The Search Engine Update, Oct 1, 2002, Number 134


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

+ Early Bird Discount for SES Munich Ends Tomorrow!
+ Death Of A Meta Tag
+ RealNames Clones Causing Confusion
+ No More Inktomi Free Add URL
+ AltaVista Sales Pitch Suggested Paid Inclusion Boost
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)


Hello Everyone--

The Nielsen//NetRatings Ratings page has been updated with search-specific figures for August 2002. Google continues to be the most used search engine, in terms of "search hours." In terms of audience reach, Yahoo remains the most popular search engine, but MSN Search is practically tied with it -- and Google is close approaching both of them. You'll find the page at the URL below:

Nielsen//NetRatings Search Engine Ratings

Also, last issue I had an article about Overture's Match Driver service. I'm still working on the follow-up to that article, which should be ready for the next newsletter. However, after having talked with Overture, let me at least warn those of you using its search term suggestion tool to perform keyword research.

Match Driver is bundling a variety of different terms into the "primary" terms that are displayed through the search tool. As a result, the figures are going to be skewed. This makes little difference to those who use the tool for advertising on Overture. However, those using the tool for "natural" search engine optimization efforts should consider depending upon it less. An alternative is, and you can learn more via the last review of the service, below. And again, I will be revisiting the issue in more depth.

Researching Search Terms With WordTracker
The Search Engine Update, July 17, 2001


Early Bird Discount for SES Munich Ends Tomorrow!

Thinking about coming out to Search Engine Strategies in Munich this month? Sign-up by tomorrow to save on the registration fee! The show runs on Oct. 17 & 18 and offers a variety of sessions about improving editorial listings in search engines and how to advertise effectively on them. There will also be an emphasis on German search engine marketing. Both search engine marketing experts and representatives from major search engines themselves will be speaking, including Allesklar, AltaVista,, Espotting, Google, Inktomi, Lycos Europe/Fireball, MSN Search, Overture & Yahoo A full agenda can be found below:

Search Engine Strategies Munich

There's also a last chance to attend Search Engine Strategies in the United States this year, when it comes to Dallas on Dec. 11 & 12. You can sign-up via the URL below to be informed when the conference agenda is ready.

Search Engine Strategies Dallas


Death Of A Meta Tag's Andrew Goodman wrote recently in an essay about meta tags, "If somebody would just declare the end of the metatag era, full stop, it would make it easier on everyone." I'm happy to oblige, at least in the case of the meta keywords tag. Now supported by only one major crawler-based search engine -- Inktomi -- the value of adding meta keywords tags to pages seems little worth the time. In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead. And like Andrew, good riddance, I say! More about the change and the future of the meta description tag can be found below:

Death Of A Meta Tag
The Search Engine Update, Oct. 1, 2002


RealNames Clones Causing Confusion

Earlier this year, I wrote about the closure of the RealNames system, which allowed Internet Explorer users to navigate directly to web sites by using ordinary words in place of URLs. Since then, I've received a steady stream of emails from people who are hearing from other companies that suggest they've taken over the role that RealNames used to have with Microsoft. No one has, and the article below explains how confusion is developing.

RealNames Clones Causing Confusion
The Search Engine Update, Oct. 1, 2002


No More Inktomi Free Add URL

Last newsletter, I wrote that HotBot UK had switched from using Inktomi results to FAST results. Another change also happened with that -- the last dependable free add URL page feeding Inktomi also disappeared. I asked Inktomi for alternatives and was told that none exist -- free links are now added on a crawler-only basis. More details can be found below:

No More Inktomi Free Add URL
The Search Engine Update, Oct. 1, 2002


AltaVista Sales Pitch Suggested Paid Inclusion Boost

An AltaVista sales pitch tells's Andrew Goodman that paid inclusion will boost his pages. AltaVista then recants and says it was all just a misunderstanding. More on the story can be found below:

AltaVista Sales Pitch Suggested Paid Inclusion Boost
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 1, 2002

Search Engine Resources

PageRank Uncovered

This is a 56-page PDF report examining Google's link analysis system. I've skimmed through it, and there's lots of interesting analysis, along with lots of math and technical details. Of course, you can save yourself the read by just remembering this key point from the report: "My advice, therefore, is this get links from sites that seem appropriate and have good quality, regardless of their current PageRank. If they are relevant to your site, and are high quality sites, they will either help your PageRank now, or will do so in the future." And that is what I've always said -- and the More About Link Analysis article ( helps you put this into practice.


Google Fight

Enter two words or phrases and see who wins at Google based on result count. Yahoo easily beats Google in a face-off I tried. There's also a "Best Fights" list where you can review what others have done.

SearchDay Articles

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

LookSmart Revives Wisenut Search Engine
SearchDay, Sept. 30, 2002

LookSmart has quietly relaunched its Wisenut search engine, bolstering its technology and refreshing its index with a brand new crawl of the web.


Happy Birthday, Inktomi!
SearchDay, September 26, 2002

Inktomi, the biggest search engine you may have never heard of, opened its virtual doors to the public seven years ago today.


Super Searcher Guides to the Best of the Web
SearchDay, September 25, 2002

The Super Searchers web page is a gateway to thousands of exceptional web sites in ten subject areas, featuring hand selected links from some of the savviest web users on the planet.


New Search Engine Showdown Weblog
SearchDay, September 24, 2002

Super searcher Greg Notess has redesigned his essential Search Engine Showdown web site, and is now updating it frequently via a newly launched weblog.


Google Launches Revamped News Site
SearchDay, September 23, 2002

Google's news site now crawls more than 4,000 sources continuously, and in real time, making it a strong player in the online news arena.


A Meta Search Engine Roundup
SearchDay, September 19, 2002

Completing our roundup of meta search engines, this list focuses on services that are competent and in many cases worthy of a look, but don't meet all of our evaluation criteria.


The Best and Most Popular Meta Search Engines
SearchDay, September 18, 2002

Meta search engines look pretty much the same up front, but their approach to presenting results varies widely. Here's a list of Search Engine Watch's pick of the best and most popular metas for searching the web.


The Big Four Meta Search Engines
SearchDay, September 17, 2002

Though there are dozens of useful meta search engines, InfoSpace is the industry gorilla, operating the four arguably best known and most heavily used properties.


Meta Search Engines: An Introduction
SearchDay, September 16, 2002

This week, SearchDay focuses on the world of meta search engines, looking under the hood at how they work and profiling the major players and their offerings


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

Search Engine Articles

The Search for the Fastest Engine
Fast Company, Oct. 2002

Profile of FAST and its challenge against Google. For the record, I don't recall saying that FAST has a architecture more scalable than its competitors. What I would have said is that this is what FAST claims -- and it's also what Google and Inktomi also claim.


Librarianship after Google
American Libraries, Oct. 2002

The question librarians should be asking isn't "Is Google going to put us out of business" but instead are search engines going to do so. And since we've had libraries survive the roughly eight years that we've had functional search engines, I think they'll make it a bit longer. Yes, librarians need to understand how search engines will fit in with their patrons' needs and habits. However, the world's knowledge is not entirely on the web and thus not all in Google. Librarians still have an important role to play.


Terry Semel Thinks Yahoo Should Grow Up Already
Fortune, Sept. 30, 2002

Thanks to Terry Semel, Yahoo is serious about earning money. However, Semel did not roll out Yahoo Express, as this article claims. That happened back in February 1999 and made mandatory for commercial sites in November 2000. The only change since Semel arrived was to change the fee into an annual charge, which happened last January.


Google Unveils Mid-Market Search Appliance, Sept. 30, 2002

Google releases new versions of its enterprise search "appliance."


Google launches European ad service
Reuters, Sept. 30, 2002,,t269-s2123018,00.html

Europeans and anyone around the world have already been able to buy ads on Google for ages. The only thing new here to my understanding is that Google now accepts payment in local currencies such as UK pounds and Euros.


Overture, Microsoft Renew "Search Pane", Site Deals, Sept. 30, 2002

Overture renews deals to provide paid listings to MSN Search and within MSN Search results shown in Internet Explorer's "Search Pane" through December 2004 and December 2003, respectively.


Are Yahoo Sponsor Listings Worth The Investment?, Sept. 30, 2002

Being a "sponsored" site at the top of a Yahoo category page is completely different than being a sponsored site through an Overture listing on the Yahoo search results page. Is the separate program worth it? Not for one listing that was tested, but they still might be for others, this article says.


Behold the Mighty Pterodactyl: Meta Search Lives!, Sept. 29, 2002

Review of InfoSpace's various meta search services. Oddly contrasting comments from InfoSpace executives, on the one hand admitting stuffing meta search results with paid listings has degraded search quality while on the other suggesting that the press and advocacy groups have created an "artificial" divide between paid and spidered results. No one is saying that consumers shouldn't see ads. They are simply saying that ads ought to be easily identified as ads. Moreover, the US Federal Trade Commission has recommended that search services make clear distinctions or face possible action (see FTC Recommends Disclosure To Search Engines, Despite this, all four services run by InfoSpace: MetaCrawler, Dogpile, Excite and WebCrawler, still completely fail to delineate paid content according to the recommendations. This not only serves consumers poorly but waving such a red flag in front of the FTC is probably not in InfoSpace's interests, either.


Yahoo Puts the Brakes on Pay-to-Search Service, Sept. 27, 2002

Want to access Northern Light's special collection documents? You'll have to go back to Northern Light's own site ( to get them, as Yahoo has pulled out of a cross-promotional deal to carry the material.


Why the search engine is not always right
Reuters, Sept. 26, 2002

Last month, a search for "go to hell" listed sites such as Microsoft, Disney and AOL in Google's top results. These Google Blips, as I call them, get discovered from time to time. Interestingly, Google clearly took action to fix this shortly after news started going around. Missed seeing it? No worries, Fantomaster has a screenshot: For past blips, see, which tells you what happened to President George W. Bush, as well as Liv Tyler and how Microsoft in the past was rated "more evil than Satan" by Google.


Google News Could Change Online News Industry
Editor & Publisher, Sept. 25, 2002

I love the new look at Google News and the ability to "browse" headlines as much as anyone. But has powered newsfeeds in nearly 400 browsable specialty news categories for over two years. And arguably, it has caught the web by storm, given the number of web sites that carry Moreover's news feeds. And Yahoo's Full Coverage area has already been consolidating headlines from around the web for even longer than Moreover. Given this, it's hard to see why Google suddenly gets to be the harbinger in a change in online news reading habits, as suggested in this article. The stage for such a change was already set long ago.


All the News Google Algorithms Say Is Fit to Print
New York Times, Sept. 24, 2002

Google's new news service is just the latest way the company is encroaching on the portal space, suggests this article. I disagree. It's not the latest; it's actually the first. Portals offer "sticky" features that get you to stay with them or start your day with them, such as email, stock portfolios and personal homepages. Google has offered none of that, until now.

Maybe shopping might be considered a portal feature, in that it could be a destination. However, Google has not "expanded" its offerings in shopping as this article says in a way that makes it out to be a portal. That's because the only shopping feature it has is the ability to search offline print catalogs -- not something any portal I know of offers. The company probably will eventually release some type of online shopping service, executives have suggested when I've talked with them in the past. However, this service fits perfectly with Google search-oriented goal. With searches for products often estimated in the double-digits, the question really is why hasn't Google met user demand by offering a true shopping search service yet?

Overall, none of Google's past actions in my view have been encroaching on "portal" features until now. The revitalized Google News search service offers a compelling reason for some people to decide to start their day at Google. People already go to Google everyday, but those are what I'd call "on demand" visits. You go there when you need to search for something, and then you leave. The "stickiness" of your visit is very brief, though the cumulative total of time you may spend could be substantial. Google News changes all this. Like the AOL start-up screen or a My Yahoo personal page, it could be that Google News will evolve into some people's home pages.

Given this, it's natural that Yahoo -- a major portal -- is going to have to drop Google, right? Sure, the potential is definitely there. On the other hand, it could very well be that Yahoo might like to have Google's technology to help power its human-compiled "Full Coverage" news areas. Don't count coopetition out, yet. As for Yahoo being responsible for Google's early growth -- nope, I'm not convinced. Google was well on its way to success without Yahoo. The Yahoo deal in my view helped build Google's reputation as a "real" company to potential partners, but for web searchers, Google was already pulling in the users without Yahoo.

Want a real reason why portals would dislike Google? It's not for "portal" features that Google would add. It's simply because search is the biggest portal feature of all, and Google continues to get raves about it. That's hard for the portals to compete with.


Search engine bulks up to handle Internet jungle
Detroit Free Press, Sept. 24, 2002

Mike Wendland comes away impressed with the latest version of Copernic's meta search software, due out later this month


FindWhat Pushes Back with Private Labeling, Sept. 23, 2002

As I wrote last month (, FindWhat is providing the technology behind the new paid placement service offered by Terra Lycos. This is different than providing paid listings itself. Instead, FindWhat is allowing Terra Lycos to run its own service using FindWhat's toolsets. The company seeks to enable more companies to do the same, as a way to distinguish itself from Overture.


Rival FindWhat Seeks to Undermine Overture, Sept. 23, 2002

Will the move by FindWhat to enable others to run paid placement services have an impact on Overture. Hard to predict, says George Mannes.


Expert advice online at a price
San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 23, 2002

Verne Kopytoff puts paid answer services from Google, Yahoo and Keen to the test and comes away happiest with Google.


Search firm takes heat for sharing data, Sept. 20, 2002

Daniel Brandt of Google Watch now has taken aim at a second search engine over privacy issues: FAST, claiming the company is using webbugs to share search queries with DoubleClick in violation of Norwegian laws. FAST, which is based in Norway, says it is planning to comply with legal requirements.


FAST Breaks the Flash Barrier, Sept. 18, 2002

Nice details here on how FAST is interacting with Flash files.


The Overlooked Killer App: Paid Inclusion
ClickZ, Sept. 18, 2002

Recap of major paid inclusion programs with some interesting stats on query length.


LookSmart Renews AltaVista, Expands MSN Deals, Sept. 18, 2002

LookSmart renews its deal to provide directory listings to AltaVista for another year and to MSN through December 3, 2003.


Paid Search-Engine Listings Gain Popularity
Wall St. Journal, Sept. 17, 2002

Anecdotes and observations about companies making use of paid listings.


Grading the Search Engines
Fortune, Aug. 29, 2002

Fortune tests and rates search engines, though actual queries aren't shown. Yahoo gets the top score, an A, followed by Google with B+, with B and MSN Search with a B-. Others were also rated and scored lower than B.


Search Engine Commando resurrected
Pandia, Sept. 2002

OK, so there was the TopDog ranking software that as I've previously reported, had its brand damaged due to a dispute between two parties over who had rights to the name. Then there was also Search Engine Commando, submission software that got a bit of buzz last year then seemed to disappear this year. Now, some of the people behind one of the TopDog products have purchased the rights to use the Search Engine Commando name for a new combined ranking and submission product. This review from Pandia explains more.

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