The Search Engine Update, July 15, 2002, Number 129

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

About The Update

The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to Search Engine Watch members. Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

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

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies "Big Show" Next Month!
+ Call For Speakers
+ FTC Recommends Disclosure To Search Engines
+ Coping With Listing Problems At Google
+ LookSmart Extends Credits
+ Revisiting Overture's Cost Gaps
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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

Hello Everyone--

In the last newsletter, I mentioned that I was still working on the story about the FTC guidelines for search engines. That story -- a massively long one -- is now online. I've rerun the link below, for those who may have missed it.

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

Search Engine Strategies "Big Show" Next Month!

In August, our first three day Search Engine Strategies conference comes to San Jose, California. This is our "big show" for the year and features a new special track on enterprise search on the third day, as well as a number of new "clinics" designed to go beyond talking about search engine marketing issues and instead show changes by working with example web sites.

Of course, the event as always continues to feature sessions about improving both editorial listings in search engines and advertising on search engines. Confirmed search engines that will be speaking include AltaVista, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, FAST, Google, Inktomi, LookSmart, Lycos, Overture and Yahoo. More information can be found below, as well as a fully updated agenda.

Search Engine Strategies San Jose
http://www.intmediaevents.com/sew/summer02/

Two day shows follow for Germany in October and Texas in December. Information, dates and the ability to register for when agendas are ready for these events can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com

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

Call For Speakers

For our Search Engine Strategies show in California next month, I have some last openings on a few different panels. If you are interested, see the descriptions listed on the page below:

Call For Speakers
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/speakers.html

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

FTC Recommends Disclosure To Search Engines

The US Federal Trade Commission has made a landmark recommendation to the search engine industry that it should improve disclosure of paid content within search results. The action came in response to a deceptive advertising complaint made last year by watchdog group Commercial Alert. The article below takes a detailed look behind the cause of the complaint and the FTC's recommendations.

FTC Recommends Disclosure To Search Engines
SearchEngineWatch.com, July 2, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/07-ftc.html

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

Coping With Listing Problems At Google

Many web site owners have a Googlecentric view of the search engine world -- it's the only search engine that they care about. Unfortunately, that's not all good for Google. Site owners fret about problems being listed at Google, and the lack of a guaranteed channel to address their concerns could lead to a PR problem similar to that which Yahoo once endured. A look at some common problems, remedies and what might come from Google for site owners.

Coping With Listing Problems At Google
The Search Engine Update, July 15, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/07-google.html

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

LookSmart Extends Credits

This was the month that LookSmart was going to cut off people who failed to "activate" accounts created for them when LookSmart moved all paid small business listings into its new cost-per-click LookListings Small Business program earlier this year. Now the company has backed away from the cutoff threat.

Previously, LookSmart promised $15 worth of free clicks per month for 20 months to anyone who activated their account before mid-July. Now, those free clicks will be provided through Dec. 11, 2003, regardless of whether you activate. Of course, if you use up your free clicks in a particular month, your site will no longer be listed in the LookSmart network. This hasn't changed.

More details from LookSmart can be found via the letter from LookSmart chairman and CEO Evan Thornley, below.

Important change: No need to activate
http://listings.looksmart.com/help/sbl_letter.jhtml

LookSmart Aims To Mend Fences
The Search Engine Update, June 3, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/06-looksmart.html

Last coverage of changes to and background on the LookListings Small Business program

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

Revisiting Overture's Cost Gaps

Last issue, I explained how allowing auto-bidding at Overture means that pricing has to be based off of max bids, rather than actual cost paid. As a result, there are some serious "cost gaps" that can occur. The situation still doesn't sit well with some people, and Steve Harrison is one who is proposing an answer. I'll explain what I understand him to be suggesting, as well as why I don't think it ultimately works.

Revisiting Overture's Cost Gaps
The Search Engine Update, July 15, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/07-costgaps.html

=========================
Search Engine Resources
=========================

TouchGraph GoogleBrowser
http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html

Enter a URL, then see a pretty picture showing you interlinks between that URL and other sites based on Google's "related" command (also called Similar Pages and see http://www.google.com/help/features.html#related). However, don't misinterpret this as an illustration of actual site interlinking. Pages related to a URL are not necessarily pages that link to that URL. Instead, they are simply pages that Google deems to be similar in terms of content.

TouchGraph is fun to play with, but usabilitywise, I doubt most people will keep going back to it. For example, want to find sites similar to Greenpeace? Enter the Greenpeace URL (you remember it, right?), then push a button at TouchGraph and you'll get a very cool-looking graph showing lots of sites similar to Greenpeace. Or, search for Greenpeace on Google (no need to remember the URL), then click on the Similar Pages link under its description, and you'll get a nice, orderly list of site, along with descriptions that can easily be read at a glance.

We've had these type of visual tools before, and they've yet to transform searching. Perhaps TouchGraph will be the one, but I wouldn't expect that. The author behind the tool explains more about why he thinks a graph view is superior: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/4024-3-15.htm#msg38

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

PubConference '02
http://www.pubconference.com/

PubConference returns to London on October 12th, for the second annual gathering there of internet marketers wishing to discuss search engine optimization in an informal setting. Backed by members of WebmasterWorld.com, there's a minor US $69 registration fee. Yep, I'll be there, the one drinking ample amounts of cider!

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

Typically Spanish
http://www.typicallyspanish.com

Bilingual directory and search engine for Spain-related sites.

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

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

131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies (excerpt)
SearchDay, July 11, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0711-linktips.html

In search engine optimization, "off page" factors have become more and more important as they relate to rankings. In particular, solid link popularity can literally make or break a site with the search engines.

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

Linking Legalities: What You Need to Know
SearchDay, July 10, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0710-linkalert.html

Powerful interests are threatening anyone creating "deep links" to their web sites. Should you be worried? Eric Ward, a leading authority on web links, cuts through the bluster to pinpoint the important issues.

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

Deep Linking Lunacy
SearchDay, July 9, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0709-deeplink.html

A Danish court has ruled that "deep linking" is illegal, and pundits say this decision spells doom for the Net. Should you be worried? Hardly.

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

Banner Ads We'd Like to See
SearchDay, July 8, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0708-banners.html

Most searchers have trained themselves to ignore banner ads. Here is a novel collection of parody ads that push the "truth in advertising" adage to a hilarious extreme.

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

AltaVista Introduces Prisma Results
SearchDay, July 2, 2002
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0702-avprisma.html

AltaVista has launched Prisma, a new search refinement and assistance tool designed to help users improve their results with just a few additional clicks.

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

What's New at Lycos
SearchDay, July 1, 2002
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0701-lycos.html

Lycos has made a number of enhancements aimed at improving both ease of use and the relevance of search results.

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

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

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

Yahoo earnings again in black
News.com, July 11, 2002
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-942888.html

Finally an official announcement on the status between Google and Yahoo. Google will continue to provide backend results to Yahoo until September. Oh, and Yahoo made a profit.

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

A Review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA
The Search Light, July 8, 2002
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/A_Review_of_WPG_v2.0_BETA.htm

Kalena Jordan takes an in-depth look at the latest version of WebPosition Gold, which supports rank checking on more search engines worldwide, along with other product enhancements.

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

Top of the Heap
Business 2.0, July 2002
http://www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,41488,00.html

David Gallagher -- not the teen heartthrob from 7th Heaven, but freelance writer David Gallagher -- wanted to be tops for his name in Google. So he enlisted readers to start linking to his site. About a month later, he was rewarded by moving up to be number one. Favorite line in this article? "Sneers Matthew Cutts, a Google software engineer," about Gallagher success. I've talked with Matt many times in person and find it hard to imagine him with a sneer on his face :) Second-favorite line, from Cutts: "There are people out there who warp search engine rankings for money." Would these be those warp engineers you hear so much about in Star Trek? Finally, all you PR0-obsessed worriers -- the number two site for David Gallagher is a PR0 page never actually spidered by Google.

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

Dot-com noir
Salon, July 1, 2002
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/07/01/spyware_inc/

I doubt I've ever had so many people message me about a story as with this one -- and even through their emails, you could see their jaws dropped open in disbelief. It would be unfair to characterize the entire SEO industry based on the antics attributed to Website Results here. However, there is no doubt some companies continue to pull in traffic in dubious ways. Of course, few of them will be acquired for the $95 million stock deal that happened when 24/7 took on Website Results.

I wrote about the acquisition at the time it happened and was dubious that 24/7 knew exactly what they were getting and whether it was acceptable to search engines. I was told the company had done "due diligence" that involved talking with major search engines about what Website Results was doing. "Their reaction to optimization was neutral to slightly positive," the company said. Somehow, I doubt they would have been neutral to slightly positive about what is described in this article. See http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/00/09-seo.html for my original article.

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

Ask Jeeves and 24/7 Launch Fee-Based Service
Ecommerce Times, July 10, 2002
http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/18545.html

You've got to love the irony here. In the same month that the Salon horror story about Website Results is published, the same division of 24/7 is named as a provider of the new Ask Jeeves "Index Connect" program, which allows "trusted feed" style, cost-per-click deep listings. FYI, Ask Jeeves tells me 24/7 is one of several providers offering the service. Did-it.com, Inceptor.com and TrafficLeader.com are also third-party providers, plus you can contact an Ask Jeeves sales rep directly via http://static.wc.ask.com/docs/advertise/advertising.html.

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

TopDog software controversy
Pandia, June 12, 2002
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2002/19-topdog.html

TopDog is a rank checking software package and a popular competitor to WebPosition. Indeed, some people preferred TopDog given that until recently, it provided more support of non-US search engines. However, a trademark and copyright dispute has broken out between the makers of TopDog, DC Micro, and Michael Lange, who is either a former employee or a former partner, depending on who you ask. As a result, there are now two different sites pushing a "TopDog" product.

Pandia provides background to the dispute in this article. In further developments since then, the old topdog.com web site run by DC Micro has been temporarily closed as part of the lawsuit. Those looking for the product from DC Micro, which ran topdog.com, should now visit http://www.topdogky.com. Those looking for the product from former DC Micro employee Michael Lange should visit http://www.topdogsoftware.biz/. If you never owned TopDog, then you could probably buy from either company, though how the lawsuit pans out could impact the support you get. If you are a previous TopDog owner, DC Micro's site is probably the place you have the financial relationship with, though Lange's site offers a discount for upgrading to his product.

Overall, the dispute leaves one cold about going for either product, if you are looking for long-term security. Fortunately, there are other choices. See a list of tools here, http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/toolbox/index.html#rankers

==========================
List Info
==========================

How do I unsubscribe?
+ Follow the instructions at the very end of this email.

How do I subscribe?
+
The Search Engine Update is only available to paid members of the Search Engine Watch web site. If you are not a member and somehow are receiving a copy of the newsletter, learn how to become a member at: http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html

How do I see past issues?
+
Follow the links at:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/updates/

Is there an HTML version?
+
Yes, but not via email. View it online at:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/updates/currentsu.html

How do I change my address?
+ Send a message to customerservice@internet.com

I need human help with my membership!
+ Send a message to customerservice@internet.com. DO NOT send messages regarding list management or membership issues to Danny Sullivan. He does not deal with these directly.

I have feedback about an article!
+ I'd love to hear it. Use the form at
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/contact.html.