The Search Engine Update - Number 170 - April 2, 2004

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ Search Engine Strategies Goes International
+ Search Engine Articles By Danny Sullivan
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ Search Engine Resources
+ About The Newsletter

=========================
Search Engine Watch News
=========================

Hello Everyone--

Last issue, I mentioned I would do a follow-up piece about Yahoo's new paid inclusion programs, to answer some new questions that have come up and also to examine the renewed debate that erupted over paid inclusion.

That's turned into a four part series that will begin sometime next week. If you get SearchDay, you'll be alerted to when articles are posted. Otherwise, I'll catch you up in the next edition of this newsletter.

I'll also jump back into site updates, with my priority to bring some of the tables and charts up-to-date with the most recent changes in how various search engines are powered.

Yahoo, of course, shifted to using its own search technology back in February. In the middle of March, AllTheWeb switched over to Yahoo Search. Now this week, AltaVista has made the move. With the major musical chairs now over, I think it's safe to jump back in and rechart everyone safely!

Finally, have you ever see an item in the Search Engine Articles or Search Engine Resources section of newsletter that you want to reference with a hyperlink? This is now easily done. Simply view the online version of the newsletter (see instructions at the bottom on doing this). Click on the associated permalink near the item, and you can jump people right to it.

========================

Search Engine Strategies Goes International

Search Engine Strategies just had its largest and most successful show in New York last month. Now the show moves outside the US to Tokyo, Toronto and London.

The Toronto and London shows cover search engine marketing issues, just as with the SES shows held in the United States. You'll find a variety of sessions that feature search engine marketing experts as well as search engine representatives themselves.

If you want to know more about targeting the Canadian audience, be sure to attend the Toronto show next month in May. It will have sessions specifically on this topic and involve local speakers. A full agenda and registration information can be found here:

Search Engine Strategies Toronto: May 11 & 12
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/toronto04/

The London show in June will have sessions about targeting the UK and Europe, as well as local speakers. Attend that, if you want to understand how to reach the UK and European audiences. The agenda has just been posted here:

Search Engine Strategies London: June 2 & 3
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/london04/

A link to our Tokyo show, as well as basic information about our August 2-5 show in San Jose, October 27-28 show in Stockholm and December 13-16 show in Chicago can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com/

=========================
Search Engine Articles
By Danny Sullivan

=========================

Google PageRank, Meet Yahoo Web Rank!
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/3334891

Yahoo has launched a system to show the Web Rank popularity of pages viewed by those using its toolbar. It's similar to the Google Toolbar's long-standing PageRank meter -- and brings with it some of the same potential problems.

========================

Welcome To The Google Desktop?
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/3335011

Will Google's new Gmail free email system be just the first of many things we begin moving to a new Google Desktop? If so, Microsoft might have a lot more to worry about than web search. But might concerns over privacy prevent Google's success?

========================

The Ads Google Just Says No To
The Search Engine Update, April 2, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/3335041

Want to buy an ad on Google? You might find it rejected after the fact for a variety of unpublished reasons.

========================

Froogle Gains Through New Placement
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/3335021

This week's format change at Google greatly increased the use of its Froogle shopping search engine, according to measuring service Hitwise.

========================

Google Tops, But MSN Growth Good & Yahoo Switch A Success So Far
SearchDay, April 2, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/3334871

New stats from web analytics firm WebSideStory highlight the news often heard before: Google's most popular, when it comes to search. But dig into the figures, and you discover that MSN is doing better than you might think. In addition, Yahoo's recent replacement of Google results with those from its own crawler-based technology doesn't appear to have cost it visitors.

========================

Google Launches Gmail, Free Email Service
SearchDay, March 31, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/3334251

Google is launching a new web-based email service called Gmail that it hopes it will allow people to search their email as easily as they search the web -- as well as provide Google with a more permanent connection to its users.

========================

Google Loses Tabs In New Look, Gains Web Alerts & Personalized Search Results
SearchDay, March 30, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3332511

Google has rolled a new look that involves dropping its famed search tabs, along with debuting a web alerts service and a personalized search results option.

========================

New Look In July, New Search Engine Later, Says MSN
SearchDay, Mar. 25, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3330951

MSN announced a redesign for its MSN Search service last week, a cosmetic change that better delineates paid placement listings. But the July release will not coincide with the launch of new underlying technology. And the future paid inclusion at MSN is undergoing active debate.

=========================
SearchDay Articles
=========================

Here's a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:

Paid Search Programs Finally Growing Up
SearchDay, March 31, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3333571

The search industry has come a long way since the days of running poorly targeted banner advertisements on search results pages. Enhanced keyword targeting capabilities and powerful new bidding and analysis tools have raised the value of search as a promotional channel.

========================

Dogpile Enhances Toolbar with News Feeds
SearchDay, March 29, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3332351

Dogpile has rolled out a new version of its toolbar that adds an intriguing twist to its well-known web search capabilities, providing a built-in 'ticker' that tracks your favorite RSS feeds.

========================

Ranking the Quality of Online News
SearchDay, Mar. 24, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3330311

How good are the 4,500 news sources from around the world that Google News continuously crawls? Newsknife is an intriguing measurement tool that rates news sites for quality.

========================

Affiliate Programs: Moneymakers or Brandbusters?
SearchDay, Mar. 23, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/3324871

Search engine affiliate programs offer the promise of greatly increasing your online exposure and sales, but be careful: They can also displace your firm in search engine results and dilute your brand image.

========================

Yahoo News Upgrades To Take On Google News
SearchDay, Mar. 22, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3328971

Yahoo released a new version of its news search engine late last week, a new move in what may be a modern-day version of the great newspaper wars.

========================

Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, March 19, 2004
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3328351

Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Why Would Anyone Bid $5.00 Per Click - Search Engines and AdSense - Geo-Targeting Content - Search Engine Optimization Implications? - Google Shows a Map to Your House - Google Tweaks Local Search Out of the Labs - What Does Traffic Estimator Include? Indexing Pages in Hebrew - Yahoo, What Gives? How Do You Tell If You're Penalized?

========================

Want to receive SearchDay? Sign-up for the free daily newsletter from Search Engine Watch via the link below:

SearchDay
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/

=========================
Search Engine Articles
=========================

Search in the Real World
iMediaConnection, April 1, 2004
http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/3146.asp

I always find it amazing that with all the importance of search engines, including the advertising money going to them, there's seemingly little research done on how we interact with them. See at the very end of this newsletter about the recent Enquiro study, which is an excellent start.

Less scientific, but no less interesting, Lee Watters tried to get a glimpse of search in the real world by talking with 25 of his friends.

We search because it finds things, according to his friends. We want search engines to find things better, somehow, by magic. We may or may not care about paid listings -- but we want to know what's going on. We use Google, mostly.

Notice the classic "I used to favor AltaVista" comment. I hear this preface all the time when teaching classes on searching. People loved, loved AltaVista. When they say they left it for Google, you hear regret constantly in their voices. They didn't want the marriage to break up, but AltaVista just wasn't pulling its weight. (permalink)

========================

Jupiter Projects Slower Local Search Growth, Foiling High Expectations
MediaPost, April 1, 2004
http://www.mediapost.com/dtls_dsp_news.cfm?newsId=244698

Jupiter Research says local search will grow at a slower rate than general search advertising, primarily because local advertisers are slow to spend online. (permalink)

========================

Google developer doesn't fear pay-for APIs
The Register, March 31, 2004
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/36669.html

Google's API service isn't aimed to help people build commercial services. But Google Alert sees a business in using the API for tracking Google results. This story suggests it may have cut a deal with Google to share revenues when paid-for services are offered.

Google Alert's Gideon Greenspan tells me this: "Google has agreed and encouraged us to begin charging for a premium service using the high-volume API key that they have supplied, but we haven't signed anything yet. As the premium service grows, the key capacity will need to be increased, and we'll enter discussions about specific business terms."

More about Google Alert here: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3301451. More about Google's own just-launched alert service here: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3332511 (permalink)

========================

Search gets sketchy, as engines get the picture
News.com, March 31, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1038-5182775.html

Draw a picture, get matching image search results. That's the hope of an experimental search engine at Purdue University. Story also discusses the new players trying to provide the same type service. Perhaps they'll be more successful than some players no longer around, after the last round of promised image search advances. Certainly the economic climate may be more favorable now. For a look at some past players, see Searching Inside Of Images, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2163241 (permalink)

========================

Marchex is Seattle's first Internet IPO in 4 years
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, March 31, 2004
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/167021_marchex31.html

Marchex raised $26 million by going public in March (one rumor I heard was that the company name stands for March exit). The company was founded by former Go2Net/InfoSpace executives. It owns Enhance Interactive, the recently renamed ah-ha paid listings service. Enhance also provides paid inclusion listings to various InfoSpace web sites, such as Dogpile. Marchex also owns search engine marketing firm TrafficLeader, which resells paid inclusion and paid placement listings, as well as provides other services. (permalink)

========================

Local Search: Working Hard for the Money
ClickZ, March 31, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3333601

Cashing in on local search will require search engines and online yellow pages to work together. That's one conclusion from a recent Kelsey Group conference on local search. (permalink)

========================

Overture takes search ads to U.K. phones
Reuters, March 30, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1024-5181792.html

Paid listings from Overture are coming to cell phones in the US. (permalink)

========================

GlobalSpec: Domain Specific Search and the Semantic Web
John Battelle's Searchblog, March 30, 2004
http://battellemedia.com/archives/000519.php

Review of new engineering search engine and a hope that more vertical or specialized search engines will emerge. I agree -- I hope we'll see more of these.

Back in 2000, it seemed this would finally happen (see The Vortals Are Coming! The Vortals Are Coming!, http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2162541). But the economic slowdown took its toll. Now, perhaps the long overdue explosion of specialty search will happen.

One tool that might help I mentioned (http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/updates/article.php/3115481) back in December, Vortaloptics, http://www.vortaloptics.com. It's designed to help people build their own specialized search engines. (permalink)

========================

Google hit with 'geo-location' lawsuit
News.com, March 30, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1032-5181810.html

Digital Envoy, which provides Google with the ability to target ads by searcher location, is suing Google for allegedly violating its licensing agreement. Google apparently has been using geotargeting on sites in its advertising network, while the licensing agreement only allows for use on Google's own sites.

Digital Envoy claims this use has greatly increased Google's revenue, while its $8,000 per month licensing fee hasn't reflected this. The company didn't feel a $12,000 per month offer by Google for expanded use reflected a fair value for its services.

Google recently expanded its geotargeting capabilities, http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3099591, but the case includes geotargeting that happened even before this. (permalink)

========================

Baidu president takes on Google
Shenzhen Daily, March 29, 2004
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-03/29/content_1389327.htm

Profile of Robin Le, president of Baidu.com, a major Chinese search engine, and how the service hopes to succeed against Google and other competitors. (permalink)

========================

Design Matters
ClickZ, March 29, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/experts/search/results/article.php/3331381

Don't lose track of good page design in your quest for better rankings. Good looking, search engine friendly pages are possible. (permalink)

========================

New Google Syntax for Number Range
ResearchBuzz, March 29, 2004
http://www.researchbuzz.org/archives/001560.shtml

Slick. Ever wanted to search for something that involved a range of numbers, like any pages mentioning the American Revolution and the dates 1776 through 1779? Tara Calishain tells how to do this with Google's new number range command. (permalink)

========================

Mapquest Beta Tests Local Search
ClickZ, March 29, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3332731

AOL's Mapquest service gains a more prominent ability for those getting maps to also search for local businesses. (permalink)

========================

Why Topix Is Different: Toward A Sustainable Model For Net Media Companies
John Battelle's Searchblog, March 29, 2004
http://battellemedia.com/archives/000515.php

Close up on the behind-the-scenes at Topix, a new news search service. I mentioned the service briefly back in February, and we'll be taking a closer look in the future. In the meantime, John Battelle gives a nice look at how the service categorizes stories both by topic and by geographic location. (permalink)

========================

MSN to add features Google got to first
Seattle Times, March 27, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1025_3-5180519.html

Microsoft announces plans to expand its news search service, develop a blog search tool and eventually offer an answer search facility. Other coverage of the same:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2001889205_msn27.html, http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3332891. I'll also come back to this with a few more details in the near future. (permalink)

========================

The Grownup at Google
Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2004
http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB108051189603067300-H9jeoNjlad3oJ2mbXyIaK6Gm5,00.html

Q&A with Google chair and CEO Eric Schmidt, on formalizing Google without killing creativity and spirit, the "do no evil" philosophy, hiring, making decisions in cooperation with Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, working independently of them and not needing to IPO in order to raise cash. (permalink)

========================

The Case for Infospace + Google
Traffick, March 27, 2004
http://www.traffick.com/blog/archive/2004_03_21_archive.asp#108041039953434966

Grab Infospace, and Google could take lots of metasearch traffic away from its competitors. (permalink)

========================

Google's Thumbnails Illegal in Germany
Greplaw.org, March 29, 2004
http://grep.law.harvard.edu/article.pl?sid=04/03/29/1510213&mode=thread

A German regional court rules that thumbnail photos used in Google's news service violate copyright laws. (permalink)

========================

Stoked on search deals
News.com, March 26, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1025-5180417.html

Yahoo buys European shopping search engine Kelkoo. Infospace buys yellow pages provider Switchboard. Mamma and Ask Jeeves see big stock jumps. It's a whole new round of search buying!

The bubble's not on the advertising side -- there's definitely demand there. But the fever to buy search companies might be too hot. But when Microsoft says they have "regrets" about not having done more in search earlier, folks don't want to miss out.

One analyst in the story says it is Microsoft's way to build, not buy -- and it will do the same in search. It certainly is doing this, but there have been plenty of times it has bought to get ahead quickly. I think its actually unusual that in the case of search, it hasn't.

FrontPage -- a purchase. eShop? Hotmail? Visio? Vicinity? Purchases (see here and here for more).

Remember MS-DOS? Started off with a license. In fact, Microsoft didn't even take on Netscape from scratch. The company licensed code from NCSA to get started (see here and here for more).

Microsoft did look at AltaVista last year. After not getting it, it first said it wasn't really "serious" then declared soon after that it had gained search religion and would build things itself. If it had been willing to sell, Google would have been a killer purchase to have, as I explained in Surprised Google & Microsoft Talked Takeover? You Shouldn't Be!

Today, Microsoft says it's continuing onward with its own internal development and says that we might see its crawler appear by the end of the year. But imagine if Microsoft had purchased someone like AltaVista, AllTheWeb or even Ask Jeeves. Rather than being behind an eternity in internet time, Microsoft would be competing just as strongly as Yahoo is now doing.

FYI, 2003 was the busiest year for search acquisitions since 1999, the last time we had a frenzy like this. Search Engine Watch members have access to the Search Engine Acquisitions page (http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/factfiles/article.php/2152851), a useful compilation of past articles by date that documents the buying that's gone on over the past years. (permalink)

========================

Yahoo finds a friend in MSN
News.com, March 26, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1024-5180422.html

Who did MSN put in front of its top strategic partners? Yahoo CEO Terry Semel -- whose company is both Microsoft's current search partner and a chief competitor. Semel wants to encourage cross-network buying, and the idea seems especially that MSN and Yahoo want to jointly get more spending going online. Of course, this cooperation doesn't appear to extend to getting the buying going on Google, as well! (permalink)

========================

B2B SEM: Sorting Ambiguous Traffic
ClickZ, March 26, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/experts/search/strat/article.php/3331281

Want B2B traffic? You can't just rely on selecting the right keywords in an ambiguous world. Tips on how to better qualify and convert. (permalink)

========================

InfoSpace to bring Switchboard on board
News.com, March 26, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1032_3-5179803.html

InfoSpace plans to purchase online yellow pages provider Switchboard for $160 million. Bad news for Verizon, which currently provides its SuperPages.com yellow pages data to InfoSpace. (permalink)

========================

Upstart Competitors Try to Outdo Google
AP, March 26, 2004
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1555522,00.asp

Everyone wants to be the new Google -- but Google is the rare exception that became a huge success. A look at some new players hoping they might beat the odds. Also see a similar BBC story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3557293.stm and News.com story here: http://news.com.com/2100-1038_3-5172198.html (permalink)

========================

Shopping.com Files for $75M IPO
DMNews.com, March 26, 2004
http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=26952

Shopping.com -- formerly DealTime -- has filed for a public offering that might raise $75 million. (permalink)

========================

Yahoo says bienvenue to Kelkoo
News.com, March 26, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1038_3-5179775.html

Yahoo plans to purchase European shopping search engine Kelkoo for $579 million. Yahoo has long operated its own internal shopping search engine in the US, which was recently upgraded: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3081551. In Europe, it seems to have partnered with Pangora.com for this. Now with Kelkoo, it will own European-based technology and a strong brand. In addition, Kelkoo currently powers shopping search at MSN's UK site and likely other European ones, as well. Google's Froogle service, now over a year old, still doesn't carry products outside the US. (permalink)

========================

Microsoft Concedes Misstep in Search Market
eWeek, March 25, 2004
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1554638,00.asp

Earlier this year, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates confessed that his company was behind in search and vowed to catch up with Google (and though not said, also Yahoo). Now CEO Steve Ballmer says the company should have done more earlier, as well. He also expects to have the crawler-portion complete within 12 months, but it will take longer to develop a paid listings service. IE -- expect to see Yahoo's crawler-based results disappear first, then Overture's paid listings further down the line. (permalink)

========================

Five-domain Googlebomb explodes in boardroom
The Register, March 25, 2004
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/36514.html

Daniel Brandt of Google Watch fame has created a new site to target Yahoo's new paid inclusion program: Yahoo Watch, http://www.yahoo-watch.org. I'll be looking more closely at the site and issues with Yahoo's program in general in a multipart series later this month.

In the meantime, Brandt's not done with Google. He linked to Google's corporate information page with the words "out of touch executives." Soon after, the page was driven to the top results at Google for those words.

Of course, the same thing is now true at Yahoo, as even Brandt notes. That underscores what I've written many times before, most recently about the "miserable failure" search that happened BOTH at Google and Yahoo: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/3296101. Link analysis flaws aren't just a Google problem.

The solution proposed by Brandt -- don't let the terms in a link to a page influence how that page might rank -- isn't a solution. There are many, many times that the context of links pointing at pages helps very good pages rise to the top.

For example, say someone is trying to find Google Watch by typing in googlewatch as a single word. Google still manages to get the Google Watch home page site ranked first, even though that word doesn't appear on the page itself.

There are definitely problems that have been demonstrated by allowing link context to influence what other pages are deemed to be about. Google tells me it has made some limiting of this for adult terms, to help avoid things like what happened to the George W. Bush campaign web site back in 2001. It's also looking to explore what else can be done, and I'll revisit this in a future article.

In the meantime, falling back to old-school "on the page" factors (also see here) isn't a solution and would likely make things worse.

What will help? The two leading thoughts for getting to a third generation of search are personalization (see Eurekster Launches Personalized Social Search) and what I call invisible tabs, the use of specialized search databases.

A big reason both may help is that they greatly multiply the number of fronts where the page spam or link manipulation battles have to be fought.

FYI, MSN Watch has also been founded: http://www.msn-watch.org. Creator Aaron Wall didn't want to miss out on all the Watch madness. (permalink)

========================

Six Apart Trains Guns on 'Comment Spam'
InternetNews.com, March 25, 2004
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3331341

The makers of the Movable Type blogging tool are working up a method to allow comments but prevent spamming designed to influence search engines. (permalink)

========================

Ruling clouds plans for search functions
San Jose Mercury News, March 25, 2004
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/technology/8271973.htm

The European Union has told Microsoft it has to unbundle its media player. Does that mean plans to perhaps have a super-search tool built into the operating system won't fly, either? A look at the possible repercussions. (permalink)

========================

All the news that's fit for searching
San Jose Mercury News, March 24, 2004
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/8263165.htm

Brief look at the Microsoft NewsJunkie project, designed to help push new news to the top and repeat stories down. (permalink)

========================

Is Google telling lies? Just who is Google's customer?
About Web Search Guide, March 24, 2004
http://websearch.about.com/cs/google/a/googlefib.htm

Google's customer isn't just the searcher. The site owner and the search engine advertisers are also important clients. (permalink)

========================

Google Facing Public Filing as it Grows
CBS MarketWatch.com, March 23, 2004
http://cbs.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid={B151968C-EC29-40EB-A732-384327D51687}

Revisiting the issue that Google may have to share details of its finances regardless of whether it goes public, because of the number of stockholders and amount of assets it has. Barron's Online raised this back in October: http://online.wsj.com/barrons/article/0,,SB106583046445910900,00.html (permalink)

========================

Search conferences - the new rock & roll?
netimperative, March 23, 2004
http://www.netimperative.com/cmn/viewdoc.jsp?cat=all&docid=BEP1_Feature_0000063634

Mike Grehan does two search conferences in one week shares tales of crowds, search engines drinking with spammers and more. (permalink)

========================

Google to find place for Orkut network in search
News.com, March 22, 2004
http://news.com.com/2100-1026_3-5177233.html

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said recently that its Orkut social networking service will be someday integrated into Google to help it with search. That's more commitment that when Orkut was launched. Then Google said it had no idea what might happen with the service: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3302741.

Given that Eurekster was actively using its social network to refine search (see http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3301481), it was pretty clear Google would ultimately do the same. Be aware that the recently released Google personal search service (see http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3332511) doesn't yet use Orkut data. (permalink)

========================

Media Planners Face Tough, Time-Consuming Task When It Comes To Search
MediaPost, March 22, 2004
http://www.mediapost.com/dtls_dsp_news.cfm?newsID=242988

Search is getting more and more complex, as many more smaller players vie for advertiser dollars and even the big players push different products. Then there's the complexity of just handling the basic keyword-linked paid placement ads. Some ad agencies are outsourcing, but others are deciding they need to face the challenge by building up internally. (permalink)

========================

Ass-Backwards SEM
ClickZ, March 22, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/experts/search/results/article.php/3328731

Are you spending on paid listings without addressing problems that may hurt your ROI? Then consider that you're doing things backwards. (permalink)

========================

Lycos HotBot Offers Free DeskTop Toolbar
Information Today, March 22, 2004
http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb040322-1.shtml

Lycos rolls out a new toolbar that lets you search the web and your personal computer, indexing material in Microsoft Office and other files. Sounds very cool. Pity it fails to load for me. You might have more luck. Gary Price and Barbara Quint did, and they give a good rundown on the tool here.

AltaVista Discovery was the last tool like this. It also let you search the web, files on your computer and even within email: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2166441. The tool never took off, and it was eventually discontinued. (permalink)

========================

Feds Arrest Alleged Google Extortionist
InternetNews.com, March 22, 2004
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3329281

We've long done sessions at Search Engine Strategies involving how to monitor your PPC campaigns for fraudulent clicks. Despite safeguards in place by search engines, things still get through. But here's an extreme case of a man accused of trying to extort $100,000 from Google. He allegedly threatened to "destroy" Google with software that would run up fraudulent clicks on Google's contextual ads during a meeting with a company. Another good account of the story here from the San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/8231386.htm

For some past Search Engine Watch articles on the topic of auditing your click charges, see:

Ask the Search Engine: Coping with Fraudulent Pay-Per-Click Traffic
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2159721

Perfecting Paid Search Engine Listings
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2161001

(permalink)

========================

Google seeks consensus on personal-info issues
USA Today, March 22, 2004
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2004-03-22-google-privacy_x.htm

You've read it before, and here it is again. Google -- and apparently only Google -- makes it easier for people to find out your personal details. As always, this is a problem, but it's a SEARCH ENGINE problem. If Google is "the biggest privacy invader on the planet," as a former CTO of the Privacy Foundation puts it, then so is Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, at the very least. They also operate powerful crawlers. And Google cofounder Larry Page is right -- it would be nice if the internet, or at least the search engine industry, sought some consensus on how to handle the real concerns people may have. For more on this topic, see also Search Privacy And User Information, http://searchenginewatch.com/resources/article.php/2156541#Privacy (permalink)

========================

Mamma.com wins name game
Globe & Mail, March 22, 2004
http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040322.gtrmama22/BNStory/Technology/

Mamma changes its name to reflect its search focus and sees the company's value go up 200 percent. But analysts warn too much hype is driving up the company's shares. (permalink)

========================

Selected Search and Search-Related Papers (Full Text) from the Upcoming WWW2004
ResourceShelf, March 21, 2004
http://www.resourceshelf.com/archives/2004_03_21_resourceshelfextra_archive.html/#108015170507422803

The annual WWW conference is always when interesting search-related papers get released. Gary Price provides a rundown on what's being covered. (permalink)

========================

Accountant `Googles' Himself, Sues for Libel
AP, March 19, 2004
http://www.nbc4.tv/news/2937016/detail.html

An accountant unhappy with the information Google returned on a search for his name has filed a libel suit against the firm. He wants a court to ban PageRank, saying it "reformats information obtained from accurate sources." PageRank (a popularity score Google uses for each page and only one of many different ranking factors) has nothing to do with it. Instead, it seems that Google listed a page or pages about this person that he claims libel him. The issue really isn't PageRank but rather should a search engine be liable for the veracity of material it lists? Jennifer Laycock takes a closer look at the story here: http://websearch.about.com/cs/google/a/googlesue.htm. In this, she finds PageRank is being confused with how Google creates descriptions or "snippets" for the pages it lists. (permalink)

========================

Yahoo's New Paid Inclusion
ClickZ, March 19, 2004
http://www.clickz.com/experts/search/strat/article.php/3327951

Kevin Lee explains why you might want to try (or perhaps resign yourself) to Yahoo's new paid inclusion programs. (permalink)

========================

AOL got Google warrants in 2002 -filing
Forbes, March 18, 2004
http://www.forbes.com/technology/newswire/2004/03/18/rtr1304559.html

Flash back to 2002, and there were some people surprised that AOL dumped Overture and Inktomi in place of Google. Overture suggested Google was taking a loss (see http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164731) and also dismissed the idea that having good editorial results for partners was necessary (something it flip-flopped on a year later, when buying AltaVista and AllTheWeb).

Now it appears that AOL gained the right to purchase 1.9 million preferred shares of Google for $22 million. John Battelle estimates selling these might bring in $200 million: http://battellemedia.com/archives/000478.php.

I'm sure the stock warrants sweetened the deal and gave what Google cofounder Sergey Brin described at the time as "competitive monetization." (permalink)

========================

Doorway Pages or Advertising Pages, What Is The Difference?
Search Engine Guide, March 17, 2004
http://www.searchengineguide.com/wallace/2004/0317_dw1.html

I always love the conversation with someone who has talked with an SEO firm that wants to get them listed with some type of newfangled pages that explicitly are NOT doorway pages. The person knows doorway pages are bad, but this firm has explained that these are attraction pages, entry pages, infosearch pages and so on -- the "good" kind.

Not always -- but often -- if the SEO firm is coming up with some new name you've never heard of, they've simply renamed doorway pages to be something they hope will be acceptable. Or as Jill Whalen put it so well, call 'em "zebra" pages if you want, but they probably still are doorway pages and bring with them potential trouble (more on Jill's classic here: http://www.highrankings.com/issue090.htm#stuff)

Dave Wallace takes a fresh look at the type of confusion this renaming can cause. Importantly, he provides a rundown on how he investigates the alleged "advertising" pages to see if they are what he'd consider spammy doorway pages.

Shari Thurow also provides a great rundown on red flags to look for as well as tips on how to tell if a page might actually be acceptable. Her recent article is here: http://www.clickz.com/experts/search/results/article.php/3325301 (permalink)

=========================
Search Engine Resources
=========================

macminer
http://www.macminer.com/

News search engine that specializes in culling Apple-related content from the web. (permalink)

========================

freesearch
http://www.freesearch.co.uk/

Search for web pages in the UK or around the world, via this clean interface. It's powered by Yahoo, with paid listings from Overture (these are called out by the freesearch logo). Image search powered by Picsearch is provided, as is access to a searchable Cambridge University dictionary. (permalink)

========================

Religion Explorer
http://www.religionexplorer.com/

Crawler-based search engine designed to bring back information only from religion-related sites of all denominations. (permalink)

========================

Rocketinfo RSS Reader
http://demo.rocketinfo.com/desktop/

Free RSS & Atom reader. Monitor hundreds of categorized feeds, locate new ones, add those you've found or create custom feeds based on news searching against thousands of news web sites and weblogs. (permalink)

========================

Google PageRank Report
http://www.top25web.com/pagerank.php

Enter URLs and get back a report showing Google PageRank scores in numeric value. Useful for those on Macs and others without access to the Google Toolbar or anyone who wants scores for a variety of pages. (permalink)

========================

Keyword Pagerank Finder
http://www.seo-guy.com/seo-tools/google-pr.php

Awesome tool for easily proving that PageRank values don't trump everything. Enter a query, and the tool brings back results from Google with their PageRank scores listed. See how the New York Times gets into the top results for movies with a PR6 score, above a PR7 site. See how the Hard Rock Cafe gets in the top results for newport beach with a PR1 score. Take that, all of you who think you shouldn't get links from any site with a PR4 or less. (permalink)

========================

LocalLaunch.com
http://www.locallaunch.com/

All the interest in local search has caused this new site to be founded, in hopes of gaining customers who want local online marketing. No doubt many more will be springing up shortly. But the IYP Reference links along the left-hand of the home page are handy, and there's some other good, general info on local search marketing. (permalink)

========================

Keyword Suggestion Tools
http://www.dwoz.com/default.asp?Pr=123

Doing a little keyword research? Here's a wonderful directory to resources, including direct links for many Google and Overture country-specific tools.

========================

Trackle
http://www.trackle.com/

Track changes to 25 blogs or websites via this tool, up to 24 times per day. The service costs $20 per year, or $2 per month, and there's a 2 week trial. JD Lasica, senior editor at Online Journalism Review, gave it a thumbs-up in this review: http://www.newmediamusings.com/blog/2004/03/trackle_a_cool_.html (permalink)

========================

Inside the Mind of the Searcher
http://www.enquiro.com/research.asp

White paper from Enquiro that covers how people were found to search and interact with listings. I've talked with Enquiro Gord Hotchkiss at length about the findings, and they are incredibly interesting. Hopefully we'll have a good review finished for SearchDay next week. In the meantime, you can download the white paper now. (permalink)

========================

ClickTracks 5 Released
http://www.clicktracks.com/

I love ClickTracks. It's a superb tool for seeing how people click through your site to various goals you have for them -- or to discover if they aren't getting to where you want. The search referral are also wonderful. Now the latest version is out. I haven't played with it yet, but fellow believer Jennifer Laycock from the About Web Search Guide gives it a rave review: http://websearch.about.com/cs/clicktracks/a/clicktrack5.htm. Peter Da Vanzo also raves: http://www.searchengineguide.com/davanzo/2004/0401_pd1.html (permalink)

=========================
Thanks!
=========================

Special thanks reader submissions and

+ Search Engine Guide, http://searchengineguide.com
+ Search Engine Lowdown, http://searchenginelowdown.com
+ John Battelle's Searchblog, http://battellemedia.com
+ ResourceShelf.com, http://www.resourceshelf.com
+ About.com Web Search Guide, http://websearch.about.com
+ Search Engine Roundtable Weblog, http://www.seroundtable.com
+ SEObook.com, http://www.seobook.com

for some of the items listed in this newsletter.

=============================
About The Search Engine Update
=============================

The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to Search Engine Watch members. Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

How do I unsubscribe?
+ Follow the instructions at the very end of this email.

How do I subscribe?
+
The Search Engine Update is only available to paid members of the Search Engine Watch web site. If you are not a member and somehow are receiving a copy of the newsletter, learn how to become a member at: http://searchenginewatch.com/benefits/article.php

How do I see past issues?
+
Visit http://searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/updates/

How do I change my address?
+ Send a message to memberships@searchenginewatch.com

I need human help with my membership!
+ Send a message to memberships@searchenginewatch.com. DO NOT send messages regarding list management or membership issues to Danny Sullivan. He does not deal with these directly.

I have feedback about an article!
+ I'd love to hear it. Use the form at
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/article.php/2155671