The Search Engine Update, September 15, 2000, Number 85

September 15, 2000 - Number 85

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
Copyright (c) 2000 corporation


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


In This Issue

+ Site and Conference News
+ GoTo Expands To AOL, Netscape
+ AltaVista Lays Off Staff, Promises Profits, New Direction In Search
+ Snap Changes Name to NBCi
+ Revised To Launch
+ Position Checkers Out At Northern Light
+ Go2Net Gets Paid Links From Ask Jeeves
+ Interesting Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)


Site and Conference News

Hello Everyone--

My fingers are raw from typing -- I've just finished a complete revision of the How Yahoo Works page. It's now so large I've broken it up into three parts. In it, you'll find information that I've covered in past newsletters, such as the Business Express program and the submission support email address. I've also added some new tips, such as dealing with Yahoo Shopping, so it's probably worth a read by anyone -- even if you've kept up with Yahoo changes through the newsletter.

How Yahoo Works

Password Finder

We're still working on the web site for the next Search Engine Strategies conference. I'll let you know when a URL with an agenda is ready. The next one is planned for Dallas, on November 9. In addition to the usual panels and presentations on search engine marketing issues, we're having some concurrent sessions on other search engine issues, such as adding a search engine to your web site, vertical search and more. We're also expecting to have some new roundtable discussions for advanced search engine marketing issues in the morning, while the main track focuses on basic issues. Use the form on the page below to be emailed when the conference site is ready.

Search Engine Conferences


GoTo Expands To AOL, Netscape

Paid listings from GoTo are now appearing at Netscape and will soon appear at AOL Search, through a new deal between GoTo and AOL. At Netscape, the top two paid results from GoTo for any term are displayed in the "Partner Search Results" section of the results page.

So, if you wanted to be listed for a particular term, you'd need to go to GoTo, bid so that you were number 1 or 2 for the term there, and then you'd show up in the Partner Search Results at Netscape. At AOL, it will be the top three links from GoTo that are displayed. They are to go live sometime within the next three months.

Unlike the situation at Netscape, AOL Search says it will be labeling the paid links from GoTo in some way as advertisements. Both Netscape Search and AOL Search continue to derive most of their listings from the Open Directory.


AOL Search

Netscape Search

How GoTo Works

Basic tips on getting listed.

GoTo Redevelops, Reaches Out
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 4, 2000

Recent article that talks about other partnerships that have GoTo results appearing in places across the web.


AltaVista Lays Off Staff, Promises Profits, New Direction In Search

AltaVista has tightened its belt in the quest to become profitable by letting 25 percent of its staff go today. The company expects the restructuring and other changes will help it become profitable by the end of next January. Simultaneously, the company announced that it would continue to focus more on search, aiming for a "third generation" service that would intelligently determine what information best satisfies a user, such as automatically providing shopping results rather than web page matches or serving up different results based on a user's past queries.

Third generation? AltaVista defines the first generation of web search as service that relied upon analyzing the location and frequency of words on the page to determine ranking. The second generation is said to be the addition of off-the-page ranking criteria such as link analysis and clickthrough measurements. AltaVista hasn't yet rolled out portions of its third generation service, but expect more details, when they do.

AltaVista is also forming a new "Information-Marketing Services" group that looks to earn new revenues for the company by working with web marketers and content owners. This could include options such as paid listings or a pay for submission service similar to what Inktomi announced last month. However, it could also encompass services such as allowing marketers to query on what users are searching for or to discover for which queries their pages are being selected. AltaVista is not yet providing specifics, other than to say that the new services won't impact its editorial product.

"The key decision we have made is that we won't compromise the objectivity of our search results," said Rod Schrock, AltaVista's president and CEO.


Inktomi To Offer Paid Submit Option
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 2, 2000

More details about Inktomi's pay for inclusion plans.

'More Than 15 Percent' to Lose Jobs at AltaVista on Friday
Business 2.0, Sept. 13, 2000

Layoffs were estimated to be more than 15 percent, based on this early report. AltaVista has since confirmed them at 25 percent.

AltaVista set to cut staff, rev search engine, Sept 14, 2000

Another early article on the AltaVista actions.

Search Engine News

There are sure to be more articles about the AltaVista's business aspects appearing shortly. Watch this page, and headlines to them should appear as stories are posted.


Snap Changes Name to NBCi

The Snap site is currently undergoing changes, with the most dramatic being a name change to NBCi. NBCi is the interactive division of US television network NBC, and it the major owner of Snap. The company has decided to rebrand and consolidate its Snap directory and Xoom web page building service under the NBCi name and within a common site,

NBCi (Snap)

What's New at Snap and,566,-3271,00.html

More details from NBCi on the change.


Revised To Launch

Go has been saying that a rework of its site is due this month, and Reuters is reporting that it has already happened -- though the site still looks unchanged. The Reuters article is below, and I'll follow on any changes, when they actually appear.

Go Beta

You might keep an eye over here, in case the new site is tested at this URL, first.

Disney search service update is a Go
Reuters, Sept. 15, 2000


Position Checkers Out At Northern Light

I've always figured that with so many webmasters wondering about their rankings, position checking software must make up some noticeable chunk of the queries search engines receive. Indeed, it's possible that some popular terms are so "popular" in part because webmasters vying for position are constantly running queries to check on their rankings. A recent post from Northern Light's CEO David Suess sheds new light on the topic. In a message to members of the I-Search mailing list, he said users of WebPosition Gold generated half a million queries per day at his service, before the software program was recently blocked. Suess says that other robotic query agents are also blocked if they have no agreement in place with Northern Light.

I-Search Digest #252

To see the comments, go to the link above, click on September 2000, then select issue #252 and look for the "NL Block" post.

Northern Light

WebPosition Gold


Go2Net Gets Paid Links From Ask Jeeves

The paid link system run by Ask Jeeves has now expanded to appearing at the Go2Net service. Search at Go2Net (where the main results are powered by Go2Net-owned MetaCrawler), and the paid links appear on the left-hand side of the screen. At MetaCrawler, they appear on the right-hand side, within a box. At either place, nothing identifies them as advertisements.



Ask Jeeves Text Sponsorship Network

Sign-up here to have paid links displayed at Ask Jeeves, Direct Hit, Go2Net and elsewhere.

Paid Links At MSN Search And Direct Hit
The Search Engine Update, April 24, 2000

More about paid links at Direct Hit. The MSN Search program also described has now closed.

Search Engine Articles

Stunt: AskOJ vs. Ask Jeeves
eCompany, October 2000,1640,7515,00.html

Humorous look comparing questions put to OJ Simpson at the site versus questions put to Ask Jeeves.


Analysis: Search Patterns
Adweek, Sept. 11, 2000

Good overview of the search engine optimization industry.


Portal Peril
ClickZ, Sept. 5, 2000

Basic overview of purchasing advertising at portals.


Making a Game of Web Searches
Wired, Sept. 4, 2000,1284,38496,00.html

A new game show may be coming, and you have to drive a search engine to win.


Yahoo's Grand Vision for Advertising On the Web Takes Some Hard Hits
Wall St. Journal, Sept. 1, 2000

Hard look at unhappy advertisers at Yahoo and how the service is having to work harder for its deals. A paid subscription to the Wall St. Journal is required to read this.


Great Name, But Will the Search Engines Like it?
Afternic, Aug. 29, 2000

I've published article in the newsletter before about domain names and search engines, but here's a recent interview where I was asked more about them. You should also see the ABCs and URLs page, if this topic is of interest to you:

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