The Search Engine Report, October 2, 2001, Number 59

October 2, 2001 - Number 59

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
Copyright (c) 2001 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,

The report has over 170,000 subscribers. 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

+ Site News
+ Search Engine Strategies Coming To Dallas
+ Search Resources About Terrorist Attacks
+ Yahoo Changes Results, Increases Submission Price
+ Free Search Engine Submission Is Still Alive!
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Ask Jeeves Acquires Teoma
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Google May Get Personal
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Google's New Look & New File Types
+ Excite@Home Goes Bankrupt; AltaVista Cuts Staff
+ GoTo Makes Overture To New Name
+ Inktomi Spam Database Left Open To Public
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ Surplus Of Search Engine Marketing Reports
-- (full story online, link provided)
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)


Hello Everyone--

After the terrible tragedy that occurred in the United States last month, I hope that you, your families and those you know have come through unscathed. My sincere condolences to those who may have not.

Within the site, these pages have been updated:

Search Engine Submission Tips

A new five-part "Essentials Of Search Engine Submission" section has been added that describes the key steps you need to take to get listed for free or by fee with the web's major search engines.

Search Engine Alliances

Shows how search engines get their editorial listings or give these to others.

Buying Your Way In

Shows how search engines get their paid listings.


Search Engine Strategies Conference Coming To Dallas

Did you miss the Search Engine Strategies conferences held earlier this year in Boston and San Francisco? Don't worry -- you've got one more chance in 2001. On November 14 & 15, Search Engine Strategies will be coming to Dallas, Texas.

Once again, I've organized two days' worth of sessions packed with information about search engine marketing. If you are a beginner and know little, the conference will bring you up to speed. Advanced? There are plenty of more in-depth sessions to choose from. Been to Search Engine Strategies before? There are a number of new and improved panels.

In addition to creating the event program, I'll be speaking at the conference, along with other search engine marketing experts. There will also be speakers from the search engines themselves, including, AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, FAST Search and Inktomi.

Those interested in sponsoring or exhibiting should contact Frank Fazio Jr,, for more information. Those interested in attending can find a conference agenda and more information via the URL below. Be sure to see the "Conference at a Glance" page, if you've come before, for a rundown on what's new.

Search Engine Strategies


Search Resources About Terrorist Attacks

Following the horrific attacks on New York and Washington DC, I did an article about how search engines reacted to the catastrophe and the best way to locate disaster information using them. That article is below, along with several others that also related to search engines and the terrorist attacks. I've also listed some resource pages compiled by the various search engines, which you may find useful.

Finding Disaster Coverage At Search Engines, Sept. 11, 2001

After the attacks on the United States, web users turned en masse to search engines for information. It took those services some time to adjust to the demand, but as the day progressed, many came up to speed. Both an analysis and tips on locating information.

Attack on America: Coping with Information Overload
SearchDay, Sept. 17, 2001

Links to trusted sources to help us cope with the information overload caused by the attack on America.

ResearchBuzz 911 Coverage

A huge list of resources ranging from places to donate to reference information.

The Attack How We Searched Web Search Guide, Sept. 14, 2001

Covers how survivor lists were created, problems with inaccuracies on them and how search engines coped.

The Terrorism Directory
SearchDay, Sept. 24, 2001

Who are the people we call terrorists? Why do they commit such horrific acts? The Terrorist Directory helps you conduct your own intelligence operation via the web

The Trade Center Disaster: Industry Response, Sept. 2001

Focuses on how the ecommerce and advertising industries have coped with the attacks.

LookSmart: American Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

Compiled with large help from LookSmart's Zeal volunteer guides, you'll find links to coverage, message boards, relief efforts, victim information and more.

AltaVista/Moreover News Search

Get news stories from around the web, updated every 15 minutes.

Yahoo: World Trade Center and Pentagon Attack

Links to survivor lists, personal experience sites and Yahoo's "Full Coverage" news area about the attacks.

Google: News links and support information regarding attacks

Links and resources about the attacks, assembled by the staff of Google. All links below are similar resource compilations at other search engines and portals.

AOL: America in Crisis

Ask Jeeves WTC Resource Page

Lycos: What You Can Do

MSN: Disaster Response, How You Can Help

Yahoo Full Coverage: Emergency & Relief Information

Comprehensive list of relief organizations seeking assistance and more.

Lexus Nexus: Attack On America

If you are a Lexus Nexus subscriber, a special area has been compiled about the attacks.

1MC: One Million Contributors

A list of places seeking or needing contributions.

Lycos 50

Our changing response to the attacks can be seen in our search queries. In the first week, queries for "world trade center" and news sites were common, as people sought the latest information about the disaster. Then we saw queries about giving donations (red cross), or learning more about those suspected to be behind the attacks (osama bin laden) or ways to fight back symbolically (american flag). Now things are more "back to normal," in that the top search terms are not almost entirely to do with the attacks, as was the case two weeks ago at Lycos. However, many of the searches remain related to the disaster.

Yahoo Buzz

Some more "normal terms" are also beginning to return at Yahoo, though the attacks are still a dominate theme.

Google Zeitgeist

You can see how attack-related terms are still present at Google but changing in their nature -- "anthrax" is a new worry, rising from out of nowhere, for example.

News knocks out sex in Net searches
Reuters, Sept. 19, 2001

Search logs reflect how deeply the attacks in New York and Washington DC affected people. Almost without precedent, the "traditional" terms that are always high in popularity were replaced by those related to the tragedy.


Yahoo Changes Results, Increases Submission Price

Last week, Yahoo's search results pages underwent probably the most significant change since the service began. Yahoo also increased the price of its Yahoo Express submission service to $299, last month.

For years, Yahoo has followed what I call the "CSP" model of search results: presenting category listings first (the C), then web site listings (the S) and finally matching web pages (the P).

As Yahoo has grown, this model made it likely that users would get overwhelmed by matching category listings, when searching for popular topics. For example, a search for "travel" would find 80 categories, meaning that you needed to hit the "Next" button 3 times before seeing any web site matches.

Of course, many people would immediately find a relevant category in the first page of results and click through to it, thus giving them access to the web site listings compiled by Yahoo editors for that topic. Nevertheless, some people want both category and web site matches all at once, and the Yahoo change has been designed to satisfy them.

"A number of users in our usability tests said they want to see more of those [web site matches” on the first page, said Scott Gatz, general manager of search and directory at Yahoo. "With the changes, we can we present more of those, as well as highlight the concept of our categories."

Matching category links still remain. When found in response to a search, they come at the top of the results, under the heading "Category Matches." You may see up to five category listings. If there are more than five matches, you can access the entire list by using the "Next" link to the far right of the Category Matches heading.

Yahoo has also made its category names more readable. For instance, the "Air Travel" category in the past would have been listed in the search results as "Recreation > Travel > Air Travel." Now all categories have been given short, user-friendly names to appear in the search results.

"For the new folks coming on to the net, they need a little easier way to read what the categories about." Gatz said. "One of the biggest things is making the names shorter and easier for them to understand."

After the category matches, you may now get up to 20 web site matches. They come under the "Web Site Matches" heading. These are web sites that have been reviewed by Yahoo editors and added to one of its categories. In contrast to category links, clicking on a web site link takes you directly to the web site, rather than to a list of web sites in Yahoo about a particular topic.

Below each web site match is a "More sites about" link. If you click on that link, you'll be taken to category where the web site "lives" within Yahoo. That category will also list similar sites. For instance, searching for "train travel" brings up a web site called "How to Travel Europe by Train." Selecting the "More sites about" link then gives you a list of sites compiled by Yahoo editors about European train travel.

Finally, by using the "Next" button at the bottom of the results page, you'll eventually move past Web Site Matches to the "Web Page Matches" area, as noted by that heading. These are results that come from Google, which is why the Google logo appears at the top of the results page. Selecting links from here takes you directly to matching pages that Google has found from crawling the entire web.

As a reminder, Google results are provided for those times when Yahoo's editors themselves have not categorized anything that seem to match your search topic. For instance, search for "feeding hedgehogs" at Yahoo, and Google results come up immediately. That's because Yahoo's editors themselves haven't reviewed any sites on this topic -- or more appropriately, haven't written a description about any sites that use those words. By "falling through" to Google, Yahoo users can still receive some relevant results.

Under each Web Page Match, you'll see a "More Results From" link. Unlike the "More sites about" link described above, this link brings back other pages from the same web site as the page that is listed. In other words, you won't get a list of web sites on a particular topic. Instead, you'll simply be shown a list of web pages from a particular web site, which match your search terms.

Another significant change at Yahoo was the increase in its "Yahoo Express" submission price from $199 to $299.

The program is required for anyone submitting to one of Yahoo's commercial categories. It is the first price change for the service, since it launched back in February 1999, with the exception of the June 2000 increase to $599 for adult site submissions.

The move follows LookSmart's lead in August, when LookSmart raised its "Express Submit" price from $199 to $299. Yahoo declined to say whether LookSmart's increase had made it more comfortable taking its own price up. Instead, the increase was due to high demand and the need to keep quality up, Yahoo said.

"There's really been a strong demand for that product," Gatz said. "People still see the value in such a product. They see it as a very good one-time investment."

It's hard to see why a 50 percent price increase is necessary to keep the service level up, but it's much easier to understand that Yahoo no doubt saw the listings it provides as undervalued, especially coming after the LookSmart move. And, even at the higher price, getting listed in Yahoo remains one of the bargains in terms of gaining web traffic.

Getting non-commercial content listed within non-commercial categories remains free at Yahoo. To help site owners (along with users) understand what's commercial, Yahoo's commercial categories now clearly say "Yahoo Commercial Directory" in the yellow reverse bar at the top of the page.


How Yahoo Works

Very detailed guide to the process of submitting successfully to Yahoo, available to Search Engine Watch members. Explains what Most Popular sites are, reasons to carefully choose a category and tips on how to get non-commercial content listed.


Free Search Engine Submission Is Still Alive!

Both Yahoo and LookSmart have recently increased their submission prices, while AltaVista not to long ago followed Inktomi's lead in offering a paid inclusion program. FAST is expected to bring out its own program shortly. Meanwhile, paid listings have gained ground at every major search engine. Is it any wonder that people are feeling that free search engine submission is dead?

It's not. Despite the multitude of paid participation programs being offered, it is indeed possible for web sites to get listed for free. However, it's also necessary for web site owners to recognize that by spending money, the listing process will be easier for them. The article below looks at the issue in more depth, with comments from businesses feeling pressed for cash.

Free Search Engine Submission Is Still Alive!
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001


Ask Jeeves Acquires Teoma

Ask Jeeves has purchased the Teoma search engine, which has attracted interest over recent months as a potential relevancy challenger to Google. Ask Jeeves hopes that the Sept. 9 acquisition will help the company both reenter the search results syndication market and make its own search site more appealing to consumers. The full article can be found below:

Ask Jeeves Acquires Teoma
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001

Wisenut, the Google Killer? Nah...
SearchDay, Sept. 5, 2001

Like Teoma, Wisenut has also been heralded as a scrappy underdog that's supposedly going to topple Google from its "throne" as the king of web search. Not likely, says Search Engine Watch associate editor Chris Sherman.


Google May Get Personal

With last month's acquisition of Outride, Google may be poising itself to go forward into an area of search refinement that no major player has gone successfully before: personalized search results. With personalized results, a person would get back a list of results that takes into account some of their demographics. For example, if you had registered yourself as a man, you might see a different set of results when searching for flowers than a woman might see. A look at the concept, and Outride may or may not bring it to Google, can be found below.

Google May Get Personal
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001


Google's New Look & New File Types

Google's home page, known for its elegant simplicity, has gotten a little more complex. New "tabs" were introduced yesterday, to give users easier access to the search engine's features.

Don't worry. Purists are unlikely to be upset by the changes. The tabs are simple, highlighted links sit above the search box.

The tabs allow users to more easily reach Google's other search databases: images, newsgroups and results from the Open Directory's human-compiled listings, in addition to Google's own crawler-built web page index.

"We created this tabbed interface look because we thought it was an easy way to give users access to the information we offer," said Google spokesperson Eileen Rodriguez.

The tabs also appear on the Google results page, letting users easily switch between search indexes, as desired. For example, if you did a regular search for "madonna," on the results page you could select the "Images" tab to switch from matching web pages about the singer to matching images.

Ironically, AltaVista -- which Google is oft-seen as usurping for those interested in "pure" search -- also went in for tabs in 1998, when the service grew more complex than just pure web search. After numerous redesigns, AltaVista finally dropped the tabs concept last May.

Of course, AltaVista did a lot more than add tabs, as the service grew. Its foray into being a portal, complete with a massive amount of new links and content added to the home page, is a major reason why even AltaVista admits it lost pure search users.

In contrast, Google proudly says that the latest changes actually reduced what few words were already on the home page by 30 percent. The company also says that the tabs have been found effective, in user testing.

"Using the tabs has increased usage in those areas and made it easier to access the information," Rodriguez said. In particular, she said there were significant increases in the take up of image and directory search.

Google said it evaluated several design options, including integrating matches from all its different databases into one page. However, the tabbed option was seen as most effective by users.

Google is also planning to go beyond indexing only web pages and PDF files, in the near future. Google won't say exactly which new document types are to be added, but it's fair to say that Microsoft Office formats, such as .doc and .xls, will probably be among them.

It is because so many people save important information in these formats that Google is likely to support them. That is the reason Google cited when it added support for Adobe Acrobat PDF files, back in February.

A relatively new power command also lets you narrow your search to find documents in particular formats. The command is filetype:, and you follow it with the extension you want to search for. For instance:

california power crisis filetype:pdf

brings back PDF files that contain the words "california power crisis." In contrast:

california power crisis filetype:asp

brings back Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) files, while

california power crisis filetype:html

brings back ordinary HTML files that end in .html, that contain the words. It will not bring back HTML files the end in .htm, however. Technically, Google considers those to be a different file type, simply because the ending is different.

By the way, you can also start your query with the filetype: command, should you prefer.


Keeping Tabs On AltaVista
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 3, 1998

When AltaVista expanded, it decided -- as Google is deciding now -- that tabs above the search box seemed best.

Fourth Time Lucky For AltaVista?
The Search Engine Report, June 4, 2001

And then the tabs were gone, as AltaVista struggles back to define itself as more a streamlined search service.

Google Does PDF & Other Changes
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001

Discusses Google's implementation of PDF support.

Logitech and Google: The One-Click Search Engine, Aug. 21, 2001,2198,3531_870501,00.html

Logitech iTouch keyboard users are to get a key dedicated to Google.

Why They're Agog over Google
BusinessWeek, Sept. 24, 2001

A look at Google's growth in traffic and business prospects. FYI, the latest from Google is that 3/4 of its income comes from advertising, not half.


Excite@Home Goes Bankrupt; AltaVista Cuts Staff

Two of the web's oldest search engines had more bad financial news, with Excite@Home filing for bankruptcy last Friday and AltaVista also announcing a new round of layoffs last month.

Excite@Home operates the portal, which uses its own in-house search technology to create listings. Launched in late 1995, Excite is currently the longest-running crawler-based search engine.

The company is looking to sell the Excite portal to a buyer, but prospects of both that happening and the portal surviving in any current form are unlikely. Both and NBCi sought to offload their portals earlier this year, without success. Neither did anyone step forward to take over the in-house search technology both players had developed.

Today, from a search perspective, both sites now simply serve up paid listings -- Go uses GoTo, while NBCi uses paid listings-heavy Dogpile.

Paid listings also seems the likely future for Excite. The company currently has a paid listings partnership with FindWhat. That makes it reasonable to expect Excite to begin using FindWhat's paid listings in the near term, if it decides to shutter its in-house search operations.

Such a move would be a short term gain for FindWhat. It would immediately have access to even more of Excite's traffic, but that traffic is likely to drop, as the portal's development is abandoned.

I didn't get a comment back from Excite@Home in time for this article on any plans, but I'll keep you updated, as I hear more.

Over at AltaVista, the company cut 30 percent of its staff and named a new chief executive officer, James Barnett, formerly of president of Most of the cuts apparently came from the shopping search side of the company. After Excite, AltaVista is the web's second-longest running major crawler. It launched in December 1995.



Excite@Home files for bankruptcy, Oct. 1, 2001

More details about the filing. The broadband side of things has been sold to AT&T, which has no interest in the portal side.

Excite@Home Pulls The Plug, Sept. 29, 2001,2198,3531_894301,00.html

A closer look at the broadband deal.

Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001

Short, past article from me on problems at Excite, plus a recap of how other, older major search engines have fallen.

AltaVista names new CEO, cuts staff, Sept. 17, 2001

So, AltaVista's rankings have dropped because it "recently" cut its affiliate program, as the new CEO suggests in this article. Wrong excuse. The Yahoo deal did apparently end last month, but that wouldn't have impacted the July ratings mentioned in this article. A more wide ranging affiliate was discontinued back in February,. It paid a few cents per search, for people who sent AltaVista traffic. Of course, Google ended its similar program at the same time. Google's traffic has grown, not plunged, since then. So, why has AltaVista seen such a drop?

In addition, AltaVista's traffic has been dropping since June 2000, when it had almost a 20 percent share of the web audience, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. In contrast, Google had a 5 percent audience share. In July 2001, the situation was almost swapped. Google enjoyed a 16 percent audience share, while AltaVista struggled with a 7.6 percent share.

Don't blame the affiliates. The likely answer here is that there's a sizable "pure" search audience on the web that will give its dedication to one major search engine. AltaVista had 'em and lost 'em to Google.

Jupiter Media Metrix Ratings

See how AltaVista and Google ratings compare against each other for the past several months, via this page. Later in October, I'll also be updating it with June, July and August 2001 information. Search Engine Watch members can also use the Past Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings link at the bottom of the page, to go back even further.

Ad Market Woes Push into E-commerce Waters
AtNewYork, Sept. 26, 2001,1471,8471_892401,00.html

Facing its own financial woes, closes about half its 750 web sites.

Terra Lycos reiterates lowered outlook
Reuters, Sept. 26, 2001

Don't expect a profit from Terra Lycos for at least a year, due to the downturn in advertising.


GoTo Makes Overture To New Name

Goodbye GoTo; Hello Overture. That's to be the new name for GoTo, come October 8.

It was nearly a year ago that GoTo announced it was going to change its name. The company wanted something that reflected its new business of distributing search results to others, rather than trying to attract customers to its site.

"Overture is an introduction, and we feel that's what we do as a company," said GoTo's chief operating officer Jaynie Studenmund. "We also felt it was a sophisticated enough name, in case our products expand."

The move to the name in October will also mean a new stock ticker symbol, GOTO being replaced by OVER.

Don't worry -- entering into your browser will still bring you to the right place, even after the name change. GoTo plans to maintain the domain for at least though next March 15.



See the logo, at this placeholder for the future new site of GoTo.

GoTo gambles with new name, Sept. 10, 2001

A bit more about the name change and GoTo's earnings. May No Longer Be a Go-To Stock
Wall St. Journal, Sept. 5, 2001

Longer look at GoTo's business model and finances. Its stock has been down, due in part to insider selling.


Inktomi Spam Database Left Open To Public

Inktomi suffered an embarrassing lack of security last week, when it was discovered that a copy of its database of spam and porn sites was left open to the public. The full and lengthy story can be found via the URL below:

Inktomi Spam Database Left Open To Public
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001


Surplus Of Search Engine Marketing Reports

It's been a busy few weeks for reports about search engine marketing issues, with three different publications having been released recently. They cover the issues of selecting a search engine marketing firm, which search engine marketing strategies seem to work and a review of how the web sites of Fortune 100 companies rate in terms of search engine friendliness. The first URL below is a long review covering each of the reports. Direct links to the reports themselves are also shown below.

Surplus Of Search Engine Marketing Reports
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001

Buyers' Guide to Search Engine Optimization & Positioning Firms
MarketingSherpa, Sept. 2001

This is the report that covers selecting an SEO firm.

Search Engine Optimization Strategies: A Marketer's Perspective
CyberAtlas, August 2001

This is the report written by me and Search Engine Watch associate editor Chris Sherman on search engine marketing strategies.

How visible is the Fortune 100 to Web Searchers?

This is the report about Fortune 100 companies.

SearchDay Articles

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


Search Engine Strategies: Buying Your Way In
SearchDay, Sept. 27, 2001

If you think you can't buy your way into search engine results, think again -- the number of new fee based programs is at an all time high.


Writing for Search Engines
SearchDay, Sept. 26, 2001

There's a fine art to developing content that maintains a good balance between ranking well in the search engines and still appeals to the intended audience.


Leveraging Your Content
SearchDay, Sept. 25, 2001

Though they're 'cool,' advanced design techniques such as frames, Flash and dynamically generated Web sites pose challenges for search engines.


Special Search Tools & Products Issue
SearchDay, Sept. 19, 2001

In this issue of SearchDay, guest writer Avi Rappoport provides an update on developments in the world of search products.


Search Engine Optimization Strategies
SearchDay, Sept. 18, 2001

Experts describe web page design solutions that can help boost visibility in search engine results.


To Cloak or Not to Cloak?
SearchDay, Sept. 13, 2001

Love it or hate it, cloaking is the most controversial topic in the world of search engine marketing today.


Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites
SearchDay, Sept. 11, 2001

Advice from experts on how to create search engine friendly sites that generate more traffic from search engines and directories.


Meet the Search Engines!
SearchDay, Sept. 6, 2001

Key executives from AltaVista, FAST, Google and Inktomi open their kimonos and share facts, tips and secrets about their respective search engines.


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


The Mediwarp health search engine provides easy access to more than 500.000 health and medical related web pages, complemented by a huge directory of preselected web sites.



Simple and fast, Daypop aims to let you search against over 4,000 newspaper and magazine web sites, as well as web logs. Like Google, pages are also cached, so you can view them in case the original page no longer exists or can't be reached. You can limit your search to a variety of date ranges. Well worth a visit.

Search Engine Articles

To Google or to GoTo?
BusinessWeek, Sept. 28, 2001

Writer Heather Green pits Goto against Google and finds that both are good in different situations.


Jeeves Solutions Unveils JeevesOne, Sept. 24, 2001,2198,3531_889761,00.html

Want Ask Jeeves-style answers for your web site without having to hire the company's editorial staff? Now the software toolset for managing your own knowledgebase is available, for $100,000 per CPU installation.

========================= And Applied Semantics Make "DomainSense", Sept. 20, 2001,,5321_888041,00.html

The folks at Applied Semantics, formerly known as Oingo, are applying their technology to help's customers come up with alternative domain name options.


Daypop Searches News and Weblogs Up to the Minute Web Search Guide, Sept. 17, 2001

Longer review of the Daypop news search service, listed above in the Search Engine Resources section.


A Site to Take Issue With
Business 2.0, Sept. 6, 2001,1653,17095,00.html

Short review of which lets you find....back issues of magazines. Perhaps now's the time for me to offload all those back issues of Starlog from the 1970s!


Do Search Engines Expedite the Theft of Digital Images?
New York Times, Sept. 6, 2001

In-depth article on the issue of the upcoming image search lawsuit that I covered in an earlier newsletter. Quotes from the parties involved and analysts.


Atomz Powers Along the S-curve
ASPNews, Sept. 5, 2001,2350,10576_879091,00.html

Profile of how Atomz has built a business by providing remote site search services.

My Reading List

Thanks this month to items spotted in....

Netsurfer Digest


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