THE SEARCH ENGINE REPORT
January 5, 1999 - Number 26
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, http://searchenginewatch.com/.
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In This Issue
+ General Notes
+ Go Arrives from Disney and Infoseek
+ GoTo Revamping Customer Service After Dispute
+ LookSmart Launches Local Search, Plans Directory Expansion
+ Excite Adds Media Search
+ Go2Net Absorbs MetaCrawler
+ Excite Changes E-Mail Features
+ AltaVista Adds Related Search Prompter
+ Yahoo Listing Support Address Available
+ RealNames Gets Backing From Network Solutions
+ UKMax: New Inktomi-Powered Search Engine for the UK
+ Search Engine Notes
+ Search Engine Articles
+ Subscribing/Unsubscribing Info
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Happy New Year to you all -- I hope your holidays were great!
Within the site, I've posted a new page that lists various utilities that let you search from the desktop, some of which have been covered in past reports.
The Media Metrix search engine ratings page has been updated with November 1998 data. On the NetRatings page, you'll find some interesting data about audience overlap by search engine.
I've also given the Major Search Engines page an update, having added a few new players that emerged last year.
Links to all the pages mentioned above can be found via the What's New page, below.
Search Engine News
After much anticipation, the new Go site from Infoseek and Disney debuted in beta format on December 14. New features will continue to be added to Go, and the service is to officially launch the week of January 11.
Go is not a replacement for Infoseek, but it draws so heavily on content from that service that it almost seems like Infoseek on steroids. There's a strong emphasis on search and navigation throughout the service, though there are plenty of efforts to feed users home-grown content from the various web properties that the Go partners own, such as Family.com and ESPN.com.
Let's start at the top. The Go home page begins with a search box, and using it produces results that are nearly identical to searching at Infoseek. That's because under the hood, it's the Infoseek index and search algorithm that's being used. Go is simply placing a different look around these results.
The key difference can be found in the "Recommended" section that comes at the beginning of results pages. Here, you'll find links to related areas within Go's "centers," as opposed to areas within Infoseek's "channels."
The names are different, but much of the content in these areas looks the same. Returning to the Go home page, you'll discover links to top level centers dominating the page. The usual topics can be found, including automotive, business, sports and travel categories.
Entering the Automotive center, one finds content very similar to that of Infoseek's Automotive channel. Where Go begins to flex its network muscles is when you enter a center that corresponds topically to one of the web properties owned by Disney and Infoseek.
For example, selecting the Sports center brings up top level content that heavily reflects the home page of ESPN.com. The Kids Center features Disney.com content prominently on its top level. In News, content from ABCnews.com is featured.
Aside from the centers, Go also features web directory and community options, organized by topic. To access these options from the home page, choose either the "Web Directory" or "Community" links that appear inside the reverse bar at the top of the page.
You'll see that these options look like tabs -- there is also one called "Go Centers." The three of them are called "Follow-Me" tabs, and they are designed to help users navigate horizontally across the web properties in the Go network.
For example, assume you enter the Sports center and click on one of the stories from ESPN. The story will load, along with the Follow-Me tabs at the top of the page. You can then choose the "Web sites" tab to view related sports web sites from the Go directory without having to navigate back up to the Go home page. Of course, the wording is inconsistent -- the tab should match the wording on the home page -- but this is still a beta site.
Watch for more tabs in the future. Infoseek says at least two, for local content and commerce options, are in the works.
Go offers personalization, something Infoseek lacks. Signing up for an account provides the user with free email, web pages, the ability to chat and other common portal services. To sign-up, or sign-in, simply follow the links next to the Go logo, in the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Personalization also works across all the sites in the Go Network. If you sign up at Go, you are covered at ABCnews.com, for example. In fact, all the Go Network sites are changing their addresses to end in go.com, such as abcnews.go.com and infoseek.go.com, so that one cookie can be used for measurement purposes. Existing addresses are to redirect to the new ones.
Go offers two new search enhancements not currently available at Infoseek: a filtering feature and new custom search collections.
Goguardian is the name of the kid-safe search feature. Similar to those at Lycos and AltaVista, it is designed to prevent objectionable pages from appearing in response to innocent searches such as "toys."
Infoseek is using similar techniques as its competitors to spot objectionable pages, including identifying pages as objectionable at the time of spidering and the use of a site block list.
In addition, Go has an advantage in that the Infoseek search algorithm was already tweaked to produce very clean results, in my opinion. Searches for innocent terms often brought up less objectionable content in comparison to some of its competitors, when I've run checks in the past.
To enable Goguardian, chose the "Search With Goguardian" option below the search box, on the home page. It can be disabled at any time.
In a separate feature, Go will warn before returning results on searches for terms that might be objectionable, even if Goguardian has not been enabled.
"We're always amazed at how many people accidentally do an explicit search, didn't realize the search was explicit, and are shocked at the results," said the Go Network's senior vice president and general manager, Barak Berkowitz.
To see this protection in action, enter any common obscenity, and you'll likely receive a warning screen that says "Adult content alert." You can then choose to proceed, or you are invited to go back to the home page and enable Goguardian.
The warning also appears for terms that aren't necessarily obscene, such as "breast," but which may result in some objectionable sites being displayed. Infoseek says it is still tweaking words on the warning list, which some people may find a bit too protective, at the moment.
Experienced searchers will likely find the page annoying, but it is easy to disable. Just choose the "Do not show alert again" option the first time the page appears, and you will have banished the alert. For new and inexperienced users, it seems like a nice educational addition.
Go also has new specialty search services called "Finders" available in various sections of the site. Finders, which ironically are rather difficult to find, get their data by custom crawling a set of sites an editor has selected, usually about 10 or so. This means that search results should be focused and of high quality in relation to the topic.
For example, there is a "Movie Review" finder in the Movies areas of the Entertainment center, which brings back results from places like Mr. Showbiz and the Cranky Critic. The same center also has a book review and album review finder. In the Kids area, a cartoon search is available. Within the Family area, a recipe search service is offered. There are also plans to add more Finders over time.
Go offers an Add URL page, but there is no reason to use this if you've already submitted to Infoseek or in addition to submitting to Infoseek. The Go Add URL page is simply a branded version of the Infoseek Add URL page.
The Go Network is also planning to launch a new search site stripped of portal options in the coming months, to appeal to those who want search and nothing but search.
"It will be a really pure optimized search site," Berkowitz said. "There's no place for the search person who really wants a research site without any of the portalization," he said.
The new site, planned to appear at search.go.com, will have advanced search features directly on the home page. There is also likely to be term highlighting in the results, a feature available in Infoseek's Express metasearch software, and the ability to save searches and build online clip files.
With Go on one side and a proposed new search site on the other, what's the future for the Infoseek site? Berkowitz says the company is committed to keeping the site and the brand alive, with the focus firmly on search and navigation.
What seems likely is that if enough people transition from Infoseek to Go in the next few months, then the company may feel more comfortable about turning Infoseek into the new pure search site. If the transition is slower, then running three separate search sites makes sense in that converting Infoseek into a pure search site might ostracize its existing audience -- with no guarantee that they would go to Go.
Kids Search Engines
You'll find links here to more kid-safe search options and articles that explain how filtering works.
More about Infoseek Express and other packages that allow metasearch from the desktop.
Infoseek says no to adult advertising
News.com, Dec. 9, 1998
Infoseek no longer accepts adult advertising, and Go won't either. More details about the move.
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Kelly Britt, who runs the Autos.com site, was shocked when he discovered he'd been outbid for top positions at GoTo for a variety of auto-related terms in early December.
Britt had just given GoTo a list of about 150 terms, including unusual ones such as "hondaaccord," and asked GoTo to bid him one cent higher than any existing bids for these terms.
Shock turned to anger when Britt discovered that the company that outbid him, CarsDirect, was owned by idealab -- which also owns GoTo.
"When I ran the whois and saw idealab, that's when I started seeing red," Britt said.
Britt had two main complaints. First, the fact that CarsDirect and GoTo were sister companies left him with the impression that CarsDirect would receive favorable treatment. Second, CarsDirect had obviously been given access to terms that Autos.com had thought up, causing Autos.com to face additional competition for terms that might otherwise have gone unnoticed by CarsDirect.
GoTo is now instituting changes in the wake of Britt's complaints, and both parties consider the matter resolved. The company says there was no wrong-doing, but it is working to ensure that its advertisers are better information about its relationships and of the customer assistance they can obtain.
"We need to put in place a communication process so that everyone understands how GoTo works and what options are available to them are in terms of increasing the efficiency of their ads," said Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of GoTo.
Now when advertisers sign up, GoTo is disclosing that it may be related to other advertisers through a common investor, such as idealab. It is also reassuring them that these related companies are given no preference within the service over other advertisers.
There are no plans to ban these companies from advertising on GoTo, however, something Britt had originally suggested.
"It would not only be very complicated to track and administer, but it would be an unreasonable," Brewer said. "If we weren't able to do business with those folks in an arms length way, then we couldn't have a good product for searchers."
I'd agree that a ban would be overkill. Existing search sites already promote their own content and that of partners above others, in differing ways. If GoTo did the same, it would merely be following the well-established lead of others.
Moreover, GoTo isn't planning any favoritism. Instead, it simply will continue to allow these related companies to compete fairly with others for positions within its service.
In fact, Brewer points out that there are examples of other idealab companies which are not top ranked. Success depends on each company's own efforts, rather than any automatic advantage that GoTo gives them.
"eToys doesn't show up as high on the list," Brewer said, speaking of another idealab company. "They are not as keen in managing their account, compared to CarsDirect. CarsDirect sees GoTo as a great investment of their time. But eToys dedicates a relatively smaller amount of their time to GoTo listings."
Even Britt says that banning related companies is not a requirement to keep him doing business with GoTo.
"I guess ultimately the answer would be to not allow competing bids. But that is not such a big issue to me. In the back of my mind, I may still have a little unease, but it is not big enough for me to keep pressing complaints or to stop me from bidding," he said.
Britt's other complaint was over the fact that CarsDirect benefited from terms that Autos.com had researched. It turns out that CarsDirect was indeed given terms that indirectly came out of Autos.com own research. But this was not an act of favoritism. It is something that GoTo was doing for any advertiser placing a large order.
As a service, GoTo will have its editors work with large clients to develop lists of terms relating to their site, which they then bid upon. This list comes from editors researching what users are searching for and from examining the terms that other advertisers have bid on.
There's a real advantage to this assistance, in that developing appropriate search terms to target can be a mystical process for some people. But the obvious downside is that if an advertiser discovers a particular effective term that is being undertargeted by others, the act of bidding on it may bring it to an editor's attention -- and thus to the attention of other advertisers.
GoTo has temporarily suspended the use of bidded search terms when offering search term assistance through the end of January. But it will almost certainly resume the practice. Brewer explained that the company feels everyone, advertisers and users alike, benefit from when advertisers bid on as many terms as possible.
This goes back to GoTo's basic model, which is that economic competition provides the best relevancy. Thus, if advertisers bid on many terms, relevancy should rise, and users benefit. In turn, if relevancy is good, more users should turn to the service, which means more possible traffic for advertisers.
"Our job over time is to foster market competition where advertisers have relevant offerings," Brewer said. "We think that benefits the consumer, because the bidding process provides a valuable filter."
The big change will be to ensure that advertisers are aware that their search term suggestions may be used by others, and even more importantly, to level the playing field by ensuring that all advertisers know that assistance with developing terms is available, Brewer said.
GoTo's not alone in sharing keyword lists. Those purchasing keyword-linked banner ads on any of the major search engines can get a list of suggested terms, which will almost certainly have been developed in part out of past ad buys. But positioning at GoTo is a bargain compared to the major search engines, and each new advertiser that competes pushes the bid rates up a bit higher. So, the issue of sharing terms is more sensitive. Certainly Britt doesn't want to see it return.
"I don't think that terms should go into a publicly available pool for other advertisers. I hope they don't resume this," he said.
Pushing bids up also benefits one other important party, of course -- GoTo itself. Higher bids mean more money for the service, and it fully intends to ensure it maximizes revenue.
"They're taking an advantage of a market inefficiency," said Brewer, speaking of advertisers that discover important unbidded terms. "That's an inefficiency that should be our job to make go away."
Brewer does point out that GoTo is not completely mercenary. It doesn't set minimum bid amounts, nor require bids to increase in set increments, such as five or ten cents. It wants to make sure terms are being purchased, but GoTo leaves it to the market to determine the going rate.
"Advertisers say exactly what they are willing to pay, and we don't charge them more than that," Brewer said. "If there is someone willing to pay more based on their business model, we think that's a good indicator of the value to the consumer."
Britt agrees the service is a good investment, at least for the moment.
"Their model works. It's a good buy. They're getting traffic, and we get traffic from them. For the period we were bidding, it was a very good value. I don't know if it's going to stay a good value for the long term," Britt said.
But beyond value, there's also the issue of faith, which for Britt, was shaken by his recent experience:
"Certainly you want to have confidence you can place a bid without these kind of things happening, and that confidence was blown away."
But to GoTo's credit, its actions so far have restored some of his confidence.
"I feel a little better that they are paying more attention to these things and taking more responsible behavior toward customer support issues," Britt said.
You'll find a link to the original complaint from this page, which states that issues with GoTo have been resolved.
GoTo gives its side of the story.
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LookSmart has unveiled localized directories for 65 cities or major metropolitan areas in the United States, which are available in conjunction with its web wide listings. In addition, the service expects to greatly enlarge its 800,000 listings after the New Year.
To access the new local listings, choose the Your Town tab, then select your desired area. The Your Town tab will then change to display the area name, and local listings will be available through it. You can also jump back to web wide results by selecting the "The Web" tab. To change your default area, select the "Change Your Town" option that appears in the lower left-hand corner of the page.
The local directories were developed in partnership with Cox Interactive Media and also appear at Cox city sites, such as BayInsider.com and AccessAtlanta.com.
LookSmart also has some regional listings within its main web-wide database, but sites appearing here do not yet appear when viewing categories via the local tabs.
"At the moment, there are separate databases," said LookSmart cofounder Tracey Ellery. "Over a period of time, we'll integrate that data into the overall directory".
In addition, LookSmart says it is getting closer to populating its directory with a large number of site submissions gathered over the past few months.
LookSmart has had long standing plans to allow sites to post themselves instantly in categories where strong editorial oversight may not be necessary, such as lists of schools or clubs. In fact, the service now believes it can do this in most categories.
The idea is that when a user comes into a category, they'll first be presented with a list of top picks as determined by editors. Down at the bottom of the page would be a "More" option. This would show sites that either have not been reviewed or have not been selected as top picks.
"The vast majority of categories will have some ability for suggested sites to be listed, even if they are not on the first page," Ellery said.
Look for the release of these "unselected" sites in the first months of next year.
Of course, editors continue to select sites for inclusion in the existing directory, and LookSmart says even more sites will be appearing as a result of the editor expansion program underway. The company says it currently has 80 editors and plans to increase them to 150 by March of next year, which will in turn enlarge its reviewed listings.
LookSmart abstains from adult advertising
News.com, Dec. 21, 1998
Following the Infoseek/Go lead, LookSmart dumps porn ads.
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Looking for RealAudio or RealVideo files? The new Excite Audio/Video search service will help you find them. The service's search interface is built into the recently released RealPlayer G2 software, which allows users to hear and see these types of files.
Those with RealPlayer G2 will find the Excite search box at the bottom of the player window, next to the Excite logo. Simply replace the existing "Enter your Audio/Video search here" text with terms you'd like to look for. Then pages linking to matching clips will be displayed within your browser.
For example, entering "furby" brings up results that list a page from ABCnews.com. That page has a link to a RealVideo clip which shows the electronic toy in action. You'll often also discover other audio-video files on pages listed, such as QuickTime clips, though Excite isn't explicitly cataloging these.
Excite is not actually indexing the RealNetwork files themselves. Instead, it scans within a collection of web pages that actually link to RealNetwork files. Those containing the query words are displayed. It's a best guess method similar to that used by other media search services.
RealPlayer G2 is available as a free download, via the link below. For those without the player, try the second link as a workaround to see how the service works.
There are two options: RealPlayer G2 and RealPlayer Plus G2. The first option is free and provides A/V search capabilities.
Specialty Search Engines
See the Multimedia Search section for other media search services.
The popular MetaCrawler metasearch service has now been officially folded into the new Go2Net portal.
Go2Net is the company which owns MetaCrawler, and it launched a portal site encompassing its various web properties in November.
Those visiting the new Go2Net site can still perform metasearches just as they did with MetaCrawler. The site serves as the new, and now the only, interface into MetaCrawler.
MetaCrawler sends search queries out to several of the major search engines at one time, then presents results from all of them on one page. Services polled include AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Thunderstone, WebCrawler and Yahoo. Go2Net has agreements with these services to gather results.
Additionally, the Go2Net site offers several specialty metasearch services called "Search Channels." These include topics such as computing, entertainment and health, and all can be reached via the home page.
In each case, Go2Net sends the query out to selected sites and collates their responses. The actual sites queried are listed prominently at the top of each channel's home page. Just look for the text that says "Including," and you'll see the sites listed underneath.
Go2Net is not related to GoTo.com or the new Go.com search services.
Excite has made access to its free email service available from the Excite home page and changed the address given to those using the service.
Previously, Excite Mail could only be accessed by going to a different site. Now, an option to sign-up appears just below the Excite logo, on the Excite home page. Those who have already signed up will see a "Check Your Email" link, rather than a sign-up option, if they are logged into Excite.
Users of Excite Mail were previously given addresses that ended @mailexcite.com, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Now free email addresses end in @excite.com, such as email@example.com.
If you had an existing address ending with @mailexcite.com, it has automatically been changed to use the new ending, and all mail going to the old address will be forwarded to the new one.
Excite corporate addresses previously ended in @excite.com. These have now been changed to ending in @excitecorp.com.
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AltaVista debuted a new "Related Searches" prompter in December that is designed to help users be more specific in their queries.
To see the feature in action, do a search, then on the results page, look just below the search box. You'll see text that says "Related Searches" followed by hyperlinked topics related to your original search.
For example, a search for "cars" brings up related queries such as "new cars," "rental car" and "cars for sale." A search for "travel" brings up terms including "travel agency" and "air travel."
Clicking on any of the related searches automatically reruns your search using those terms.
Ideally, listing related topics in this way will painlessly help users be more specific with their searches, which in turn should provide better quality results.
For instance, imagine a novice searcher who is looking for information about the famed "face" on Mars. They might start off too broadly, and simply search for "mars."
If so, AltaVista would suggest "face on mars" as a related search. Clicking on this suggestion reruns the search using those words. In response, AltaVista presents results that are specifically about the face -- and results far better than those that appear in response to the more generic "mars" search.
As you drill down, even more specific topics may appear. For example, "mars" suggests "face on mars," which in turn suggests "face on mars picture."
Another feature is that if a search includes words such as "picture" or "photo," the user is given results from the AltaVista Photo Finder service, rather than the web index. So clicking on "face on mars picture" brings up actual pictures of the Martian "face," which can be found via the web.
Using Related Searches doesn't always guarantee high quality results, of course. For example, going from "cars" to "new cars" does find pages that are about new cars, but the pages probably won't be useful to most people.
But overall, the search prompter is a great addition that will likely be appreciated by novice and advanced users alike.
AltaVista Debuts New Search Features
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 4, 1998
Related Searches is just one of many new features AltaVista has added to help searchers. This review covers other recent changes.
Yahoo has established a new email support address for those having problems getting listed in the directory or getting change requests processed. Below are some guidelines on using the new address.
New sites should be submitted as normal, and if the site isn't listed within a few weeks, then do a resubmission. If the site still doesn't appear after a few weeks, then email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. You must send the exact URL that you submitted, but you do not need to send the categories you submitted to or the actual dates you submitted on.
The procedure regarding change requests is slightly different:
"We ask that they submit the change, wait at least 7-10 days for processing, then email us. With change requests, in addition to the URL, we also need the exact date of the change request so we can access the form," said Yahoo's Srinija Srinivasan, who oversees the listings process.
Srinivasan adds that the new address is not a way to get a "priority" listing, nor a way to get around the normal add or change submission process. Additionally, don't use the address to tell Yahoo that you've just done a submission, such as, "Hi, I submitted my site and wanted to make sure you got it."
Network Solutions, which oversees the registration of .com, .net, .org and .edu domain names, has agreed to sell RealNames as part of its services. It is also making a $4.2 million investment in Centraal, the company behind RealNames.
The move came in December, along with a series of other deals Network Solutions has established relating to domain name sales. The company is poised to lose its monopoly on registering popular top level domains. To protect its bottom line, it has already tied up exclusive agreements to marketing domain registration services on Yahoo and at Netscape.
NSI teams with Centraal on Web names
News.com, Dec. 9, 1998
The partnership between the old guard of domain naming, Network Solutions, and the upstart addressing system that RealNames promotes, could be powerful. Why both companies may benefit from closer ties.
NSI to be promoted on Netcenter
Reuters, Dec. 17, 1998
NSI stock jumps on Yahoo deal
Bloomberg, Dec. 15, 1998
RealNames Expands Listings
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 2, 1998
More about the RealNames system.
UKMax, a search engine for the United Kingdom, launched in December. Powered by Inktomi, the service allows users to search only pages within the .uk domain or perform a worldwide search.
Directory listings are also available within some of the UKMax channels. To find them, look for a "Directory" icon on the right-hand side of the page, after entering a channel from the home page. Listings have been developed by UKMax's staff.
UKMax also offers regional news content, weather reports, and portal features such portfolio tracking. A free email offering is promised soon, and the service plans to enlarge its UK-specific index around February.
Hollinger Digital is part of Hollinger International, a worldwide media company which also publishes the UK's Daily Telegraph and produces the Inktomi-powered Canada.com search engine.
Search Engine Notes
Affiliate Program Search Service Launched
LinkExchange has launched a directory of merchants and other sites offering "affiliate" programs. These programs pay affiliates for sending them visitors through banner ads or links. You can search for programs by keyword or browse sites by category. Those with affiliate programs can also add themselves to the directory.
Lycos Opens Virtual Storefront
Lycos is selling products online through its recently launched Lycos Store. In contrast to online mall offerings from Yahoo and Excite, Lycos is selling products directly to consumers rather than offering space to merchants.
News Seekers Turn To Search Sites
Almost half of online users turn to search and navigation services for their online news needs, a new Jupiter Communications survey of 2,200 people found. Consumers of online news were also found to be mostly interested in headlines and updates on breaking stories.
Portals Emerge as Dominant Source for Online News
Jupiter Communications, Dec. 8, 1998
Here Come The Ads
Expect to see even more search and portal related ads on a TV screen near you, in the US. Excite's ads began on Dec. 7 and will run for six weeks. Go's ads will launch its campaign on Dec. 26, along with ads on radio, outdoors and online. Meanwhile, Netscape said it is readying a $30 million ad campaign for television, print and radio.
Watch them online in RealVideo format.
Netscape takes its message to the masses
Wired, Dec. 17, 1998
The second story on this page provides a few more details about the Netscape ads.
Google, SavvySearch Get New Addresses
Two search sites formerly hosted under university domains have gained new .com addresses. The Google search engine, which is notable for its link popularity ranking system, can now be found at http://www.google.com/. SavvySearch, a popular metasearch service, can now be found at http://www.savvysearch.com/
Counting Clicks and Looking At Links
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 4, 1998
More about how Google works.
Ask Jeeves Debuts Intranet Product
Ask Jeeves has rolled out its first Intranet product: Ask Dudley, which provides visitors to the Dell site with answers to tech support questions through the unique Ask Jeeves interface. Ask Jeeves says this is the first in several customer support contracts it has lined up.
Search Engine Articles
Online, Main Street Is a Portal Deal
New York times, Dec. 22, 1998
A nice overview of the types of ways online merchants are partnering with portals, ranging from banner campaigns to anchor tenancies.
Excite at a crossroads, CEO says
News.com, Dec. 14, 1998
Excite CEO George Bell on the AOL-Netscape deal and other issues.
Building Responsive User Communities
Internet World, Dec. 14, 1998
Details on how Excite provides its communities service.
Portal Sites Reap the Rewards Of Strategies for Getting 'Sticky'
Wall St. Journal, Dec. 7, 1998
A review of how search sites have increasingly turned themselves into "sticky" portals that capture and retain visitors.
A Tale of Two Years' Manias Shows a Medium's Evolution
Wall St. Journal, Dec. 7, 1998
An interesting recap article that compares how and why portals have become the darlings of the Internet for advertisers looking for audience consistency, while push has all but disappeared as a proposed solution.
Forbes, Nov. 30, 1998
Some nice technical details about how Inktomi works, which will already be familiar to many readers of this newsletter. A quote from Yahoo explains that it dropped AltaVista for Inktomi earlier this year because "AltaVista couldn't scale up as well." In reality, Yahoo gets a smaller sample of the web than other Inktomi partners receive, and indeed, probably a smaller sample than AltaVista was providing. The reason is chiefly due to Inktomi's problems handling its phenomenal growth, which in turn raises questions about just how scalable its system really is.
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