The Search Engine Report May 6, 2002 - Number 66

May 6, 2002 - Number 6

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
Copyright (c) 2002 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, You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long either part is sent in its entirety.

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies Tour Dates Available
+ The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization
+ The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion
+ LookSmart Changes To Cost-Per-Click Listings
+ Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change
+ Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL
+ Overture Wins Yahoo, What Will Happen With Google?
+ Overture Files Patent Lawsuit Against Google

+ Google Launches Answers Service, API Program
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

Please note: due to the length of stories in this issue, most are online-only versions. A link to each article is listed in the newsletter, under the story's summary.


Hello Everyone--

At the end of last year, I spoke to a group of librarians and professional researchers about developments in the world of web search. Before I began, I asked the audience what they thought the biggest challenge to web search was. Answers such as the need for better coverage of the web, relevancy quality, tools to find similar words and other technical features were suggested. No one came up with what I thought the biggest challenge was: making money.

Last year was a year of survival for many of our search engines. The year 2001 began with the closure of, the former Infoseek, then later NBCi and Excite stopped independent cataloging of the web. The remaining search engines looked as to how they were going to stay alive, and paid placement and paid inclusion programs became standard offerings, across the industry.

This month's issue of the newsletter deals with money. It wasn't a planned theme, but major changes at LookSmart, plus the battle between Overture and Google for the hands of Yahoo and AOL, have all revolved around money. How search engines will make money continues to have a deep impact on the results searchers see and the ability for webmasters to be found. I hope this issue better explains some of the significant changes that have just happened and makes you better prepared for more changes that are inevitable in the future.

Also, a personal note. I absolutely love to get feedback from readers and diligently read all my email for tips, ideas for future coverage and comments about articles within Search Engine Watch. I also try to respond to as much email as I can.

Now my plea. If you have comments, suggestions or tips, please do not send them to me between May 11 and May 27. I'm taking my first real computer-less vacation for three years during that time, to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. If the computer goes along, my wife assures me there won't be an 11th anniversary.

I get on the order of 300 emails per day, a healthy chunk of that unfortunately spam from people who think I want to enlarge portions of my body, get HGH, (whatever that one is about), purchase Viagra, get a cable decoder and a host of other things, some of which are presented in Asian languages that I can't even read. I live in fear of what my email box will look like went I get back from my vacation.

I don't want to miss your important email, so either send it before the 11th or hang on and send it on the 28th. And if it's an urgent story, you can address it to associate editor Chris Sherman. Contact forms for both of us can be found below.

Search Engine Watch Contact Form

Want to send direct to Chris or me? Use the links with our names in them. However, do look at the other options. They may get you an answer to specific questions more quickly.


Search Engine Strategies Tour Dates Available

It's a real first -- we've got dates for all our Search Engine Strategies events through the end of the year. As a reminder, the Search Engine Strategies conference focuses on how to market your site on search engines. I program sessions that involve both search engine marketing experts and speakers from major search engines themselves. Sessions are designed to bring beginners up to speed and provide advanced marketers with tips, news and advice that they also can put to use.

On June 11 & 12, Search Engine Strategies comes to Sydney, and search engines confirmed to speak so far include AltaVista, LookSmart and Yahoo. On Aug. 12 & 13, the show arrives in San Jose, California. We also expect that a third day, Aug. 14, is to be added, with a particular focus on enterprise search. On Oct. 17 & 18, Search Engine Strategies comes to Munich. The year will end in Dallas, with a show on Dec. 11 & 12.

I'm sometimes asked which show people should go to, or do you need to go to every one? For many people, one per year is probably enough. That's why we do them in different locations, so that those who live in different regions can more easily attend.

In addition, our non-US shows usually focus in some way on the location where they are being presented. The UK show has sessions on marketing in Europe. The Sydney show will have sessions focusing on Australia and New Zealand, just as Munich will feature sessions on the German market.

Of course, you are more than welcome to come to as many shows at you like. Some content always changes, and to help those who come often, each show usually has an "itinerary" shown in the FAQ area to help those who've "Been Here Before." Similarly, there are suggested itineraries for beginners to search engine marketing and more advanced people.

Links to sites for all the shows can be found via the main Search Engine Strategies site below except Munich, which will be posted soon. The Sydney agenda is available, and the San Jose agenda should be ready in about two weeks. For the other shows, you can sign-up to be informed when the programs are ready.

Search Engine Strategies

There's also going to be a special "Search Engine Strategies Forum" in Singapore on June 17. This is a much different from the usual two-day, multi-track Search Engine Strategies conferences. It's a half day event that begins with an overview on search engine marketing from me, followed by a forum session with panelists from major search engines. More about the forum can be found below:

Search Engine Strategies Forum: Asia 2002


The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization

Most search engines come nowhere near monetizing all the links displayed on their search results pages. However, the quest for greater profits is likely to change this, especially if the search engines think it can be done without hurting the relevancy of their product. LookSmart's switch to cost-per-click pricing for small business listings is the first real test of maximizing monetization this way. Unfortunately, the change and others over the past year have created consumer concerns. Either the search engines need to address those concerns in a clear, single voice, or it is likely that standards will be imposed on them by some governmental agency. The full article exploring these issues can be found below:

The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002


The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion

Companion piece to the above article. Pages pitching webmasters on the advantages of paid inclusion end up hurting search engines that run these programs, because they imply that the search engines have out-of-date, incomplete listings of the web. A look at the mixed messages that are being sent out by the web's major crawlers.

The Mixed Message Of Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002


LookSmart Changes To Cost-Per-Click Listings

Pay -- and keep paying -- or don't appear, LookSmart told existing and new listing customers last month, in a significant change to how the human-powered search engine lists web pages from commercial web sites. LookSmart previously allowed web pages to be included in its commercial listings by paying a one-time review fee, through its "Basic Submit" and "Express Submit" submission programs. These have now been eliminated, replaced last month by a new cost-per-click "LookListings Small Business" program. All full rundown on the changes can be found below:

LookSmart Changes To Cost-Per-Click Listings
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

Search Engine Watch members edition:

Search Engine Watch Membership Info


Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change

Companion piece to the above article. A sampling of letters received by Search Engine Watch relating to the change by LookSmart to cost-per-click pricing.

Letters About LookSmart's Cost-Per-Click Change
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002


Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL

Google has been selected by AOL to provide editorial search results and paid listings to AOL's various search properties in the United States, including AOL Search, Netscape Search and CompuServe Search. The deal ousts Overture, which has provided AOL with paid listings since October 2000. Inktomi also loses out in the deal. The company has provided editorial results to AOL Search since July 1999, but these are now to be phrased by this summer. The article below provides full details on the change. Please note that if you read an earlier version of this article, a significant change is that Netscape confirms in the near future, Google will shift to delivering the Netscape Search's primary results.

Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL, May 1, 2002

Search Engine Watch members edition:

Search Engine Watch Membership Info


Overture Wins Yahoo, What Will Happen With Google?

Overture had a major win last month by extending its initial five-month deal to provide paid listings to Yahoo to an additional three years. In addition, Overture being named Yahoo's exclusive paid listings provider may impact whether Google will get to renew its editorial partnership with Yahoo that expires next month. The article below provides full details on the change.

Overture Wins Yahoo, What Will Happen With Google?
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

Search Engine Watch members edition:

Search Engine Watch Membership Info


Overture Files Patent Lawsuit Against Google

Overture filed a lawsuit against Google last month, claiming that Google has infringed on its patents that apply to bid-for-placement search ranking and for account management tools. More about the case can be found via the article below:

Overture Files Patent Lawsuit Against Google
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002


Google Launches Answers Service, API Program

Google introduced two new interesting features last month. The first, Google Answers, is a beta program that allows users to get personal answers from a professional researcher, in exchange for a fee. The second allows programmers to use the new Google Web APIs (application programming interfaces) to create, well, anything they can think of to interact with Google.

Google Answers

Google Web APIs

Programmers, get more details of the Google APIs from here.

Google's Newest Technology: People Answering your Questions
SearchDay, April 22, 2002

Review by Search Engine Watch associate editor of the new Google Answers service.

New Google Answers Service Raises a Few Questions of Its Own
Information Today, April 24, 2002

Could the new Google Answers service replace expert libarians, researchers and reference desks? Various experts in the industry offer thoughts, but the consensus seems to be that they aren't scared of being wiped out.

Google gives some advice...for a price, April 19, 2002

Can Google succeed with an answer service when others have had failures? A review of what others have tried, and a note that Google is not depending on the new program to make or break its business.

Google's Need for Speed
Business 2.0, April 22, 2002,1653,39878,FF.html

A look at what business reasons Google might have for allowing programmers to interact with its service.

Developers dig in to Google's toolbox, April 17, 2002

Another review of Google's API program and how it is or may be used.

SearchDay Articles

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

Keeping Current with the World of Search Engines
SearchDay, May 2, 2002

Ironically, many people feel that staying current with the world of search is a major source of information overload. It needn't be, if you rely on this baker's dozen list of excellent newsletters and weblogs.


Inside the Google Search Appliance
SearchDay, April 30, 2002

Want Google search on your own internal network? Try the Google Appliance, a self-contained version of the popular search engine that's stuffed into a pizza-sized box.


Map This!
SearchDay, April 29, 2002

The Maptech MapServer contains over 60,000 topographic maps, nautical charts, aeronautical charts, and aerial and satellite photographs covering the United States.


Ask the Search Engine: Coping with Fraudulent Pay-Per-Click Traffic
SearchDay, Apr. 18, 2002

Pay per click search engines can bring lucrative, targeted traffic to your site, but how do they avoid abuse that can needlessly drive up your costs?'s Patrick Hopf describes strategies and tactics to combat PPC fraud.


Winners Don't Take All: Link Popularity for the Rest of Us
SearchDay, April 17, 2002

Though a small number of sites get the majority of inbound links and traffic, a new study reveals a previously unknown pattern of web page connectivity and shows how new, poorly connected sites can compete.


AltaVista Testing "Paraphrase" Tool
SearchDay, April 16, 2002

AltaVista's new query refinement tool offers suggestions for improving your search terms. Also, the search engine is adding new content on a more frequent basis.


The Best of the International World Wide Web Conferences
SearchDay, Apr. 11, 2002

Each year, the International World Wide Web Conference provides a showcase for innovative web technologies. Here's a chronological list of significant papers over the past decade focusing on searching and search engines.


Curling Up with a Good Book Search Engine
SearchDay, Apr. 10, 2002

Looking for an interesting read? These book search engines can help you find new titles and authors based on your personal tastes and preferences.


To Or is Human
SearchDay, Apr. 9, 2002

Perhaps no other "advanced" search technique causes more trouble than the incorrect use of the Boolean OR operator. Here's why this simple little world can wreak havoc on your search results.


Open Directory Project Launches ODP Public Forums
SearchDay, Apr. 8, 2002

A group of editors from the Open Directory Project have started an unofficial public forum to discuss issues and share information about the web's "third" directory.


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 Articles

Quepasa to become Spanish search engine
Arizona Republic, April 26, 2002

While Quepasa is to be relaunched as a Spanish-language search engine, it sounds more like it is about to become a Spanish-language Overture, a paid placement service.


CIA Taps Inktomi For Government Work, April 24, 2002,,3531_1015521,00.html

The CIA is looking to Inktomi's enterprise search solution as a way to find documents in multiple languages.


New Search Online Metasearch Site is Loaded With Features Web Search Guide, April 23, 2002

Review of new meta search site Search Online.


AltaVista, Google Remove Controversial Links
IDG, April 18, 2002,aid,94843,00.asp

Threatened with a lawsuit from the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, AltaVista and Google said they would remove links to a web site explaining how to sabotage railway systems. A resolution with Yahoo is apparently still pending.


Search engines bolster gov't security
Reuters, April 17, 2002

In its war on terror, the US government may look harder at enterprise search solutions to help it locate information.


Search the Web via IM
InstantMessaging Planet, April 17, 2002,,10817_1012411,00.html

Describes Googlematic, which lets you ask Google to send the top five results to a search from with AOL's AIM client or from MSN Messenger.


Google protects its search results, April 16, 2002

About 100 Comcast cable modem surfers were locked out from using Google for a few hours because of automated queries happening on the same IP block that they used. Revisits the long-standing dispute between WebPosition Gold and Google, over rank checking on the service.


The Seventh Search Engine Conference
Infonortics, April 15-16, 2002

You'll find links here to presentations from speakers at this regular conference about search engines. The emphasis is more on enterprise search than web-wide search.


The Search Is On
ComputerWorld, April 15, 2002,4167,STO70041_KEY241,00.html

Looks at four different research projects and products aimed at improving data mining.


E-Mails Open Window on Wall St.
Washington Post, April 12, 2002

Interesting article explaining allegations of how Merrill Lynch was apparently bullish on Overture when it was to gain banking fees from the company but not so hot when the company sought a stock sale through Merrill Lynch competitor Credit Suisse First Boston.


Lycos France axes jobs again, April 12, 2002

Brief on Lycos France cutting 71 jobs or nearly half of its staff.


Win-XP Search Assistant silently downloads files
The Register, April 11, 2002

Covers how Internet Explorer's Search Assistant connected to Microsoft even for a local search of a computer's hard drive.


PFP search engines boost offer to beat off growing competition
New Media Age, April 11, 2002

Short look at how third-party tools to analyze paid listing performance is prompting Overture and Espotting to develop their own, in-house solutions.


Google Gets Down to Basis for Chinese, April 10, 2002,1928,2001_1006911,00.html

Google has licensed technology from Basis to help it understand Chinese.


HP, Overture ink search engine deal, April 9, 2002

Those with new Hewlett-Packard computers will have one-button access to paid listings from Overture, in a new deal. When HP users want to search the web, they'll be directed to Overture's ad-dominated results. From the press release on the deal: "HP is committed to delivering Internet solutions that make customers' computing experience more productive and efficient." Yeah, HP did this for their customers, not because it represented a way for them to make more money off their customers.


Cash from clicking
Guardian, April 8, 2002,7558,680403,00.html

Profile on how Overture and Espotting have been successful in the UK


Google's Toughest Search Is for a Business Model
New York Times, April 8, 2002

Looks at Google's prospects to take on Overture, with an interesting quote from MSN saying they do see Google as a competitor. See the nice breakout graph showing visitors to versus Google-powered results at Yahoo.


The search engine: a mix of partners
Europemedia, April 4, 2002

A look at future plans for leading search engines, for mobile searching, in the UK and Europe markets.


Search Engines Home In
Washington Post, April 4, 2002

After Teoma's official launch out of beta earlier this month, there was no end to articles written about the service. This one by Leslie Walker is unique in that she actually ran queries pitting Teoma against Google. Google won about three-quarters of the time, but she liked Teoma's refine feature, something Google lacks.


Search Google Service Menu Item Now Available
Mac Observer, April 3, 2002

Mac OS X users can now search Google by selecting text, through a new background service.


Statement Of The Search Engine Marketing Standards Committee
WAIM, April 3, 2002

The World Association of Internet Marketing committee is charged with developing search engine marketing standards for its members, and it takes its first step by outlining some general areas for dialog.


Travel Web Sites Say Airline Deals Don't Affect Searches
Washington Post, April 3, 2002

Expedia hid United Airlines fares for about a day in a dispute over commissions, highlighting concerns over whether travel search sites are biased.


Search Engine Freshness, April 4, 2002

Which is the freshest search engine? Google, with a range of between 1 day to 68 days old. Which is most out-of-date? WiseNut, with a range of 247 to 286 days old. Based on 12 sample searches and conducted by respected search engine commentator Greg Notess.

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