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The Search Engine Report April 2, 2001 - Number 53

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THE SEARCH ENGINE REPORT
April 2, 2001 - Number 53

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/
Copyright (c) 2001 internet.com corporation

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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/.

The report has over 165,000 subscribers. 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=ser0104

Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

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

In This Issue

+ Conference News
+ Time For The Search Dividend?
+ Inktomi Launches New Paid Inclusion Program, Search Improvements
+ Google Adds Languages, Phone Book And More
+ AltaVista Submission Changes
+ Moreover Powers AltaVista, NBCi News Search
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Go.com Becomes GoTo
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ I-Search Paid Participation Survey
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Excite Gets Search Refinement Feature, Paid Listings Coming
+ Interesting Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

Until now, Search Engine Watch has essentially been a one person operation (me), in terms of editorial content. However, the amount of search engine-related news has continued to increase, which is why I'm glad to welcome aboard Chris Sherman as Search Engine Watch's new associate editor.

Since 1998, Chris has done an outstanding job as the Web Search Guide for About.com, so he's no stranger to search engines. In particular, Chris has developed an expertise in invisible or deep web issues and specialty search tools.

Chris will be taking on a new, daily newsletter about search engines that will be offered from Search Engine Watch in the very near future. This newsletter will provide searching tips, looks at new search tools and keep you updated with breaking headlines about search engines. We'll let you know, when it is ready for sign-ups!

Of course, I'll continue to be working as I always have on the monthly newsletter that you currently receive, as well as producing articles throughout the site.

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Conference News

The first two-day Search Engine Strategies conference was held last month in Boston, and judging from the feedback I received from attendees, it was a rousing success. I've included some articles about the conference in the Articles section at the end of the newsletter. My thanks to all the speakers, roundtable facilitators, sponsors and exhibitors who made the conference a success -- plus to all those who came, especially Search Engine Watch readers. It's always great to interact firsthand with people and hear about their concerns with search engines.

Our next conference comes to San Francisco on August 16th and 17th. We'll again have the first day focusing on search engines and promotion issues, with the second day featuring panels designed to help Internet searchers better understand how to use the search tools available to them. A preliminary agenda should go up toward the end of this month. Those interested in sponsoring or exhibiting should contact Frank Fazio Jr, [email protected], for more information. Attendees can signup to be notified of when more session information is available via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies: San Francisco 2001
http://searchenginestrategies.com/

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Time For The Search Dividend?

When the Cold War ended, there was much talk in the US about the public receiving a "peace dividend," since defense funding could be reduced. Similarly, we may be seeing the beginning of a "search dividend" coming to searchers, now that several of the major search engines are maturing their new business models. That means instead of the news from the search front being dominated by the latest ways to buy your way into search engines, you may instead be hearing more about actual search improvements. A full article exploring this potential trend can be found below:

Time For The Search Dividend?
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/03-dividend.html

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Inktomi Launches New Paid Inclusion Program, Search Improvements

Inktomi has rolled out a new paid inclusion program aimed at large content providers. In addition, the company has also unveiled new changes to how the service indexes and ranks web pages.

"Index Connect" is a program that offers cost per click pricing to those wishing to list 1,000 pages or more with Inktomi. In contrast, Inktomi's existing "Search/Submit" program, introduced in November, charges a per page fee. The new program is designed to be more economical for big publishers with lots of content.

"It's aimed at much larger sites than what we were doing with Search/Submit," said Troy Toman, Inktomi's general manager of search. "For them, per page pricing isn't good."

Among the initial partners are companies and sites such as eBay, Epinions, IDG and RollingStone.com. They can now ensure that selected content from their web sites is included in the Inktomi index and refreshed according to schedules that they determine. Without Index Connect, they would instead depend on Inktomi doing a generally random selection of documents from their sites and typically checking for changes only once per month.

Inktomi is also extending the program for free to charitable, educational and other not-for-profit organizations, allowing them greater control over their content. Examples of these included in the initial launch of Index Connect were KQED public broadcasting in San Francisco and the Hunger Project. Inktomi says that not-for-profits interested in participating in Index Connect should use the standard request form and indicated that they are non-profit. Arrangements will then be made for indexing.

In addition to the new paid inclusion program, Inktomi also has rolled out changes to its search engine that it hopes will improve the relevancy of its results.

Chief among these is human modeling. Inktomi has been using an internal editorial staff to run massive numbers of searches and then select documents that they consider relevant. The company has then been tweaking its various relevancy controls to try and automatically match the human selections. In this way, the company hopes to model the human qualities of what's relevant into its ranking software.

"We didn't make huge changes in the algorithm," said Paul Karr, Inktomi's director of web search. "Essentially, what we are able to do is take the modeling technology and apply it to the database. We can fine tune it, experiment, and try to look at what's best."

In addition to the human modeling, Inktomi says it has improved its use of link analysis and is now also doing automatic proximity searching. For example, if you were to search for "george bush," it would favor pages with those words appearing on them in that order.

Inktomi has also introduced index blending into its search results, which means that you may get information from the LookSmart directory, the paid inclusion index or the non-paid content that comes from crawling the web blended seamlessly in the same set of results. This also means that Inktomi could include news content, shopping content or other specialty search results into the results set.

A longer version of this article is available to Search Engine Watch members.
Learn more about becoming a member at
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?source=0104ser-ink

Inktomi
http://www.inktomi.com/

Inktomi Index Connect
http://www.inktomi.com/products/search/connect.html

More details about the pay-per-click inclusion program.

Inktomi Search/Submit Partners
http://www.inktomi.com/products/search/pagesubmission.html

More details about Inktomi's self-serve paid inclusion program.

Pay For Placement?
http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/paid-listings.html

Past articles from Search Engine Watch about Inktomi's paid inclusion programs and other paid inclusion programs can be found here.

Inktomi Gets Relevant
PC World, March 14, 2001
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,44566,00.asp

Another look at Inktomi's relevancy and indexing changes.

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Google Adds Languages, Phone Book And More

Want your search engine to talk to you like a Swedish chef? The new "Bork Bork Bork" option is just one of new language interfaces you can set for Google. The search engine has also unveiled a new page translation option and a phone book feature.

From the Google preferences page, users can now find options to have Google speak to them in Afrikaans, Catalan, Czech and Russian, which are just some of the many language options that have been added. Much of the work is now being done by volunteers, who provide translations for words such as "search," "cached" and "search within results" in the language they are working on.

In addition to traditional languages, volunteers are currently working on releases for Elmer Fudd, Hacker and Klingon. Bork Bork Bork is already live. It makes Google speak like the Swedish chef from the Muppets (not like the failed US Supreme Court nominee, Robert H. Bork).

The language interface options I've discussed control how Google talks to you. In other words, Google can make its "Next" link at the bottom of the results page appear in whatever language you've selected. However, that language option won't carry through to the pages you view from Google's search results. For that to happen, you need a page translation option -- and there's good news here, because Google's just added one.

Next to the title of each search result, you'll now see a "Translate this page" link for any page originally written in Italian, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. Selecting the link will bring up a translation of the page in English. Using the preferences page, you can even cause Google to automatically translate the page descriptions it displays into English for any page originally written in one of the languages I've named.

Be aware that the program is still in beta, so you might encounter bugs. Google also plans to add new languages and features, in the near future.

Leaving languages behind, another new feature at Google is the "PhoneBook" offering. Just enter the first and last name of someone you know, along with a US zip code, and Google will bring back any matching telephone and address information available from public records at the top of the search results page.

Up to two matches are displayed, and if there are more than this, the rest are available by selecting the "More listings" option. In addition, the address information links to online maps.

Other ways to trigger phone book information include entering a name with a telephone area code, US city or US state. For example,"george w bush texas" brings back two Dubya's that live in Texas, though I strongly suspect neither of them is the US president. You can also enter just a phone number to see who it is registered to, turning Google into a cool reverse look-up directory.

Speaking of telephones, Google is also working on something it calls "Voice Search." This would allow you to speak into a telephone and see your results appear in a traditional browser or WAP phone. There's no release date yet for this service, but Google already has a partnership with BMW to build it into future versions of their cars.

In some other Google developments:

+ Google Korea has now gone live, and Korean users will eventually be automatically directed to it.

+ Google's AdWords program has now been released for its German site. You'll find a link on the Google Germany home page, with instructions in German on enrolling in the program.

+ Google, which has been providing backup results to Yahoo.com and 17 other Yahoo sites, is now also going to be powering secondary results at Yahoo Japan.

+ Dr. Eric E. Schmidt, currently chairman and CEO of Novell, has joined Google's board of directors as chairman.

Google
http://www.google.com

Google Preferences
http://www.google.com/preferences

Set your preferred language and other Google options here.

Translate Google Into Your Language
http://services.google.com/tc/Welcome.html

Hold on there, all of you who want to make Google speak Picard just so the search button will say "Engage." When you sign up, you have to select a language you are fluent in from a preset list. Once enrolled, that's the language you get to work on. You can't work on languages not already on the list, and you won't be able to work on any language you've not initially said you were fluent in. What if the language you want isn't on the list? Try contacting Google first using the email address on the translation FAQ page, tell them what you want to do, and see if they'll add it. If so, then enroll.

Translate Web Pages Automatically With Google
http://www.google.com/machine_translation.html

More information about the page translation feature can be found here.

Google Special Features: PhoneBook
http://www.google.com/help/features.html#wp

More about the Google phone book.

Google PhoneBook Name Removal
http://www.google.com/intl/en_extra/help/pbremoval.html

The phone and address information Google provides comes from public records, but you may prefer to make it less accessible via Google. If so, use the form above. This will cause Google to suppress display of your information.

Google Korea
http://www.google.co.kr

Google Germany
http://www.google.de

Novell's Schmidt joins Google at critical time
News.com, March 26, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-5251704.html

Schmidt is expected to add a firm business hand to Google, which also continues to predict it will be profitable later this year. Good information here on Google's business activities. For the first time that I've seen, Google discloses some actual figures as to how much it earns from its deal with Yahoo: around several million dollars per quarter. Google's income is also split roughly between search licensing, as with Yahoo, and advertisement sales on the Google site itself.

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AltaVista Submission Changes & Other Developments

Forget everything you ever knew about submitting to AltaVista. A completely new system went up at the site about two weeks ago, one that promises faster addition of web pages to the index, as long as you are not using automated submit software.

When you access the Add URL page, it will display a submission code that must be entered. The code is a series of letters and numbers, but because they are displayed in a graphic format, automatic submission tools cannot read the information. As a result, AltaVista says the new system has stopped submission robots in their tracks.

This is important because submission tools generally send AltaVista so much spam that "good" documents get lost among the junk. For instance, AltaVista said at the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in Boston that virtually all of the submissions it receives come from robots, and that 95 percent of all submissions are considered spam. Thus, AltaVista explained, stopping the robots means that the good stuff can get through. This caused the audience of mostly webmasters, web marketers and search engine optimization specialists to break out into applause.

Coinciding with the new submission code, AltaVista has also removed the five pages per day, per web site limit it used to observe. There is no longer any limit as to how many pages you can submit to AltaVista, and the company says new pages should appear within a week.

In other AltaVista news, a bug has been preventing it from performing phrase searches properly. For example, if you enter several search terms surrounded by quotation marks, AltaVista is supposed to find pages that contain that exact phrase. This bug seems to be fixed now, but if you find it returning, AltaVista suggests prefacing the phrase search with a + symbol, such as:

+"when in the course of human events"

AltaVista has also launched four new regionally-oriented services: Basque, Galician, Catalan and one for New Zealand. In addition, its BabelFish translation service can now translate from Chinese, Japanese and Korean into English, and vice versa.

A longer version of this article is available to Search Engine Watch members.
Learn more about becoming a member at
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?source=0104ser-av

AltaVista
http://www.altavista.com

AltaVista Add URL Page
http://add-url.altavista.com/cgi-bin/newurl?

AltaVista Basque
http://es-eu.altavista.com

AltaVista Galician
http://es-gl.altavista.com

AltaVista Catalan
http://es-ca.altavista.com

AltaVista New Zealand
http://www.altavista.co.nz

Offers nearly 3 million New Zealand-specific web pages, as well as access to AltaVista's global listings.

AltaVista BabelFish Translations
http://babelfish.altavista.com

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

Moreover Powers AltaVista, NBCi News Search

Information from news search engine Moreover is now available at both AltaVista and NBCi, giving users of these services easier access to quality news content from across the web. A full article on the changes can be found below:

Moreover Powers AltaVista, NBCi News Search
SearchEngineWatch.com, March 15, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/03-moreover.html

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Go.com Becomes GoTo

The Go.com web site has switched over to providing search results from paid listings service GoTo.com, which puts Disney in the odd situation of earning money from the same company it had to pay millions to last year, after a lawsuit over logos. Also see links at the end of the story about Go.com survivors trying to revive Infoseek. The full story can be found online, below:

Go.com Becomes GoTo
SearchEngineWatch.com, March 9, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/03-go.html

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I-Search Paid Participation Survey

In March 2001, moderator Detlev Johnson of the I-Search mailing list asked his readers about their experiences with search engine paid participation programs, such as paid placement, paid inclusion and paid submission. The results can be found online, below:

I-Search Paid Participation Survey
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/01/03-isearch.html

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Excite Gets Search Refinement Feature, Paid Listings Coming

Excite's new "Zoom In" search refinement feature debuted on the site last month, and the service will be gaining paid listings later this month.

You'll find a new Zoom In button on the Excite home page, next to the regular search button. It also appears by the search box, on the results page. When you enter a word, pushing Zoom In will open a new window to suggest other terms that might help you refine your search. These are primarily a list of the most popular searches related to the word you originally looked for.

If you see a term you like among the Zoom In suggestions, select it, then push the "Apply and Search" button. Your selection will be sent as a query to Excite.

Zoom In also has a spell checker built in, so that if you are uncertain how a word is spelled, it may offer the correct way. For example, search for "leonardo dicapreo," and Zoom In will suggest "leonard dicaprio (sp)." The (sp) part indicates that this is a spelling correction. Similarly, try "geneology," and you'll instead get the correct spelling, "genealogy." Even "speling" gets "spelling" as a suggestion.

I did a quick check on the status on spell checking with other services, and here's a recap of those offering it in some way:

+ Ask Jeeves: Some common spelling mistakes will be corrected through behind the scenes mapping. For example, a search for "leonardo dicapreo" is changed to bring back results matching "leonard dicaprio." A search for "geneology" is also changed to the correct spelling. However, "speling" is not changed to "spelling."

+ Google: Spelling suggestions appear at the top of the results list, with the words "Did you mean" next to the correct spelling, shown as a link. Select the link to rerun the search with the correct spelling. Google caught "speling" as incorrect, but missed "leonardo dicapreo" and "geneology" (though it did get "genielogy"). This is a very limited test, so Google's spell checking may have been much better if I had done a comprehensive set of queries.

+ MSN Search: As with Ask Jeeves, there is behind the scenes mapping for popular terms.

+ Yahoo: Again, behind the scenes mapping for popular terms occurs, as with Ask Jeeves.

Other places such as Direct Hit and NBCi had correct spellings among their "related searches" suggestions, but unlike Excite's tool, they didn't call these out in a way that you could recognize them.

In other news, Excite was the last remaining major search engine not to offer some type of self-serve paid placement listings. Now they are coming to the service, through a partnership with FindWhat.com.

Similar to GoTo.com, FindWhat allows advertisers to appear higher in its search results if they agree to pay more money through an auction system. The distinction between the two has been that GoTo has distribution agreements with several major search engines to carry its results, giving its advertisers far broader reach. FindWhat's deal with Excite now gives its advertisers reach into one of the web's most popular search engines.

The paid listings are supposed to begin at Excite by mid-April. The top four results for a particular keyword at FindWhat will be carried at the bottom of Excite's search results page. They will also appear on Excite-owned WebCrawler.

Excite
http://www.excite.com/

Major Search Engines
http://searchenginewatch.com/links/Major_Search_Engines/The_Major_Search_Engines/

Links to other major search engines mentioned above.

Search Assistance Features
http://searchenginewatch.com/facts/assistance.html

Has more about Related Searches functionality at several major search engines.

FindWhat
http://www.findwhat.com/

GoTo
http://www.goto.com/

GoTo Going the Distance, Despite Industry-Wide Turmoil
InternetNews.com, March 22, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article/0,,12_720651,00.html

GoTo's still losing money, but it expects the loss to be less than predicted, with revenues to likely exceed $45 million in the first quarter of this year.

I-Search GoTo Special Edition
I-Search, March 13, 2001
http://list.audettemedia.com/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?A1=ind0103&L=i-search

People continue to vent about the increase in minimum bid price at GoTo.

Buying Your Way In
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/paid.html

A guide to where paid placement and other paid participation listings appear at major search engines.

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

Smarter Tools to Scour a Wider Web
Business Week, March 26, 2001
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_13/b3725051.htm

Review of four search companions for your desktop.

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Making Search Engines Speak Naturally
Interactive Week, March 26, 2001
http://www.zdnet.com/intweek/stories/news/0,4164,2700967,00.html

Focuses on two natural language search companies, EasyAsk and LingoMotors, who were at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Boston.

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

MusicCity Emerges as Top Napster Alternative
InternetNews.com, March 21, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/streaming-news/article/0,,8161_720231,00.html

As Napster struggles in the face of a court-order restricting what files it can offer, free MP3 fans are flocking to MusicCity. The question is, how long until the music companies turn their attention MusicCity's way?

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

Search Engine Strategies Hits Hub
Boston.internet.com, March 21, 2001
http://boston.internet.com/news/article/0,1928,2001_719691,00.html

Recap of my presentation on the basics of submitting to search engines.

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A Linking-Campaign Primer
ClickZ, March 15, 2001
http://clickz.com/article/cz.3579.html

Building links can help with search engines and traffic in general. Here are tips on how to approach a link building campaign.

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

Accelerating toward a better search engine
RedHerring.com, March 9
http://www.herring.com/index.asp?layout=story&channel=10000001&doc_id=1450018145

Focuses on some promising new players in the search space. Unfortunately, to set up these players, the story positions existing search engines as failures. It goes as far as to suggest that we've had no improvements in search over the past 11 years since Archie appeared. "Anyone who has used search engines knows they're stupid," the author states. And yet, millions use search engines each day and find what they are looking for. Search engines have problems, but they've made great strides forward. What's stupid is calling these tools stupid, since they usually find something useful from millions of records within seconds.

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Writing and Ranking for the Search Engines
ClickZ, March 7, 2001
http://clickz.com/article/cz.3519.html

Jill Whalen and Heather Lloyd-Martin begin a new monthly column on ensuring that your page content is well written from a search engine's perspective. An introduction to the concept, and what they'll be providing in columns to come.

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Sun Snags InfraSearch in Move Towards P2P
InternetNews.com, March 6, 2001
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,,3_706221,00.html

Sun is to acquire InfraSearch, the company which hopes to produce P2P searching applications.

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Teacup Rescue Dogs Vancouver
Village Voice, March 5, 2001
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0110/gallagher.shtml

Review of the Disturbing Search Requests site, which logs the strange ways people reach web sites via search engines.

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iWon: What Value for the Information Professional?
Online, March 2001
http://www.onlineinc.com/onlinemag/OL2001/net3_01.html

Review of the iWon service, from the perspective of the professional researcher.

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Interview: Shari Thurow
Interviews.com, March 2001
http://www.ibizinterviews.com/sharit1.htm

Shari Thurow is one of the Search Engine Strategies conference's most popular speakers, covering ways to make existing content in a web site more friendly to search engines. A succinct summary of her tips and advice on achieving good rankings.

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