The Search Engine Update – Number 150

The Search Engine Update – Number 150

By Danny Sullivan, Editor
June 3, 2003

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ Search Engine Strategies Coming To London, San Jose
+ Coping With GDS, The Google Dance Syndrome
+ Report Shows Confusion Over Paid Listings
+ Search Engine Disclosure Ratings: May 2003
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ About The Search Engine Update

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

I’ve updated the Search Toolbars & Utilities page ( to include links and reviews mentioned in past newsletters. If you’ve been thinking about adding search to your browser toolbar, check out the many good (and free) options available.

I’ve also updated the Buying Your Way In: Search Engine Advertising Chart ( It illustrates how to identify paid content within search engine results and how well search engines appear to be complying with FTC guidelines about disclosure of paid content.

Overall, search engines are doing much better than a year ago — though in the area of paid inclusion, several still need to make changes. Two articles below in this month’s newsletter touch on this issue in more depth.

Finally, I’m on the road during this edition of the current newsletter — so though I’ve proofed things on screen, some typos may make it through. Apologies in advance!


Search Engine Strategies: Four Days In San Jose!

The first four-day Search Engine Strategies show comes to San Jose from August 18-21. By next week, a full agenda will be posted online. In the meantime, here’s a short preview of what’s new with the popular show that I organize about search engine marketing tactics and issues.

The first day is now a “preconference” where the Fundamentals track allows those new to search engine marketing to get up to speed. Already familiar with search engines but still want to go all four days? Then consider attending the new Search Economics track on the first day, where we’ll explore the hot subject of search engine revenues.

As for the remaining three days of the show, it will feature the usual favorites such as Meet The Crawlers and Link Building along with at least one new session or session with constantly changing content per timeslot. When the final agenda is posted, look out for new sessions such as:

+ Search Engines & Trademarks
+ Cleaning Up The Mess (fixing a site after someone else has “deoptimized” it)
+ Search Engine Ratings (who’s popular and how is this determined?)
+ Balancing Organic & Paid Listings
+ Dayparts & Other Paid Listings Evolutions
+ Contextual Ads
+ Blogs, News Search & RSS Feeds
+ Search Engines & Web Server Issues
+ Up Close With Google’s API

As said, an agenda for the show should be posted online by the week of June 9 at the URL below. Already posted is more information about the location of the show and registration details:

Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2003

Shows are also planned for Munich from November 10-11 and Chicago from December 9-11. Agendas for these shows are not ready, but you can follow the links below to get location and registration information or to leave your email in order to be notified when more details have been posted.

Search Engine Strategies


Coping With GDS, The Google Dance Syndrome

Google’s monthly update is known as the Google Dance to those really into search engine optimization. And during the dance, some SEOs suffer from GDS — Google Dance Syndrome, when they see their web sites face lower rankings. But does an epidemic of reported GDS mean a problem with Google’s relevancy? The story below looks at the issues following May recent GDS outbreak.

Coping With GDS, The Google Dance Syndrome
The Search Engine Update, June 3, 2003


Report Shows Confusion Over Paid Listings

An “anthropological” report from Consumer WebWatch of 17 web surfers found confusion about disclosure of paid listings on search engines. Yet since last year, search engines have made great strides in complying with FTC guidelines. Will it be a case of being good isn’t good enough? The story below provides a summary of the report findings that have been released so far and examines some of the issues raised.

Report Shows Confusion Over Paid Listings
The Search Engine Update, June 3, 2003


Search Engine Disclosure Ratings: May 2003

In the article below, details of my latest review of major search engines, to see how well they are meeting FTC recommendations for disclosure of paid content. All but one passes for paid placement while half pass for paid placement.

Search Engine Disclosure Ratings: May 2003, May 30, 2003

Search Engine Resources

Groowe Search Toolbar

Along with the Google Toolbar sits Groowe in my browser, giving me easy access to a variety of search engines. Now version 1.2 has been released, adding search term highlighting, the ability to change the order of search engines listed, see Alexa rankings and change the width of the search box.


Epic Sky Competitor Watch

New paid service that lets you monitor what terms your competitors bid on, average CPC, how they overlap with you and other features.


Search Engine Saturation Check

Enter your URL and learn how many pages are listed with various search engines.


Baromhtre 1hre position/Xiti

What’s the big search engine in France? Check out this site, with stats from French audience rating service Xiti.



This desktop-based bid management tool gains ROI tracking as an add-on service.


Lycos Insite Search Engine Marketing Tutorial

Here’s a twist — a search engine marketing tutorial from a search engine. It underscores recent moves by Lycos to be a leading company delivering search engine marketing services in addition to being a search destination. A printable PDF version is also offered.


New paid placement search engine for New Zealand.

SearchDay Articles

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

ODP Testing Public Abuse Report System
SearchDay, June 02, 2003

The Open Directory Project is testing a new system to allow anyone to report suspected abuse by editors more committed to their own self interest than the general good of the project.


Writing Effective Search Engine Ads
SearchDay, May 29, 2003

Relevancy is the name of the game when it comes to copywriting for paid listings, not only for your potential customers, but increasingly to meet the stringent requirements of the search engines themselves.


Ad Agencies Slowly Embrace Search Engine Marketing
SearchDay, May 28, 2003

As the cottage industry of search engine marketing continues to mature into a legitimate form of brand and conversion marketing, traditional ad agencies are actively stepping in to take advantage of the growth in search industry dollars.


What’s New In Information Research
SearchDay, May 27, 2003

What’s going on in the field of information science? A free, online journal offers access to some of the highest-quality research from information scholars from around the world


Why Google Hacks is a Bestseller
SearchDay, May 22, 2003

Google Hacks is loaded with geeky tips and tweaks, but its real strength lies in its readability and genuine appeal to all searchers, regardless of skill level.


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


Search Engine Articles

Yahoo Act Two
BusinessWeek, June 2, 2003

Touches on Google as a key challenger to Yahoo, in that consumers are looking to search more and more as a way to access everything — and ad dollars are moving there, as well. Theorizes that if Yahoo were to acquire Overture, it would probably be to cut-off MSN from making a similar move.


In House Counsel: Google growth
The National Law Journal, June 2, 2003

Interview with David Drummond, Google’s general counsel who leads a team of 15 lawyers at the company — compared to only 2 lawyers when Drummond signed on just over a year ago. He comments on the China filtering case and negotiating a settlement with the Church Of Scientology but wouldn’t comment on active cases such as the dispute with SearchKing.


What’s Next: Do One Thing Right
Inc, June 1, 2003

Story starts out suggesting that Google is successful because it does search and only search, as opposed to Excite, which years before went beyond search and into being a portal. Flip-flop things, with Google coming first and Excite coming second, and Google might very well have done the same thing. Nor does the story acknowledge that delivering contextual ads and blogging services, as Google now does, is definitely NOT search. In addition, the story suggests that Google succeeded with paid listings because it clearly labeled these. If anything, Google succeeded because Overture (the former GoTo) revived the notion of paid listings that got shot down when first experimented with by Open Text during 1996. Importantly, Overture stuck with paid listings and paved for other search engines, including Google, to use them. In addition, the web audience was more ready for these. It gets forgotten that when Open Text first tried paid listings, these were apparently clearly labeled but vocal critics at the time did not care. Finally, the story concludes that Google is so well-known that companies like Yahoo and AOL have to buy its services for their users. This overlooks the fact that Yahoo had decided the opposite. It is search — not Google’s search — that’s so important that Yahoo has decided it needs to develop search technology in-house rather than rely on Google.


The New DealTime
May 30, 2003

Why did DealTime acquire Epinions? As this story puts out, because consumer reviews are essential to the buying experience. I love the anecdote about actually going into the store, then leaving to still purchase the product online. I do the same thing, though my guilt means that the online price has to be especially good for me to “use” the bricks-and-mortar store like this without returning the favor with a purchase. Which makes you wonder — eventually bricks-and-mortar stores are going to have to team up with online vendors. Found something you’re interested in online? Then pop into our “real” world partner, check it out and get the online price to purchase it there, for example.


Make way for the contender to Google’s crown
The Register, May 30, 2003

The Register falls in love with meta search and invisible web search engine Turbo10, which contrary to this report, is not new. The service has existed for well over a year, but a recent relaunch appears to have enhanced its invisible web database. Be aware that actually trying to use Turbo 10 right now,, may not work. High use has caused the company to disable its search function.


Search or Destroy?
ClickZ, May 30, 2003

Is search engine marketing getting too hot? As more jump in and spend, costs (on the paid side) will rise. To protect your brand, you’ll still need to consider other forms of online advertising rather than be too search-centric, writes Rebecca Lieb.


Paid Inclusion Confusion
ClickZ, May 30, 2003

A look at XML paid inclusion and how it has been confusing for potential advertisers due to misselling and varied technical standards. Covers the recent move by Yahoo to reduce paid inclusion resellers from 18 to just three (iProspect is a fourth, but only to its own clients).


The third era starts here
The Guardian, May 29, 2003,3605,965532,00.html

Isn’t Google cool for offering an API? Or is this simply a wise company that sees a possible revenue stream? A look at how APIs for Google and Amazon are being used and possible potentials for these web services.


Free Site Search: Is Google the Best?
Microdoc News, May 29, 2003

Need free site search? Google provides that, but so do others. A comparison of five vendors, with Google winning, if they’ve naturally indexed much of your content. If not, consider FusionBot.


Northern Light Readies for Return, May 29, 2003

Former Northern Light CEO C. David Seuss buys backs the search engine for $81,000 from now bankrupt Divine. Divine originally purchased Northern Light ( back in January 2002, in an all-stock deal. Terms were not released, but it’s fair to say, Seuss got a heavy discount. Seuss plans to enter the enterprise search market. From visiting the Northern Light web site (, it also appears that the company wants to reenter the web search space.


If Your CEO Gave You $50,000, What Marketing Tactics Would You Spend it On?, May 28, 2003

You get $50,000 and are told spend on “something new” in marketing. You also get the same amount and are told spend for “maximum impact” on sales. Search engine marketing comes up number one on the list of “new” things — and frankly, for a lot, lot less, anyone could run a short term test campaign to try it out. For those looking for maximum impact, search engine marketing was 3rd of 6 — behind top rated postal direct mail and telemarketing and email, which tied for second. Interestingly, of the 68 marketers who mentioned wanting to do paid listings, only one named the Overture brand. Everyone else said Google or simply used a generic for paid listings.


Ask Jeeves Sells Enterprise Search Unit, May 28, 2003

And once again, a web search company that also did enterprise search decides it has to make a decision to favor one. In this case, Ask Jeeves decides web search is its future and sells off its Jeeves Solutions division to Kanisa.


Telefonica Launches Bid For 100% Of Terra Lycos
Dow Jones Business Wire, May 28, 2003

Telefonica has a nearly 40 percent stake in Terra Lycos but is aiming to own the entire company.


The Open Directory introduces abuse report system
Pandia, May 28, 2003

Feel an Open Directory editor is abusing their position to favor or ban particular web sites? The ODP has always had a system letting you report potential abuse, but now this system has been made more accessible through a new interface (


Big Changes for Search Engines
Wired, May 27, 2003,1282,58971,00.html

Search was the focus of over 20 papers at the recent International World Wide Web conference held last month in Budapest. Techniques were described on how to sort through product reviews, visual search applications, personalized search and a technique to speed up how Google processes PageRank calculations.


Jupiter Research Launches Search Service, May 27, 2003

Jupiter Research (which is owned by the same company that owns Search Engine Watch) has unveiled a new paid based research service focusing on the search space.


Google gamers’ word pairings a creative addiction
San Jose Mercury News, May 26, 2003

Revisiting Googlewacking, the nearly two-year old game where you try to find a word that brings up just one Google match.


All Eyes on Google
Forbes, May 26, 2003

Yet again one of the endless “how Google came to be” stories that many of you have read. Why do you keep seeing these? In part, it’s because each publication needs to do their own. This time, Forbes steps up to the plate. Once past the usual history, finally some good new details, including worries over whether AdWords would fly on a PPC basis (it did). The latter part of the story highlights that Microsoft is now jumping big time into search, with at least 70 people researchers involved. I like the description of Overture as Microsoft’s “new best friend” because Overture researchers are now frequently visiting Redmond. Indeed, Overture would love to be in the position of powering all of Microsoft’s search needs, rather than just the paid component. But Microsoft has often been accused of working closely with companies only to lock them out of future deals, when it decides it has learned enough to succeed on its own. Could being best buddies with Microsoft ultimately leave Overture having helped its way out of a long-term relationship? “We don’t just have our heads in the sand that that could happen,” admitted Overture chief operating officer Jaynie Studenmund, when we spoke during a visit to Overture last month.


Google vs. Altavista
WebmasterWorld, May 24, 2003

GoogleGuy, the Google employee who comments on Google questions at WebmasterWorld, dives in to this thread to offer advice on optimizing pages for….AltaVista! And the tip? Since AltaVista refreshes those pages in its index that are clicked on more quickly than those without clicks, try searching for your pages at AltaVista and then click on them. Done in moderation, I doubt AltaVista would see this as spam. Done to an extreme, perhaps so.


B2B Search Best Practices
ClickZ, May 23, 2003

Looking to target a B2B audience via search? Then consider some of these tips.


Harvard study wrestles with Gator, May 22, 2003

Describes new research and web pages from Harvard’s Ben Edelman that explain how Gator targets web sites with contextual ads. Lots of interesting comments from Gator, as well, on how everything’s not revealed.


Travel Planning On The Web
About Web Search Guide, May 22, 2003

Ready to pack up the car and hit the road? Here are some tips to help you search and plan for your next vacation.


ResearchBuzz, May 22, 2003

Review of a search engines for maps.


Overture continues European rollout with Italian move
Revolution, May 21, 2003

Overture has launched in Italy with several partners, including live links due on MSN this month.


Google Reduces Minimum Bid on Some Keywords, May 21, 2003

While Google has always had a “minimum” bid of $0.05, some popular terms required advertisers to pay much more than that. Meanwhile, bids on Overture initially started at a $0.01 minimum bid when the service began in 1998, regardless of a term’s popularity. Over time, Overture’s now raised that minimum to $0.10. Meanwhile, Google has just dropped its minimum for some terms. In short, Overture has been moving to get more value out of terms that were likely being sold at bargain rates while Google is trying to get some terms sold that might have been ignored because they were overvalued.


Espotting expands Kelkoo deal to 30 channels
netimperative, May 21, 2003

European paid listings provider Espotting has expanded a deal to place its ads in contextually-relevant sections of European shopping search engine Kelkoo.


Search Engine Statistics: Freshness Showdown
Search Engine Showdown, May 17, 2003

Most major search engines have pages that are only a day or two old, except for Teoma, Gigablast and Wisenut. With these, the “newest” pages are 41 days, 45 days and 133 days old, respectively.


Attract Visitors With Multimedia Search
NetMechanic, May 2003

Briefly covers multimedia search engines and provides links to using meta data for Flash and Windows Media files.

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