The Search Engine Update, May 23, 2000, Number 77

May 23, 2000 - Number 77

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch

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, Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

In This Issue

+ About The Search Engine Watch site
+ Conference News

+ Pagejacking Complaint Involves High-Profile Sites
+ Paid Links At MSN Search Get Cheaper, Easier

+ Web Shaped Like A Bow Tie
+ WWW9 Features Search Papers
+ Free Listings Gone At LookSmart
+ New Search Engine Forums Available
+ Meta Search Site Attracts Buzz
+ Chat Search Engine Available

Search Engine Articles
+ Interesting articles relating to search engines.

+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

Site News

Hello Everyone--

I've posted a new page that covers issues about how search engines deal with multilingual pages, as well as issues to consider when dealing with regional search engines. It's quite detailed, and I think it will answer many of the questions I've gotten on this topic in the past.

More About Countries And Languages

Password Finder

Conference News

Just an FYI that the final agenda for the next Search Engine Strategies conference should be up later this week. The conference will be held in San Francisco on August 14. I'll be presenting and moderating sessions that feature experts on search engine marketing issues and panelists from the various major search engines themselves, including Ask Jeeves, Inktomi and Snap. In addition, there will be a special session on shopping search, which should be of interest to any online retailers. Details about the conference, for attendees or potential sponsors and exhibitors, can be found via the URL below.

Search Engine Strategies 2000 - San Francisco


Pagejacking Complaint Involves High-Profile Sites

A complaint has been filed with the US Federal Trade Commission involving the alleged theft of web pages from high profile sites such as Disney, CNET and the Discovery Channel. The complaint claims that the content was "pagejacked" to generate traffic via search engines for other high profile sites such as eToys and Barnes & Noble. You'll find the full story via the URL below, and I may follow up beyond this in the next newsletter.

Pagejacking Complaint Involves High-Profile Sites, May 12, 2000


Paid Links At MSN Search Get Cheaper, Easier

MSN Search has made major changes to its paid links program that make it worth a second look by those who may have been put off by the high cost of advertising with the service.

MSN Search has retained its CPM model, but minimum bids are now based on a CPM of $1.50, rather than $15, as was previously the case. It's a dramatic drop. For instance, bidding on the word "travel" previously would have cost $975 per week. Now, the price plunges to only $97.50 per week.

Similarly, the lower price means that the ultimate cost per click should be much less expensive. I've heard nearly universal complaints by those who have purchased paid links at MSN Search that few people clicked on their ads. The new changes will do nothing to increase clickthrough, given that the paid links continue to be poorly positioned on the results page. However, because you'll be paying far less for the ads, the paid links become a much more attractive means of gaining some ancillary traffic.

Those who have already experimented with text links at the old, higher rate are being given credit equal to 50 percent of whatever they've spent during the program. For instance, if you purchased $80 worth of text links, your account should now show a $40 credit good toward future ads.

Additionally, any existing bids you have for the auction period that closes tomorrow should have been automatically reset to a lower amount. Also, if you have disabled some bids or had them disabled because of a low account balance, a new "Re-enable Bids" option brings up a new form allowing you to easily reestablish all or some your terms at once. It's a much needed change from having to reenable each term individually, as was previously the case.

MSN Search/bCentral Keywords

Paid links on MSN Search are placed through Microsoft's bCentral web site, and you can sign up via this URL.

Paid Links At MSN Search And Direct Hit
The Search Engine Update, April 24, 2000

This article details the paid links system at MSN Search and explains how the CPM model compares to cost-per-click systems such as used by Aside from the pricing change, MSN Search now also allows words to be up to 14 characters long.


Web Shaped Like A Bow Tie

A new study has found that most pages across the web are linked to each other through a "bow tie" structure. The "knot" at the center of the tie contains pages that are highly linked to, while sides of the bow contain pages that either point "in" toward the knot or which the knot itself points "out" to. The study was conducted by AltaVista, IBM Research and Compaq Corporate Research Laboratories. In addition, AltaVista will be making ongoing use of this map in order to improve its search results. I'll bring more on that and the study in the next newsletter. In the meantime, more information can be found via the links below.

Graph structure in the web
WWW9, May 15, 2000

Winner of the "Best Paper Award" at the recent WWW9 conference, this highly-technical presentation covers what the joint study found.

Picturing the Web
About Web Search Guide, May 16, 2000

Nice overview of the study, in non-technical terms.


WWW9 Features Search Papers

Those looking for technical papers relating to search should head over to the proceedings of the recent Ninth International World Wide Web Conference, which was held from May 15 to 19. I've highlighted a few documents that seemed particularly interesting, but even more can be found via the table of contents, below. Be warned -- these are highly technical documents.

WWW9 Proceedings: Table of Contents

A full list of papers presented at the conference.

The Term Vector Database: fast access to indexing terms for Web pages

What's term vectoring? Think of it as automatically tagging a page with its relevant unique keywords. Why care? This paper from Compaq Systems Research, Google and AltaVista describes how term vectoring can be used alongside link analysis to ensure that high-quality pages are returned. It can also be used for automatically classifying web pages against directory topics.

Focused Web Searching with PDAs

Google makes use of the second method described in this paper, translating pages on the fly into a PDA-friendly format. The "Power Brower" project goes beyond this mainly by adding keyword support -- enter a few words, and it will suggest terms, saving you from trying to spell out a query on a tiny number pad.

SearchPad: Explicit Capture of Search Context to Support Web Search

Describes a method of automatically tracking results found at various search engines without requiring a user to download software or take special actions.

Query Routing for Web Search Engines: Architecture and Experiments

Describes an automated method of selecting the right vertical or specialty search engine to serve a user's query.


Free Listings Gone At LookSmart

For about a week now, LookSmart has stopped taking free submissions to the US-edition of its directory. Commercial sites must now use the $199 "Express" option, while non-commercial sites can use a new $25 option that promises a turnaround time of eight weeks or less. Last month, LookSmart experimented with a somewhat similar end to free listings. I don't know yet whether this is a similar experiment or a permanent change, but I should have an answer in the next newsletter.

LookSmart Express

New details of the submission process can be found here.

LookSmart: Commercial Charge Just A Test
The Search Engine Update, May 3, 2000

More about last month's experiment.

LookSmart Launches Express Submission Service
The Search Engine Update, Feb. 3, 2000

More details about LookSmart's express submission option.


New Search Engine Forums Available

A relatively new discussion area relating to search engine promotion issues, which is apparently frequented by some current and former Open Directory editors. Web Search Forum

Research professional Gary Price is a main mover at this forum, posting interesting bits of information related to search each day.

Search Engine Talk

Other places where search engines are discussed. Be sure you are a reader of the I-Search mailing list, visit the VirtualPromote forums for the latest hot flashes among web site promoters, and the Search-L mailing list is a fairly new resource especially for those wishing to discuss search improvements.


Meta Search Site Attracts Buzz

Meta search engines are a dime a dozen these days -- every week, I hear about two or three new ones, none of which I find to be compelling. Ixquick is an exception. The meta search site has been getting quite a buzz in various places across the web, especially among the librarian and researcher crowds. The major search engines are well represented for your web page searches, plus news, MP3 and picture search options are offered. Results are ranked by "star" rating. If a page is listed at only one search engine, it gets one star. If it appears at two search engines, then it gets two stars, and so on. Pages with the most stars come first, with the assumption being that if the same page appears at several search engines, then it is probably better than pages that appear at only one service. Ixquick also offers a search interface in several major European languages.



Chat Search Engine Available

Looking for live chat about a particular topic? eNow aims to get you into the right forum. The service currently scans live discussions on about 1,000 Internet Relay Chat channels. When you visit eNow, a "Chat Scanner" application will load in a new window, assuming your browser has Flash installed. Enter your search terms into the "find Talk About" box in the lower left-hand side of the screen. Then, the scanner will check for any chat areas where those words are being discussed. You may find more than one channel, so use the channel buttons in the top left of the screen to move through those that are found. The program seemed to miss more than it hit for me, but perhaps you'll have more luck.


You Talkin' to Me?
Time, April 17, 2000,5392,42900,00.html

Longer review of the service.

Search Engine Articles

Analysts: Lycos bailed out while it could, May 16, 2000

Round-up of views on the Terra Networks buyout of Lycos.


Exits herald new era at Excite@Home, May 16, 2000

ExciteAtHome Exodus Grows
San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2000

Pair of articles covering the departure of some executives from Excite.


Report From The Field: Search Engine Strategies 2000
About Web Search Guide, May 15, 2000

Summary of issues relating to regional search engine submission, as covered in last month's Search Engine Strategies conference in London.


AltaVista searches for answers
Boston Herald, May 15, 2000

Licensing its search software is apparently AltaVista's fastest growing business, now making up 10 percent of the company's revenues.


The Changing Face of Portal Deals, May 12, 2000,2171,3_361801,00.html

Portal deals aren't dead, but advertisers are being more selective and looking more broadly than partnering with only the big players.


DoubleClick, Inktomi Ally to Grow Keyword Network, May 4, 2000,2171,12_355221,00.html

DoubleClick adds to its relatively new keyword banner network by enrolling Inktomi in the program. The program allows advertisers to purchase keyword-linked banner ads across several search sites.


The End of the Stupid Portal Deal Era
ClickZ, May 4, 2000

Now that portals are feeling the pressure to gain advertisers and partners, some thoughts and tips on moving forward with them.


Can cash-strapped merchants survive without links?, May 3, 2000

Megadeals with portals seem to be a thing of the past, though the fallout will continue to occur.


Employee No. 5 at Yahoo
Newsweek, March 27, 2000

Interview with and background about Yahoo editor in chief Srinija Srinivasan.

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