The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002, Number 67

June 3, 2002 - Number 6

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
Copyright (c) 2002 INT Media Group, Inc.


About The Report

The Search Engine Report is a monthly newsletter that covers developments with search engines and changes to the Search Engine Watch web site, You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long either part is sent in its entirety.

Did you know that there's a longer, more in-depth version of this
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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies Arrives In Sydney, Coming To California
+ LookSmart Hit With Potential Class Action Lawsuit Over Submission Program
+ LookSmart Aims To Mend Fences
+ RealNames To Close After Losing Microsoft
+ Google Tops In "Search Hours" Ratings
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)


Hello Everyone--

Greetings to all of you in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries who are celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee today. Right after this newsletter goes out, I'm off with my family up the hill where our village will be lighting one of thousands of bonfires recognizing the event. More about the Jubilee, for those who are curious, can be found below.

Her Majesty The Queen's Golden Jubilee

In other news, you may remember that I was heading off on vacation last month and had terrible fears of a mailbox full of spam. Well, I'm back, refreshed from my first long break in ages and saved from mailbox woes after a reader tipped me off to This service will intercept your email and filter out lots of known spam.

In two weeks while I was gone, I received 2,000 pieces of email. Half of these were held as possible spam, and only about 10 of them were incorrectly marked. I still had to trudge through the other 1,000 messages of unheld mail, about two-thirds of which was still spam. Nevertheless, SpamCop was a huge help. Check it out at the URL below.


Search Engine Strategies Arrives In Sydney, Coming To California

Next week, June 11 & 12, Search Engine Strategies arrives in Sydney for our first ever search engine marketing conference Down Under. The conference features sessions about improving both editorial listings in search engines and advertising on search engines.

Along with Australian and New Zealand search engine marketing experts, representatives from AltaVista, Google, LookSmart, Netscape/The Open Directory and Yahoo are also confirmed to speak. More information can be found below:

Search Engine Strategies Sydney

After Sydney, a special "Search Engine Strategies Forum" will be held in Singapore on June 17. Then in August, our first three day event -- including a special track on enterprise search -- will come to California. Two day shows follow for Germany in October and Texas in December. Information, dates, and the ability to register for when agendas are ready for these events can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies


LookSmart Hit With Potential Class Action Lawsuit Over Submission Program

A proposed class action lawsuit claiming breach of contract, fraudulent business practices and misleading advertising has been filed against LookSmart over a recent change in how the company sells some of its commercial web site listings. Details of the case can be found below:

LookSmart Hit With Potential Class Action Lawsuit Over Submission Program
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002

Search Engine Watch members edition:

Search Engine Watch Membership Info


LookSmart Aims To Mend Fences

NOTE: A longer version of this article for Search Engine Watch members can be found at:

Nearly two months into its new pay-per-click listing program, LookSmart has posted a letter on its web site from chairman and CEO Evan Thornley to answer questions and concerns from customers. The letter, made available last Friday, has also been circulated to various search engine forums.

In the letter, Thornley defends the higher pricing of the new LookListings Small Business program as necessary in order for LookSmart to build distribution partners, explains that "grandfathering" old customers to exclude them from new pay-per-click fees would have "disadvantaged" attracting new customers, discusses reporting problems that have made some people question LookSmart's statistics and pledges to use a more "personal approach" rather than a "big company" tone in resolving issues and in communications with customers.

The letter concludes with a FAQ section that answers the most common questions LookSmart says it has been hearing, such as about reporting problems, stressing that credit cards will not be charged if "free" accounts are activated without increasing their budgets and noting that accounts with multiple listings can have budgets set for each listing.

The letter is part of a new effort by LookSmart to win over critics and calm some concerns that have cropped up since the LookListings Small Business program was unveiled in April. The company is also planning a survey in the near future to better understand complaints and needs of small search engine marketers, it says.

"We've seen a really good uptake in the product and a positive response from the majority of users," said Robert Goldberg, LookSmart's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Most of the negative feedback is from a small and important user base, which is SEOs. We've started a large outreach program to understand the issues that they are facing."

Two of the biggest issues LookSmart says it has been hearing about are relating to reporting and budgeting. Here's a further look at those:

Reporting Issues

LookSmart says that companies have been complaining that LookSmart's tracking system will show a large number of clicks to their site which cannot be verified when the companies reconcile against their own traffic logs. LookSmart says its "batch processing" of clicks before reporting is to blame.

What's happening is that LookSmart is processing clicks through a fraud detection system, to clear out robotic clicks or those from the same person who might be purposely clicking excessively on a listing. However, it doesn't do this processing each day. Instead, a couple of days may go by, then an entire "batch" of clicks is processed and posted to your account. That makes it seem that there was a sudden "spike" in your traffic, when in reality, it was simply that traffic from several days was suddenly posted all at once.

"Our goal is to do it each day, so its nice and even and the trend line is something they can plot," said Tony Mamone, LookSmart's vice president and general manager of small business services. "We're working as quickly as we can, and my guess is that it will be sometime in the next couple of weeks."

Budget Issues

LookSmart says that a number of people with multiple listings in one account apparently didn't realize that they could assign a budget to each listing. Failure to do this means that a "popular" listing could eat up all the free or paid clicks in an account.

In contrast, by setting a budget for each listing, you can prevent one listing from using up all the credit and ensure that other listings in the same account have a chance to appear.

LookSmart says it has now been made more prominent in the account management system about how to assign budgets to each listing and help files providing further explanation are being drafted.

Update for our Small Business Listings Customers
LookSmart, June 1, 2002

The letter from LookSmart chairman and CEO Evan Thornley.

LookSmart Changes To Cost-Per-Click Listings
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

Explains how the new LookListings Small Business program works and covers complaints and concerns that have arisen from it.

LookSmart Hit With Potential Class Action Lawsuit Over Submission Program
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002

A proposed class action lawsuit claiming breach of contract, fraudulent business practices and misleading advertising has been filed against LookSmart over a recent change in how the company sells some of its commercial web site listings.

Seething Over the Search for Cash
Wired, May 23, 2002,1367,52741,00.html

Recent article about complaints over the new LookSmart program, ironically noting that the same company LookSmart uses to highlight the success of its new program also wishes MSN would drop LookSmart and use a "cheaper listing service," since his expenses are now higher.


RealNames To Close After Losing Microsoft

RealNames, which provided a pioneering alternative to the domain name system, announced last month that it would cease operations as of June 28 after failing to renew an important distribution partnership with Microsoft. More about the development can be found below.

RealNames To Close After Losing Microsoft
The Search Engine Report, June 3, 2002


Google Tops In "Search Hours" Ratings

What's the most popular search engine? There's a new metric available for determining this, the total number of "search hours" users spend at a site, a figure that sees Google leading by far over other search engines. An explanation of the new method and links to the latest search engine popularity data can be found via the URL below:

Google Tops In "Search Hours" Ratings, May 11, 2002

NetRatings Vs. Jupiter Media Metrix
The Search Engine Update, May 13, 2002

Special bonus sidebar article for Search Engine Watch members, charting the latest figures from both services, so you can see the differences visually.

SearchDay Articles

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

The Search Engine Spam Police, Part 2
SearchDay, May 30, 2002

Representatives from major search engines reveal the details of their spam detection and management policies, including email addresses for reporting suspected abuse.


The Search Engine Spam Police, Part 1
SearchDay, May 29, 2002

"We hate spam!" Representatives of LookSmart and the Open Directory Project offer guidelines and advice for webmasters to avoid the wrath of editors and get successfully listed in these crucial web directories.


An Egyptian Stumper for Google -- Or Is It?
SearchDay, May 28, 2002

A "simple" query that seems like a no-brainer for Google turns out to be an excellent illustration of why you can't find "everything" on the Internet and even when you can, the "answer" may not necessarily be correct.


Dealing with Yahoo, LookSmart and the ODP
SearchDay, May 23, 2002

Getting your site listed in the major Web directories is crucial. Representatives from the Big Three share tips and techniques that help you facilitate the process.


Google's Gaggle of New Goodies
SearchDay, May 22, 2002

Google has enhanced its already indispensable toolbar, and is offering an intriguing peek inside the kimono through Google Labs, a "technology playground" for ideas that aren't quite ready for prime time.


Search Engines, Keywords and Dictionaries
SearchDay, May 20, 2002

Using the right keywords is crucial, for searchers and webmasters alike. Here are two sites with definitions and translations of hundreds of thousands of words, in a wide variety of languages.


Special Search Tools Issue, Part 1
SearchDay, May 15, 2002

Special Search Tools Issue, Part 2
SearchDay, May 16, 2002

Search tools maven Avi Rappoport covers new articles, announcements and reports from the world of web site search software. Tomorrow: New and updated search tools.


Alexa Meets Google
SearchDay, May 14, 2002

Web navigation company Alexa has launched an intriguing new search engine powered by Google, offering powerful search tools with a number of unique twists.


Google AdWords: Sublime Poetry?
SearchDay, May 13, 2002

A frustrated poet uses Google's AdWords program to not only lose money with his art, but as a clever way to test the effectiveness of keywords for search engine optimization efforts.


Keeping Current with Search Engines, concluded
SearchDay, May 9, 2002

Part two of SearchDay's list of essential reading to keep up with the world of search engines and the information industry.


You Can Observe a Lot by Watching the Lycos 50
SearchDay, May 8, 2002

"Sultan of Search" Aaron Schatz says you can virtually predict future trends and fads months in advance by watching what people search for on Lycos.


Search Engine Intelligence from the Lycos 50
SearchDay, May 7, 2002

Search Engine Strategies keynote speaker Aaron Schatz entertained and enlightened attendees with the "trends of American culture" he observes as keeper of the Lycos 50 most popular search terms.


BBC Launches Google Powered Search Engine
SearchDay, May 6, 2002

Responding to UK searchers' frustration over search results geared toward American websites and advertisers, the BBC has launched a "family friendly" search engine powered by Google.


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 Resources


Axandra analyzed over 100,000 pages that ranked in the top ten at Google, AltaVista, Inktomi (using iWon results), AllTheWeb, Wisenut and Teoma. It then further broke them down by page elements and other factors, with the goal designed to help you understand which criteria seem most important for ranking success.

New "Perfect Page" Report
The Search Engine Update, May 13, 2002

A full review of the report above -- and some of the surprises in it, for Search Engine Watch members.


Zeal UK

Zeal, the LookSmart-owned volunteer directory of non-commercial web content, opened a new edition serving the UK last month. Those with non-commercial web content are free to become Zeal members and contribute their sites, which become part of the BTLookSmart UK database used by BTLookSmart and its partners.


SEO Consultants Directory

New guide now opened allowing you to find search engine optimization firms by US state, country or language.


INT Media is planning its own directory of search engine marketing firms. The site is set to open on June 24 and registration is free. INT Media also publishes Search Engine Watch, but please note that I'm not involved with and so cannot answer questions about it.


Google Weblog

Are you Google-obsessive? Then Aaron Swartz's site with posts about all things Google might be for you.

Search Engine Articles

A Guide to the New Pay-Per-Search Scene
ClickZ, May 30, 2002

With Overture and Google tightening the editorial requirements on ads, here are some tips on getting your copy accepted.


WebPosition Releases v2.0 & Rejects Reporting Issues
The Search Light, May 27, 2002

Q&A with WebPosition about the ranking software's new release.


Search-engine wars
Multiex Investor, May 25, 2002

Major financial analyst firms comment on the prospects for Overture and Inktomi given recent customer losses to Google. Overture is seen as still strong while Inktomi is placed in a weaker position.


Fast in trouble
Pandia, May 25, 2002

Brief article covering FAST potential loss of income from a major revenue source, Dutch internet service provider KPNQwest, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.


The Straight Story on Search Engines
PC World, July 2002 issue (online May 22, 2002),aid,97431,00.asp

An excellent, comprehensive guide to how paid listings and paid inclusion results are integrated into search engines, which a rundown, along with search tips and a list of specialty search tools. Google and Yahoo get excellent marks for being clear about paid listings.


IAB: Online Ad Sales Fell in Q4, 2001, May 23, 2002,1471,8471_1143881,00.html

Banner ads remain the big spend when it comes to online advertising, 35 percent revenue in the fourth quarter of last year. Keyword-based ad spending rose to third place and represents 6 percent of spending.


New Lycos Biz Unit Targets Commercial Sites
ASP News, May 20, 2002,,3411_1141501,00.html

Lycos, once in the enterprise search space years ago, is making a return to it with a new business unit targeting the market. The difference is that much of the enterprise search technology comes from FAST, rather than from Lycos in-house. However, there are provisions to build enterprise portals with content from Lycos web search, with customer bulletin boards and financial and news information from Lycos-owned Wired News.


PORTFOLIO: Steve Kirsch
San Jose Mercury News, May 19, 2002

Nice item here spotted by, where former Infoseek chairman Steve Kirsch cites among his biggest blunders not buying Yahoo in 1995 for $20 million or selling 6 million shares of Infoseek stock in early 1999 for $100 per share. Don't feel too bad, though -- Kirsch is still worth about $50 million.


Yahoo's Google blooper, May 17, 2002

Rumor has it Yahoo offered $700 million to buy Google while Google countered with a price of $2 billion.


Yahoo to Pipe Premium
Silicon Alley News, May 16, 2002,1471,8471_1135771,00.html

Archived articles from the New York Times are to be offered within Yahoo News on a cost-per-view basis.


Teaching a search engine
San Jose Mercury News, May 16, 2002

If only a search engine could learn what I like and understand what I like. Columnist David Plotnikoff thinks it would be a great idea, and it is -- but one that has never gone anywhere because of privacy concerns or because search engine users were afraid personalized results would cause them to "miss" important information. See my last article on the subject for more: Google May Get Personal,


Excite Metasearch Serves Up Equal Doses of Innovation and Monetization
Traffick, May 11, 2002

Excite has been relaunched as a metasearch service, where parent Infospace is promising a better balance between paid and editorial results. Review of the service.

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