overture says it's working on fixing. More in this article.

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Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Feb. 4, 2005

Links to the week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Yahoo Testing Contextual Search Tool - MSN Launches Search Engine - Turning AdWords On/Off - Does Adsense Help With Link Building? - Hand Coding vs. HTML Editors, and more.

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GoFish Multimedia Shopping Search: IceRocket Deal & Closer Look
SEW Blog, Feb. 4, 2005

Multimedia shopping search engine GoFish gained its first significant partnership this week, now providing the multimedia results for meta search engine IceRocket. Significant is a relative term, of course -- while IceRocket counts billionaire Mark Cuban as an investor, it has practically no usage or brand reach compared to one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or even Ask Jeeves. How about some more about GoFish? A rundown on the service, in this post.

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Yahoo Offers New Y!Q Contextual Search Tool
SearchDay, Feb. 3, 2005

Yahoo has rolled out a nifty new tool that lets you use content you're viewing as the basis of a search query, providing results that are difficult to get otherwise without using advanced search commands.

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MSN Search's RSS Feeds
SEW Blog, Feb. 3, 2005

Want web search results via RSS? MSN is the only major search engine to offer them. How it works and how to subscribe, in this article. Also see the follow-up, MSN Search Fixes Country-Specific Feed Bug.

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Search Engine Optimization For New MSN Search
SEW Blog, Feb. 3, 2005

In our SEO for MSN thread in the forums, members are looking at the new MSN Search site and discussing what seems best to improve rankings there. Looking for tips or want to contribute? Stop by!

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Google Local Moves To Home Page But Stays In Beta
SEW Blog, Feb. 3, 2005

News from Google that its Google Local service has now moved to the home pages of the US-based Google site and Google Canada. Previously, the service was only accessible to those who knew to go directly to the Google Local site or who saw Google Local results inserted into Google through a OneBox display. Despite the move, the service remains in beta. First launched as a Google Labs project in September 2003, then released as a formal beta in March 2004, Google Local has been in development for between a year and two and a half years, depending on what start date you go with. More on that and Google Local, in this article.

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Escaping MSN Search's Country Redirection
SEW Blog, Feb. 2, 2005

Annoyingly, the launch of the new MSN search engine came along with a helpful "feature" forcing me to MSN UK, because I'm based in the UK. Even if I went to search.msn.com, I was redirected to search.msn.co.uk. In a similar situation? Here's how to escape the redirection.

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Meet the Local Search Engines
SearchDay, Feb. 2, 2005

Local search has been hot over the past year, with the major search engines jostling for eyeballs, offering new features for both searchers and advertisers alike.

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More From The SEW Blog
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French Survey On Search Marketing Up
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

ZDNet France and Imitiki have posted the results of a survey on search marketing issues in France. Search Engine Marketing Survey in France has the results in English, with questions ranging from is SEO important (95% say yes), to annual budget for SEO (most don't spend anything but time), to the use of sponsored links (a huge 30 percent said they never buy these) to main paid search provider (Google with a whopping 83 percent). Survey also in French, naturellement, via here (registration appears required). Want to discuss? Check out our forum thread, Search engine marketing survey in France.

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Impression Spam A Problem For Google Ads?
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Are people using automation to disable Google ads by generating lots of impressions but no clicks, in order to knock out competitors and buy ads at a cut rate. Impression Spam Worries Google Advertisers from ClickZ picks up the idea anew with a few quotes, mainly focusing on one marketer seeing this a problem. Google says it really isn't much of one. I've never really heard it coming up as much of one either from marketers I've spoken with. Usually, the reverse is true -- they're upset ads get disabled for important terms simply because the terms aren't searched on much. Have you experienced it? Join our forum thread on the topic, Impression Spam Worries Google Advertisers. See also Disabling Google Ads With Bots?

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German Search Engines To Self-Regulate Censorship
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Google Blogoscoped has an interesting item, German Search Engines Self-regulating, on how major search engines serving Germany are forming a voluntary group to streamline censorship of links they are required by law to remove. There will be a centralized server containing a blacklist of banned URLs. Chances are, those in Germany going to non-German editions of these search engines will still be able to access the "censored" material, however, just as they can now. No mention if the search engines will do any form of disclosure of censorship. See also Revisiting Google Censorship In Germany & France for some past related coverage of the issue.

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Dec. 2004 Top 20 Search Engines In UK
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

NetRatings has released a list of the top 20 search engines in the UK for December 2004, ranked in order of the number of unique searchers they had. Google comes first, followed by Yahoo, then Ask Jeeves. The report also provides data on clickthrough per searcher, suggesting that the most popular search engine in terms of number of searchers isn't necessarily the most popular in terms of clickthrough to web sites. More in this post.

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WorkZoo Offers Job Searching
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

WorkZoo is a new crawler-based job search engine just launched seeking out pages from across the web that seem to offer jobs in the US.

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Conversion Research Shows Search Costs Could Rise
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2005

Research Supports Aggressive SEM and SEO from Kevin Lee at ClickZ looks at two recent search and conversion behavior studies to summarize findings. Commonalities? Most searches are for generic terms, which in turn happen early in the buying cycle. Other findings? Nearly all (90 percent) of search conversions happen offline and half search before doing any online purchase. Conclusion? Costs will probably go up more, as marketers get better at measuring where and when conversions happen and learn they can afford to pay more.

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RSS via SMS
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

Philipp points to a post about an interesting mobile service (in beta) that I spotted a few weeks ago but haven't had time to mention yet called FeedBeep. You can use it to deliver RSS alerts as SMS text messages. According to FeedBeep site, their working with PubSub and other services. Btw, I signed-up for a password to access their beta three weeks ago but still haven't heard back. When I do, I'll report on how the service works. Currently, I use the Bloglines site optimized for mobile web browsers to access RSS feeds. Very nice!

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Interview With Ask Jeeves On Search
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

Mike Grehan has an interview up with Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties at Ask Jeeves and Apostolos Gerasoulis, founder of the Teoma search engine that powers Ask Jeeves: In conversation with...Jim Lanzone & Apostolos Gerasoulis of Ask Jeeves/Teoma. A short summary of key items in this post.

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Ask Jeeves & New TV Ads
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

As noted earlier, Ask Jeeves has embarked on a television campaign to promote its service. Must-See Jeeves from the Ask Jeeves Blog lets you see the ads that debuted last week. See also Ask Jeeves Searches For Users with Ad Effort from ClickZ for some more details.

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Paid Search Worth $5.5 Billion In 2009
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

JupiterResearch says paid search will rise to $5.5 billion in 2009, driven by four vertical areas: retail, financial services, travel and media & entertainment. More from ClickZ: The Four Horsemen of Vertical Search.

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The Networking Effects of the Web
By Gary Price, Feb. 24, 2005

The Fourteenth International World Wide Web Conference in May will have a number of search-related papers and panel overviews that I'll highlight. I'll start today with this panel overview and extended abstract that was posted earlier this week. The session is titled Exploiting the Dynamic Networking Effects of the Web, and will feature several highly respected researchers. See our Who are those Guys? post for more about the researchers involved.

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MSN Search's Viral "MSN Found" Campaign
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 24, 2005

MSN Search has a new "viral" ad campaign called MSN Found that revolves around some fictional bloggers, as MSN Search Finds Viral Campaign from MediaPost explains more. It left me unimpressed. More in this post.

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Google's Blogger and Unwanted Software
By Gary Price, Feb. 23, 2005

An eWeek article: Spyware Snags Blogger Users, reports on a new study by Harvard researcher Benjamin Edelman that says that "dozens" of blogs hosted by Google's Blogger/Blogspot trick visitors and install spyware and adware onto visitors' computers. The offending blogs typically prompt visitors to accept downloads through misleading pop-up windows, Edelman says, a vocal spyware critic. While a user typically must accept the download before the software installs, the prompts often attempt to trick users by disguising the download as a necessary Windows or Internet Explorer upgrade. You can also read the complete study: How Google's Blogspot Helps Spread Unwanted Software.

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Lycos Offers Dating Meta Search
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 23, 2005

Looking for that perfect partner? Lycos Dating Search now up in beta lets you meta search for across popular dating and matchmaking sites for matches. See also this ClickZ article, Lycos to Launch Dating Search.

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MSN Search Partners With American Mensa
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 23, 2005

MSN Search has teamed up with the American Mensa high IQ society to help promote the service. American Mensa now sports an MSN Search box on its home page, while MSN is to sponsor Mensa events in the US. More from this Microsoft press release: MSN Search Will Sponsor Upcoming American Mensa Events Including Mensa Colloquium 2005 and Mind Games.

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Your Phone Number On Google & Other Search Engines
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 22, 2005

Yes, Google has (as others do) a phone number search service, as we've written before. Still, it can be a shock to some people if they discover their number is "listed" on Google. Is It Too Easy To Find People On Google? looks at the issues some may have with this type of service at Google and the many other companies that offer it. But in the end, the issue is really with data providers who collect this information from public records, as the story explains.

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Getting Quality Links
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 21, 2005

Looking for ways to get quality links? Jennifer Laycock has a nice rundown on ideas to try, such as providing articles to other sites, gaining links through RSS feeds, product reviews and other ideas. See her article at Search Engine Guide: Incoming Links Aren't Hard to Come By With the Right Content.

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New Releases of Web Information Managers
By Gary Price, Feb. 21, 2005

Paula Hane has written an excellent overview of two new releases in the web information management space. In her article: Two New Web Information Managers Debut at DEMO@15, Hane takes a look at Pluck 1.0 and OnFolio 2.0. A summary in this post.

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Pandia Gives Google, Others Top Search Honors
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 21, 2005

Google gets named best search engine and other receive awards in various categories, including Search Engine Watch, in the Pandia Search Engine Awards 2004. In this post, a rundown on all the winners in each category, a nice way to find resources and tools you should check out.

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Google Adds "Small Pilot Project" to Google Scholar
By Gary Price, Feb. 20, 2005

You'll now see a link labeled "Preferences" on all Google Scholar pages and on results pages you'll find links labeled, "Web Search" and "Library Search." A bit more on these changes, in this post.

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Head of France's National Library Not Happy With Google Library Project
By Gary Price, Feb. 18, 2005

Google book plan sparks French war of words from Reuters notes that the head of France's national library is concerned with Google's plan to digitize library books, saying it's likely to favor Anglo-Saxon ideas and the English language. A bit more in this post.

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Jeeves Creates Smart Search Shortcuts for Blogs and RSS
SEW Blog, Feb. 17, 2005

I've noticed a couple of new Smart Search result boxes on Ask Jeeves. If you search for the term blogs or weblog you'll see a Smart Search box (at the top of the page) that includes numerous links with basic info about blogs and RSS that come from AJ's recent acquisition, Bloglines. A search box for the Bloglines search engine is also part of the Smart Result. A Smart Answer for RSS is also online. It includes a link to Bloglines, info about RSS standards from Harvard and links to RSS feeds from Moreover. Placing these links in a single location at the top of results page can not only help someone new to blogs and RSS access basic info quickly and easily but also help promote the Bloglines service.

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The New York Times Buys About.com
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

The bidding is over and the winner has been named. Word this afternoon that The NY Times will become the new owner of About.com. The Times will pay Primedia $410 million in cash. About.com was purchased by Primedia in 2000 for $610 million in stock. Earlier this month we linked to an article that said Yahoo, Google, and AOL were also bidding for About.com. More in the Marketwatch.com article: New York Times to buy About.com.

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New Items for Your Search and Information Retrieval Reading List
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

You've heard of PageRank but now you can read about PeopleRank for photo indexing in a research paper described in this post. Also mentioned, a paper on improving web searching through personalization.

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Google AdWords Coming to AOL Europe
By Gary Price, Feb. 17, 2005

Forbes.com has a news brief about Google expanding their relationship with AOL in Europe. According to the story, Google AdWords will now be visible on search results pages from AOL in the UK, France, and Germany.

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Bill Gates: We're David and Google is Goliath
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

On ABC World News Tonight, Bill Gates sat down for an interview with Peter Jennings. A couple of times during the interview search and MS competition with Google were discussed. A complete transcript is available here. In this post, highlights on Google as a fantastic competitor and talking to the MSN search team.

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Google's Scholarly and Digitzation Initiatives
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

In this post, a couple of articles and notes about Google's massive digitization project with libraries and Google Scholar. They all come from the library and librarian community. Google's not seen as very forthcoming with details about the project with the participating libraries. Copyright research concerns are raised. And more details.

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More Mobile Access to Yahoo Local Content: Driving Directions
By Gary Price, Feb. 16, 2005

It's now possible to send driving directions to your cell phone or mobile device with just one-click, using Yahoo Local. More details in this post.

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Just Map It!
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

If you're interested in learning about the companies that provide Google, Yahoo, MSN, Mapquest and many others the data for their digital map services, a Newsweek article: It's the Road Now Taken, offers an overview of the two companies that provide most of the data, Navteq and Tele Atlas. You'll also read about the people who drive around updating each companies database.

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On Personal Information Management
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

As web and other databases grow larger and the amount of non-web info (email, chat, spreadsheets, etc) in our lives continues to proliferate, managing the content in our personal storehouses of data, will become even more of a challenge. The Seattle Times article: UW ponders how to best store and retrieve electronic information, reports about the "Keeping Found Things Found" (KFTF) research project at the Information School at the University of Washington. The project's home page to plenty of excellent reading about what's going on at UW. More in this post.

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Video Search: Say Hello to Annodex
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

ZDNet is running a story about open source video search technology (available via a plug-in for Firefox) developed by researchers in Australia, called Annodex. More in this news release and in this post.

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Will Mr. Jeeves Get Foxy?
By Gary Price, Feb. 15, 2005

Well it looks that rumors about a Google web browser has a new companion. Discussions about an Ask Jeeves browser based on Firefox have started after Tuoc Luong, executive vice president of technology at Jeeves posted about a recent meeting between representatives from Mozilla and Ask Jeeves on the AJ Blog. Luong also talked about "contributing" Ask Jeeves Desktop Search technology to the Mozilla Foundation. The Silicon.com article: Ask Jeeves considers Firefox partnership, has more.

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Searcher Behavior Prior to Making A Purchase
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

DoubleClick in conjunction with comScore has released a new report today, Search Before the Purchase (6 pages; PDF), that looks at 12 weeks of pre-purchase search engine usage. Summary and methodology are available here. Key Findings: Many buyers complete their relevant search activity well in advance of purchase; The majority of pre-purchase search activity (both searches and clicks) involves generic terms; Branded terms dominate search activity closer to the purchase.

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Feedster Integrated into Onfolio 2.0
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

Last March, Chris had many positive things to say about Onfolio, a web search assistant. Today, a new release of Onfolio is available (ver. 2.0). It includes MANY new features including the integration of Feedster into Onfolio. Other new features in Onfolio 2.0 include complete integration with Firefox and an RSS news reader.

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Googlers Give to Democrats
By Gary Price, Feb. 14, 2005

An article in the USA Today, Google's givers go Democratic, discusses the $207,650 of donations given to federal candidates in 2004 -- 98 percent to Democrats. In October, I posted about a couple of campaign finance databases, available for free on the web, where you can search for donors by employer.

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Feed Search at Yahoo?
By Gary Price, Feb. 12, 2005

Yesterday, Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion posted an item about noticing a crawler named "Yahoo-NewsCrawler Test" in his RSS logs. The Yahoo News "test" crawler (Yahoo also has a crawler named Yahoo Newscrawler) was also seen and reported in a WMW post about two weeks ago. Rubel's posts goes on to speculate that Yahoo might be adding an feed search option to their news search database and/or offer it as a standalone service. It's a good question but Yahoo isn't offering any details about what, if anything, they're up to at this time. We asked Yahoo for a comment and received back the following: "As part of our ongoing commitment to improving the user experience we are always testing a variety of new technologies."

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More Press Attention Given to Clickfraud
By Gary Price, Feb. 11, 2005

Clickfraud continues to get mainstream press attention. This time around, the AP's Michael Liedtke has the story, Click fraud looms as threat to search engine advertising growth. Liedtke tells the story of online advertiser Tammy Harrison who says clickfraud cost her $100,000 in sales. The article also includes opinions from Chris Churchill at Fathom, Lisa Wehr at Oneupweb, and many others. Churchill says that, "Click fraud exists, but it's mostly a big paranoia," while Wehr says, "Click fraud is like a big elephant standing in the middle of the living room. Everyone sees it and knows it's there, but no one is quite sure what to do about it."

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Google and Its Betas
SEW Blog, Feb. 11, 2005

Danny wrote about Google's many betas a couple of weeks ago. It was also discussed at the Google's Analyst Day on Wednesday. During the event Larry Page said that a beta could go for as long as five years. Today, News.com has posted the story, A long winding road out of beta with more from Larry Page. And in this post, observations from Gary on beta as brilliant marketing.

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Gates: Microsoft Was Stupid
By Gary Price, Feb. 11, 2005

A new AdWeek article: MSN Draws Its Sword In Search Battle With Google, offers some more details about how Microsoft plans to promote their new search service. In this post, highlights ranging from admitting it was "stupid as hell" to allow Google to establish a clear lead in the industry and the massive ad campaign for MSN now underway.

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Become Shopping Search Beta Now Open
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 11, 2005

Want to beta test the new Become shopping search engine? The public is now invited to take part, if you're willing to register. Some background on Become in this earlier post. Want to discuss? Visit our forum thread, Become.com Launches Public Beta

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Google Local Pulls More Than Froogle
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 11, 2005

Interesting interview from Fortune, Google: Going Beyond the Web, where Google surprisingly says that its Google Local service was getting more page views than its Froogle shopping search service, even before the recent placement of Google Local on the home page. Also some comments from director of consumer web products Marissa Mayer (who I agree deserves a much better title) on the long-term "moonshot" project of Google Print.

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GooglePedia? Google Wants to Help the Wikipedia
By Gary Price, Feb. 10, 2005

A post at Dirson kicked off a Slashdot discussion about Google offering to host "some" Wikimedia content. What this precisely means is not spelled out. A post on the Wikimedia wiki says that "terms" of the offer are being discussed and that a private IRC meeting is scheduled for March. It also mentions that Google's offer "does not mean" there will be a requirement to include advertising on Wikimedia sites. Stay tuned. And in this post, a bit more about Wikipedia.

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4info.net Enters Mobile Search Space
By Gary Price, Feb. 10, 2005

I've blogged many times about the rapidly growing world of mobile search and info tools. Chris has also written about mobile search in SearchDay. Today, I've learned about another new company entering the mobile space called 4info.net. In this post, a bit more on what they're offering -- so far, they've made a good impression with me.

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CNET Gains Web-Based Feed Reading Service
By Danny Sullivan, Feb. 10, 2005

Steve Rubel's CNET to Launch Web-Based RSS Reader article has the scoop on a new web-based feed reading service called Newsburst that's now live.

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