Newsgroup Searching: And Then There Was One
Last year, when DejaNews changed its name and pulled away from being a newsgroup-centric service, RemarQ became a strong alternative for those wishing to search discussions in Usenet. But last month, RemarQ became no more, as new owner Critical Path pulled the plug.
The change means that Deja is now the best remaining way for people to search through newsgroup postings. However, posts can currently only be searched back through May 15, 1999, due to a recent move of Deja's servers. The company says other archived information, stretching back to March 1995, remains intact. It really a matter of finding the most economical way of accessing the huge amount of data, the company says.
"Since 90 percent of our Usenet users only source postings from the last year, it was a priority for us to get that piece of our Usenet service up and running smoothly ASAP. We are bringing the rest of the archive back, but are looking at more cost effective methods for housing it. Currently the archive consumes 1.5 terabytes and requires us to maintain about a hundred servers to support it. The archive should be back up before the end of the year, maybe sooner," said Lisa Lahde, Deja's senior director of marketing.
Lahde also said Deja continues to offer newsgroup searching as one of its core products. "With regards to shutting down our Usenet service, we have no plans to do that at this time. We understand what a valuable asset it is to our users," Lahde said.
AltaVista was the third major player in the newsgroup searching game, but it stopped doing its own indexing last November, when it switched to RemarQ. Now that RemarQ is gone, so is newsgroup searching on AltaVista -- the first time this has happened since AltaVista launched at the end of 1995. The company says there are no plans to seek a replacement. After a quick check at other major services, only HotBot and MetaCrawler seem to still include Usenet searching as a feature -- and it's powered by Deja, in both places.
In a related development, web-wide searching at Deja is now being offered through a new partnership with Northern Light. After performing a search at Deja, a "Search Again" option appears at the bottom of the results page. Clicking the "on Northern Light" link sends your search to Northern Light.
You'll find links to owner Critical Path here, plus an offer to use the Supernews service, also owned by Critical Path. That service is not free, nor does it offer searching of past newsgroup posts, as did RemarQ.
Deja Usenet/Newsgroup Discussion Area
Here's the area within Deja devoted to newsgroup searching.
Whose Link Is It Anyway?
Wired, July 26, 2000
Details recent complaints that have arisen over Deja automatically linking product mentions in Usenet posts to commerce portions of its web site.
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Covers the change of the DejaNews usenet site into Deja consumer recommendation site.
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