DejaNews, Mining Company Make Significant Relaunches
From The Search Engine Report
June 2, 1999
DejaNews and the Mining Company, both well-known sites with search-and-navigation features, made substantial changes in how they are presenting themselves in May.
DejaNews had the most dramatic relaunch. It has been the preeminent site for newsgroup searching for years. Now called simply Deja, the site has added the ability to view user-supplied ratings in various categories.
Newsgroup searching remains, but it is no longer Deja's sole focus -- and users that haven't been to Deja for sometime can be forgiven if they assumed newsgroup information had been removed entirely. That's because the terms "newsgroups" and "usenet" seem to have been banished from the Deja site.
Instead, Deja now features "discussions," which is simply its own name for newsgroups. Individual newsgroups are referred to as "forums." So the newsgroup information is still there, it's just hidden behind new names.
You can search newsgroups from the Deja home page by selecting the "discussions" option below the search box. You can also browse newsgroups by topic via links along the left side of the home page, then choosing the "discussions" tab at the top of pages that appear.
New newsgroup-related options include the Deja Tracker feature, which will notify you when someone responds to your newsgroup posting, and the ability to have newsgroup information emailed to you in full-text or summary versions.
The Mining Company has undergone a name change, designed to present its site as a destination, rather than a search service. Now called About.com, it continues to feature over 600 "guides" offering original content in various areas.
The Mining Company originally took its name from the concept that the guides running its various sites would "mine" the web and help people find what they are looking for better than a search engine could. To that degree, the Mining Company put itself forward as a competitor with the search engines.
In contrast, I never saw the Mining Company as a competitor in the search space. Instead, I've always seen it as a collection of excellent destination sites. People turn to search engines in order to find good sites like those produced by the Mining Company/About.com -- with the quality made possible in part because About.com's guides earn money for their work, rather than just being volunteers.
If you're looking for actual information about a topic, rather than just links to sites about a topic, then consider a stop at About.com. An overhaul of the service done earlier this year makes it even easier to search within About.com to find a guide of interest. And don't worry -- you'll also find plenty of outbound links to other relevant content on the web from any About.com guide.
Deja Power Search
Prefer things the old way? Try using the power search page.
Deja What's New
Quick, helpful overview to the recent changes at Deja.
Revamped Deja News debuts
News.com, May 10, 1999
A look at the reasons behind Deja's radical change.
Absolutely hate the new Deja? Try RemarQ, which also offers newsgroup searching. Like Deja, newsgroups have been renamed -- it's "communities" at RemarQ. But unlike Deja, the focus is entirely on newsgroups.
What This Has Been All About.Com
New York Times, May 17, 1999
More behind-the-scenes info about the name change at About.com.