THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
Aug. 20, 1997 - Number 11
About The Update
The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to those people who have subscribed to the Search Engine Watch web site.
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The date of my online chat discussion about submitting to search engines has been changed, due to the Labor Day holiday in the US. It will now be on Saturday, September 6 at 10 a.m Pacific Time. This is a week later than originally planned.
I'll be covering the key design tips that webmasters should keep in mind relating to search engines, and there will be a question-and-answer period after the presentation. The chat will be held in the PlaceWare Online Auditorium.
If there are any changes, I'll post a notice on the What's New page. If you plan to attend, you might want to visit PlaceWare before hand, to get familiar with how the online presentations work
Search Engine Watch What's New
Search Engine News
Lycos and Barnes & Noble Partner
Last month, the focus was on Amazon cutting deals for preferred placement with Excite and Yahoo. This month, competitor Barnes & Noble and Lycos have tied the knot. The two companies announced a partnership on Aug. 20.
Both companies will cross promote each other on their respective web sites. Lycos is to receive a percentage of sales made via its promotion of Barnes & Noble book offerings.
Lycos Press Release
Barnes & Noble
LookSmart Enlists ISPs
LookSmart is to provide customized versions of its service to major national and regional ISPs, including Internet America, Rocky Mountain Internet, Concentric Internet Services, and Micron.
LookSmart to be ISP home page
News.com, Aug. 14, 1997
Netscape, Yahoo Under Fire Over Guide Listings
Inter@ctive Week had an interesting article about Switchboard and GTE SuperPages going after Netscape and Yahoo over changes in the Netscape Guide By Yahoo.
The GTE action is most interesting. GTE is suing both companies because a prominent link to its site was dropped off the guide's Yellow Pages section in place of a map linking to regional phone companies.
GTE continues to be listed prominently on the Netscape Net Search page. Apparently, the "civil conspiracy" that Netscape and Yahoo are accused of by GTE doesn't affect this page.
Still, the actions by both companies highlight the importance that the Netscape site continues to wield over driving traffic to search-related resources.
Netscape Guide By Yahoo: Yellow Pages
Netscape Net Search Page
Yellow Pages Publishers Challenge Netscape Effort
Inter@ctive Week, Aug. 13, 1997
Excite and WebTV Renew Partnership
Excite and WebTV are continuing their partnership, where Excite is the default search engine for WebTV users. The two companies have been teamed up since Oct. 1996. WebTV users who select the "Search" button from the WebTV home page tap into Excite listings.
Excite Press Release
Excite, WebTV Extend Tie-Up
Wired News, Aug. 12, 1997
ScoreCheck Watches Positions, Copyrights
The ScoreCheck monitoring service allows web site owners to check on the positions of their sites in major search engines or taps into search engines to check for unauthorized use of intellectual property, such as trademarks or copyrighted material. The service launched Aug. 1.
The free service checks checks the position of up to two URLs (and any sub-URLs) in several search engines, in relation to specified keywords. Results are delivered via email. The paid service offers an expanded monitoring service with over 10 search engines, along with online reports. Reports can be scheduled for daily, weekly or monthly delivery and cost $4 each.
Yahoo: Bye-Bye Visa, Hello Retailers
An article in WebWeek sheds a bit more light on the huge payoff Yahoo gave Visa last month, and why this is a good thing for Yahoo. Apparently, bailing out of the joint shopping site that the companies had planned means Yahoo is free to sell psuedo-content placements within its site to online retailers such as Amazon.
An interesting quote is from Yahoo business development VP Jeff Mallett, who talks about putting retailer content into "the normal Yahoo experience."
The normal Yahoo experience used to be listing sites, and highlighting those editorially that were worthy. This continues, of course, but there's a growing emphasis of prominent placement to those willing to shell out the big bucks.
Yahoo's not alone in this, as discussed in last month's report, and many analysts think such moves are necessary for Yahoo, and the other major search services, to survive.
NET MONEY: End of Visa Deal Shows Yahoo's Growing Self-Confidence
WebWeek, August 11, 1997
Search Engines Get Fancy With Ads
Several search engines have unveiled a range of next-generation banner ads. Excite, Infoseek and Lycos all debuted ads in August that do more than sit on the page.
Lycos is currently testing two new ad formats. V-Banner delivers video messages without requiring browser plug-ins, while Enliven delivers ads that interacts with visitors. The new ad formats were launched Aug. 13 and will be tested for 30 days. Companies testing the ads on Lycos include Microsoft, Budweiser, Volvo and HP.
The V-Banner ads are designed to let advertisers convert broadcast campaigns for use on the web. The technology adds video to banner ads and requires no special plug-ins for most users. The V-Banner product is from InterVU.
The Enliven ads lets viewers respond to questions, then directs viewers to specific pages within an advertiser's site, depending on responses. The ads can also gather data such as how long a viewer interacts with the ad; how many times they click; how long their cursor hovers on an ad and where they are directed to. The Enliven ad product is from Narrative Communications.
Infoseek also announced that it would be using Enliven ads on Aug. 13. To see them, visit Infoseek and search for "Narrative" or "Enliven."
Meanwhile, Excite is now offering Java-enhanced banners to its advertisers, which will allow advertisers to deliver multiple messages, images and animated effects through the ad.
The ads will be tested throughout August, with four charter advertisers. Excite will also run banners of its own featuring its free email service, MailExcite. Java-enhanced banners will become a regular offering to advertisers in October.
In addition to interactive message delivery, the banners can also log specific about how long it was viewed, where a person clicked and other specifics. The ads use Zapa's MicroSites technology.
Lycos Press Release
Infoseek Press Release
Excite Press Release
Search Engine Notes
HotBot Launches Instant Indexer
HotBot has quietly become the third major search engine to offer instant indexing of web pages. Any page submitted to HotBot via its Add URL page is usually added within a day or two.
Meanwhile, a system problem caused a number of sites to be dropped from the index. HotBot seems to be quickly recrawling, and the new Add URL feature will ensure you can get your key pages back in quickly.
HotBot Add URL Form
Lycos Pro Using Old Index
Lycos Pro is tapping into an older database of pages than is the main Lycos service. Originally, both databases were synchronized with each other. Now, new pages can be found in Lycos that don't appear when searching Lycos Pro. I'll be checking on this and will report how long the situation is likely to continue.
Infoseek Launches Redesign
Infoseek unveiled a new look on Aug. 20. More about the design change will be covered in the next update.
AltaVista Page Limits
Earlier this month, it appeared that AltaVista was crawling only about 40 pages per site, for many domains. Then, the search engine appeared to do a major crawl of some additional sites. AltaVista has said in the past that there is no set limit of the number of pages indexed from a particular site, and this was reiterated when I did a brief follow-up. Not every page will be indexed from a site, but neither is there a designated limit, AltaVista has stressed. I'll be following up further and will keep you informed.
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