The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003, Number 144

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Hello Everyone--

It really has been an unprecedented month. Two search engines are set up for acquisition by Overture in as many weeks, while Google buys a blogging firm and also releases an entirely new advertising product, contextual links. I've been writing like mad, to keep up with it all. I'm also traveling this week, so I have no ability to print and proof the articles in this issue of the newsletter. Expect some typos!

In addition to the newsletter, I've also been busy doing site updates:

* The Nielsen//NetRatings Ratings page has been updated with search-specific figures for January 2003. Google remains the most used search engine, in terms both reach and "search hours."

* The Searches Per Day page has been updated with current self-reported figures for many major search engines, including a new 250 million searches per day figure just in from Google. I've also added a second chart that estimates US-based searches per day by working off of total search hours recorded.

* The Search Engine Results page and the Who Powers Whom Search Providers Chart have been updated with new changes mainly applicable to HotBot, while the Major Search Engines page has also had minor updates. You can find all of these pages via the What's New page, below:

What's New
http://searchenginewatch.com/whatsnew.html

As for the members-only area, I've also been busy there:

* The Yahoo Sponsor Matches page has been updated to reflect that Yahoo.com now lists four sponsored matches at the top of its pages rather than three plus shows new paid listings partnerships for its sites in Scandinavia and Japan.

* The How MSN Search Works and How HotBot Works pages have been updated.

* The How Google Works page is undergoing a major reorganization and update that should be done by the end of the month, if not sooner.

* A new Outsourcing Search Engine Marketing page has been added that better organizes material that was on the More About Search Engine Marketing page

Links to all of the pages can be found via the members-only area What's New page:

What's New: Members-Only Area
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/new.html

Finally, last newsletter I said I'd be bringing you an update on the iGetNet keywords system. I've had to push that back an issue, given all the other news that's developed since the last newsletter. I will be coming back to it.

In the meantime, I've had a new report of someone selling "MSN 8 Keywords." MSN 8 -- which is a special browser that those using the MSN Internet Access service mainly use, does have a keywording system built into it similar to AOL Keywords. However, the keywords are extremely limited and used only for navigation to MSN's own properties, the last I heard from MSN. In short, be extremely wary if you are offered this product from someone.

Next issue, I expect to report if indeed MSN has started selling these type of keywords. I suspect not -- no is the answer I always get, every time I follow up on these type of product pitches.

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Search Engine Strategies In Boston Today, Sydney This Month, London In June

I'll keep this short -- if you are reading this newsletter today, March 4, you're missing the first day of Search Engine Strategies Boston! But you can still attend the second and third days, which are jam-packed with search engine marketing-goodness.

Later this month, from March 26-27, Search Engine Strategies returns to Australia. I won't be "chairing" that show, but I am organizing the one after that, in London from June 10-11. Also, we expect to announce the dates for the San Jose, California show shortly. These will likely be August 18-20.

Agendas for Boston and Sydney can be found via the web site below. Brief information for London is also available, and you can sign-up to be notified for when the agenda is ready. San Jose, when the final dates are announced, will also be posted at the site below.

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com/

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Google Throws Hat Into The Contextual Advertising Ring

Last week, Google unveiled a new method of distributing its paid listings, placing them on web pages, as opposed to the traditional means of inserting them into search results. The new product, Google Content-Targeted Advertising, will likely accelerate the already rapid growth of contextual advertising. It also sees Google offering its second non-search product within a month, following on the company's acquisition of blog-firm Pyra Labs. The article below looks at the growth of contextual advertising, players in the space and the impact Google will have on the advertising product -- as well as the impact the product will have on Google.

Google Throws Hat Into The Contextual Advertising Ring
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-google.html

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Up Close With Google's Contextual Ads

This article looks closely at how Google's new contextual ads system operates. Learn how pages receive ads, the way Google is adding publishers to its network and answers to other questions.

Up Close With Google's Contextual Ads
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-upclose.html

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Overture CEO Ted Meisel Speaks On Acquisition Plans

Not since 1996, when Excite purchased both Magellan and WebCrawler, have we seen one search engine company gobble up two others. Even then, Excite let a couple of months pass between acquisitions. Overture announced its two acquisitions within the space of just two weeks. The rapid move has people speculating what Overture will do next. Not another acquisition any time soon, assures Overture president and CEO Ted Meisel. As for how Overture will digest and use what's already on the plate -- AltaVista and the web search unit of FAST -- Meisel provided further guidance on some key questions during an interview with me last week.

Overture CEO Ted Meisel Speaks On Acquisition Plans
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-meisel.html

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MSN Search: We're In No Rush To Change

Over the past two months, there's been a run on crawler-based search engines. Yahoo intends to buy Inktomi. Overture plans to buy AltaVista and AllTheWeb. The question everyone is wondering is what impact these changes will have on MSN Search. General manager John Krass clarifies some of the rumors and speculation that have been swirling around his popular service. Yes, MSN examined AltaVista but was not "serious" about buying it. In fact, Krass says that for the time being, outsourcing for MSN's search results seems the best option. "We're looking at all of our strategic options right now. What's the best thing to do long term, not short term?," he said.

MSN Search: We're In No Rush To Change
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/03/03-msn.html

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Google Acts To Protect Trademark

When Google won the Search Engine Watch award for Outstanding Search Engine in January, I explained to readers how Google's success as a search engine was underscored by the increasing use of its name as a synonym for search, a consumer tribute but a trademark owner's nightmare. Now Google's first publicized action to protect its trademark from being transformed into a generic word has occurred, as explained in the story below:

Google Acts To Protect Trademark
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/03-googled.html

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Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved

AltaVista, the Google of its day, is now to be gobbled up by Overture. It's a famous name that's seen better days. But AltaVista's not the only major search player to have faded, as years have gone by. Come along and see the early search engines that have died, those that have been transformed, who's survived and how the "new" players that are no longer so young are doing, in the article below.

Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/03-wherenow.html

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Overture To Buy FAST Web Search Division

Overture announced its intention last month to purchase a second crawler-based search engine in as many weeks, that owned by FAST. The company operates the AllTheWeb.com web site and provides results to other search engines such as Lycos.com. An overview of the deal, with slight updates from when originally written, is in the article below:

Overture To Buy FAST Web Search Division
SearchEngineWatch.com, Feb. 25, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-fast.html

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Search Engine Resources
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Google Spell Checking
http://www.google.com/help/features.html#spell

Google's Spell Checking feature won as "Best Search Feature" in the 2002 Search Engine Watch Awards (http://searchenginewatch.com/awards/2002winners.html#feature). In giving the award, we said our only fault with it was that if you spell something wrong, and if Google also sees that it has no matches for your incorrectly spelled word, then it will automatically correct your spelling and generate a new search results page. It's not a problem for most people, but advanced searchers may find the behavior disconcerting. Well, Google listened and informs us that automatic generation of a new search results page now no longer happens.

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

AlltheWeb Introduces New Look, Features
SearchDay, March 4, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0304-atw.html

AlltheWeb has streamlined its look and feel, and has added new features that should appeal to casual and power searchers alike.

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What Would Google Vote For?
SearchDay, March 3, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0303-gfight.html

A new site puts a spin on the 'am I hot or not' craze, by using Google to assess the relative popularity of opposite or 'competing' search terms.

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Singingfish Multimedia Search Engine Launches Paid Inclusion
SearchDay, Feb. 27, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0227-singingfish.html

Singingfish, the search engine that holds a Google-like dominance in providing multimedia searching to audio-visual players, is launching a paid inclusion program this week.

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Cybercafe Search Engines
SearchDay, Feb. 24, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0224-cyber.html

On the road and wanting to get online? These cybercafe search engines can help you find internet access in hundreds of cities around the world.

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Hot Trends in Search Engine Marketing
SearchDay, Feb. 20, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/03/sd0220-ses-seo.html

Perhaps it's a terrible cliche, but the only thing that experts agree is constant in the search engine marketing business is constant change.

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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

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Search Engine Articles
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Google lands Web search patent
News.com, Feb. 26, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1024-986204.html

Google gets its first patent, covering the company's method of ranking search results.

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Majority of Online Stores Fail Search Engine Test
InternetNews.com, Feb. 27, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/1730881

Getting people to your web site is only half the battle. Once they arrive, you want to convert them into buyers. Sadly, a survey find two-thirds of the 25 top online retailers have poor site search capabilities, meaning that potential customers might miss out on what they are looking for.

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Searching for dollars
Boston Globe, Feb. 23, 2003
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/054/business/Searching_for_dollars+.shtml

The story is familiar to most of you. Paid listings have become a major revenue source for portals, given the demise of banners. Good refresher on how things have changed, over the years.

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Google is the net dominator
The Guardian, Feb. 27, 2003
http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/comment/0,7496,904006,00.html

And yet another of the endless articles suggesting that only Google can make sense of the web. "If you want to find something online, you have to use Google. Without Google, the net is a random mess." No, you do not have to use Google. You have good, alternative choices such as AllTheWeb, Inktomi or Teoma that also do an excellent job of cleaning up that mess. Run on over to HotBot.com, and you can easily try all three and Google as well.

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Espotting on the Overture/Fast deal
Pandia, Feb. 26, 2003
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2003/05-espotting.html

It took Overture-competitor Espotting a day to figure how to spin the Overture deal to acquire FAST's web search division. When it finally issued a statement, the company suggested that Overture's partners would see the purchases as threatening (at least one has privately confirmed this to me), since Overture will operate the AltaVista web site (which has been dying a slow death in terms of popularity) and the AllTheWeb.com site (which receives virtually no search traffic compared to other major players). The company also says it expects deals in place with AltaVista and AllTheWeb to continue. In reality, expect Overture to get out of these as soon as it can. Pandia offers its own take on the impact on Espotting, working off of the company's statement, in this article.

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Markets cheer Terra's giant loss
BBC, Feb. 26, 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2801393.stm

Investors are happy Terra Lycos posted a $2 billion loss for 2002? Yes, because most of that was due to a revaluation of the company, which investors hope will mean the company can now better develop going forward or perhaps go private.

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Smart Search Engine Tactics
eMarketer, Feb. 25, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002075

Some statistics on how search engine marketing is growing each quarter, a noticeable bright spot when it comes to advertising spend.

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Sick website taken down
Cheshire Chronicle, Feb. 21, 2003
http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/chesterchronicle/page.cfm?objectid=12663897&method=full&siteid=50020

In the story I reported on last newsletter, Google eventually decided the site was illegal and yanked the listing.

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Ask Jeeves UK Launches Paid Inclusion
Web Rank, Feb. 21, 2003
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/AskJeevesUKLaunchesPaidInclusion.htm

Want to be in the Teoma-powered results of Ask Jeeves UK? If you aren't already listed for free, now you can try paid inclusion through a new program that's been launched.

Let's see. Paid inclusion with Ask Jeeves for its US site is US $30 for the first URL, then $18 for each additional. In the UK, the cost is about US $65 for the first URL and $40 for each additional URL. That's more than double the price.

Well, now you know why so many Brits complain about living in "Rip Off Britain." Product prices are often much higher than will be paid in other countries. To date, my favorite personal example was having to pay twice the price for a Honda CR-V in Britain, compared to the price in the US. Ah, but fuel costs more in Britain, so that adds to the price when you transport products, the manufacturers like to say. Well, the CR-Vs sold in Britain are made there, while they also get exported to the US -- and still wind up cheaper.

As for why paid inclusion costs so much more in the UK, maybe URLs are shipped by boat to data centers/centres in the US?

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LookSmart Looks Ahead
eMarketer, Feb. 21, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002069

Dakota Sullivan, vice president of marketing at LookSmart, comments on its relationship with Inktomi assuming the Yahoo acquisition completes, says to expect WiseNut to reemerge later this year as a search solution for portals and comments on other expected changes in monetizing search.

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Interview With Dakota Sullivan of LookSmart
Web Rank, Feb. 20,2003
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/InterviewWithDakotaSullivanofLookSmart.htm

Dakota Sullivan, vice president of//wait a minute, wasn't he the same guy talking about LookSmart in the item above? Yes, and here's more from his rounds with a different publication. He comments on the move last year to a pure cost-per-click model for all commercial listings that caused uproar and suggests all is well because LookSmart has more than 30,000 business paying ongoing monthly fees with it.

Of course, before the change, LookSmart reported having 90,000 small businesses among its customers, according to LookSmart's last financial filings. Nevertheless, the one-third remaining with LookSmart earn more for the company. It's a gamble that paid off, and one that's spurring others like Yahoo to examine how to make more off of their editorial listings, as predicted in my article from last year, The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/05-money.html

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Word Scans Indicate New Ways Of Searching The Web
ScienceDaily, Feb. 19, 2003
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030219080454.htm

Jon Kleinberg is the computer scientist instrumental in developing the HITS algorithm that profoundly influenced Google, Teoma, and other search engines. Now he has found that "bursts," an increase in usage of certain words in frequently updated information such as email and weblogs, could be an excellent indicator of emerging trends and social patterns.

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Looking Back on 5 Years of Search
About Web Search Guide, Feb. 18, 2003
http://websearch.about.com/library/weekly/aa021803a.htm

Short summary of how searching and search engine marketing have changed over the past five years. Note that Search Engine Watch actually launched in 1997, not after 1998.

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