The Search Engine Update, July 21, 1999, Number 57

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,

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Coverage Study Out
+ Direct Hit Debuts at MSN Search, Lycos
+ AltaVista Adds Open Directory, Personalized Page
+ Search Within, Text-Only Features At HotBot
+ Northern Light Adds Clustering
+ Playboy Loses In Excite Banner Dispute
+ Search Engine Articles
+ Subscribing/Unsubscribing Info

General Notes

Hello Everyone--

Once again, I'm on the road and without my dedicated proofreader -- my wife. So I hope to have caught any typos and ask for your understanding, if some slip through.

Search Engine News

Search Engine Coverage Study Out

Many of you no doubt saw the headlines earlier this month about the Nature study of search engine coverage. This is essentially an expanded repeat of the landmark study that ran in Science magazine in 1998. The overall conclusion is that search engines cover even less of the web than when the previous study was done. I'll be doing a detailed review of the study in the next newsletter. In the meantime, you can get a rundown on key findings via the first URL below.

Accessibility and Distribution of Information on the Web

Search Engine Sizes

Science study? What Science study? This page has links to information about it, along with comparative size charts.


Direct Hit Debuts at MSN Search, Lycos

Both MSN Search and Lycos are now featuring Direct Hit results. Expect a longer look at this in the next newsletter. Here are the key details:

At MSN Search, do a search, and if Direct Hit information is available, you'll see an image link immediately below the search box on the results page that says "Top 10 Most Popular Sites." Click on the link, and Direct Hit results will be displayed.

Lycos is now also using Direct Hit information by default, within the "Web Pages" section of search results. Direct Hit says the majority of pages listed here will be coming from its database.

MSN Search



AltaVista Adds Open Directory, Personalized Page

The Open Directory has added another search site to those using its data: AltaVista. Users will find Open Directory information prominently featured within the new "My AltaVista" channel.

My AltaVista offers AltaVista users the ability to have personalized features such as those offered from portals such as Yahoo, Go, Excite and Lycos. Users who register can have a customizable AltaVista start page featuring weather, sports scores, news headlines and other options.

Near the bottom of this page you'll find a "Web Directory" area, where you can browse listings that derive from the Open Directory. AltaVista maintains its partnership with LookSmart for directory listings in the main site.

In other news, AltaVista's paid links have now been moved to the bottom of the results pages.

My AltaVista

AltaVista to enter free ISP game, July 14, 1999,4,39138,00.html

AltaVista is also apparently considering offering a free email service to users.


Search Within, Text-Only Features At HotBot

HotBot has added a "Search Within" feature to its site. After you do a search, look to the right of the search box on the results page. You'll see a "Search within these results" option. Select the option, then enter new terms, and HotBot will run your query against only the pages that were found from the original search.

Another relatively new feature is a text-only mode. Hate ads and graphics? HotBot's text-only search is quick and fast. The URL below takes you to it, or click on the "Text-only version" link you'll find at the bottom of HotBot's pages.


HotBot Text-Only Version


Northern Light Adds Clustering

Northern Light is now clustering its results, so that only one page per web site appears in the top listings. Any additional pages are accessible by clicking on the "More Results" link below the page listing.

Northern Light


Playboy Loses In Excite Banner Dispute

In January, Playboy sued Excite for selling banner ads that appeared in response to searches for "playboy" and "playmate." Now it has lost its case, but this still doesn't mean that search engines have carte blanche to sell ads linked to trademarked terms. In the Playboy case, the US District Court apparently ruled that the disputed terms were too generic for Playboy to have a sole hold over them. In contrast, a similar case filed against Excite by Estie Lauder could succeed if a court decides the disputed terms in the case are entitled to protection. Of course, a court might also decide that the practice is perfectly acceptable, even if trademarked terms are involved.

Playboy loses trademark suit, July 22, 1999,4,0-39496,00.html

Details on the recent ruling.

Excite, Netscape Sued Over Banner Ads
The Search Engine Report, March 1999

Background about the lawsuits.

Search Engine Articles

Excite@Home Goes Shopping, July 13, 1999,1087,archive_4_160561,00.html

Excite has acquired one company, iMall, and cut a deal with another that sets it up to provide e-commerce solutions to online merchants.

Disney to buy Infoseek, form, July 12, 1999,4,38983,00.html

Disney is to acquire the remaining shares of Infoseek that it does not own, and it will be folded into a new company called, which will oversee all of Disney's online properties.

Excite@Home, GO Network Launch Online Calendars, July 7, 1999,1087,3_157771,00.html

Excite launches an online calendar as part of its portal offerings, while Go says its calendar is coming shortly.


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