Over the past three months, iWon has been adding new search resources to its site, which offers users the chance to win money as they search the web or undertake other portal activities, such as checking email or stock quotes. It's a move away from the less-is-more trend that you see at places such as Google, AltaVista's Raging Search and recently revamped Excite search engine. However, iWon feels providing a variety of results serves its users better.
"A lot of people think simple is better and web pages [only” are better," said George Nimeh, iWon's vice president of search and special projects. "But for the time being, we are trying to surface multiple data in a clean and uncrowded way.
Previously, search at iWon brought up information primarily from Inktomi's crawler-based index of web pages. Now information from several search providers, such as LookSmart, Direct Hit and Moreover, is being presented.
Inktomi's crawler-based index remains the power behind the main portion of iWon's listings. Do a search from the home page, and it is information from Inktomi's index that appears in the "Matching Web Sites" section that makes up the bulk of the iWon results page. iWon is also now making use of Inktomi's new 500 million page index, so you should consider it among your choices when seeking unusual or obscure information.
Previously, Inktomi also provided iWon with categorized results. Now, LookSmart fulfills this function. At the top of the results page is a "Related Web Directory Categories" section. The categories listed here come from LookSmart, and clicking on a category link displays an editor-compiled list of web sites related to your search topic.
Although LookSmart information is being used, the listings and categories may not match those exactly at LookSmart. iWon is still using the directory building tools that Inktomi provides to shape the LookSmart directory into a format that best suits iWon. For example, after searching for travel, a category called "Reservations" appears. LookSmart also has a "Reservations" category, but no actual sites are listed within it. Instead, you'd have to drill down an extra level to come to web sites. At iWon, a change has been made that ensures some sites exist at the top level.
On the far right hand side of the results page is a "Most Popular" result section. This provides access to listings from the Direct Hit service, which shows what web pages are most popular based on what people click on in search results (see article below, for more about Direct Hit). For any search, suggested topics will appear. Selecting a topic brings up web page listings for that subject. For example, if you search for "science," the Most Popular section will suggest "science projects" as one of several popular results categories. In turn, clicking on that category up Direct Hit's actual listings related to science projects.
At the bottom of the results page is the "Matching News Articles" section. These are matching stories from across the web, as found by the Moreover news search engine (see article below for more about Moreover).
There's also an "iWon Search" box that appears on the right-hand side of the results page that lets you do a specific searches. "Full search" runs your query against all the providers already mentioned. "Top 10 web sites" just runs the search against Direct Hit results. "News articles" lets you search Moreover's news listings. "MP3/audio" is a new option, which allows you to search for multimedia content. Those listings are provided by Inktomi, based on its crawls of the web.
RealNames is also present at the service. On the results page, you'll see an "Internet keywords" link. Clicking on that will take you either directly to a site that has an exact match in RealNames listings or to a list of sites that have RealNames which contain your search term. The near matching will be a boon to webmasters with registered RealNames, as it can generate significant traffic, as does AltaVista because of its near matching. For searchers, it would be better if only exact matches were reported, in my opinion.
iWon has also just announced a new partnership with the Fact City facts search engine will also be added. Information from Fact City will be available at iWon later this year.
How to get listed in iWon? It's a matter of being listed with its search providers. You should submit your site to Inktomi, and using the HotBot Add URL page is still the best way to do this. For LookSmart, also use its submit service. You can also submit to Direct Hit, through ranking well in Direct Hit will primarily depend on whether your site attracts clicks via Direct Hit's partner sites. Finally, the recent article about Moreover covers how sites with news-related content might get picked up by this service.
iWon Wins Users
The Search Engine Update, Feb. 3, 2000
Past article about iWon that covers information about how the site gives away prizes to attract users.
How Inktomi Works
More information on submitting to Inktomi.
How LookSmart Works
More information on submitting to LookSmart
Using Direct Hit Popularity Results
General information on how Direct Hit results work
How Direct Hit Works
More specific information on how Direct Hit works, with submission tips.
Breaking The News Barrier
The Search Engine Update, July 25, 2000
More about the Moreover news search engine, with submission tips.
Using RealNames Links
General information about using RealNames links to reach web sites.
How RealNames Work
More specific information about how RealNames works, with tips on how near matching can generate traffic via AltaVista (and now, iWon).
Fact Search Engines Available
The Search Engine Report, July 5, 2000
A bit more about Fact City and what a "fact" search engine provides.