The Search Engine Report – Number 84

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ SES Chicago Agenda Available!
+ Search Engine Articles By Danny Sullivan
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ About The Search Engine Report

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

There won’t be an installment of my local search series this week. Sorry! There was so much material to prepare for this edition of the newsletter that I’ve run short of time. It should resume next week.

For all of you associated with the yellow pages industry who’ve been contacting me — YES! — I do know that online yellow pages are a great way for searchers to find local content online. I’ve been saying in the series all along that I’ll be looking at this, and I will, promise.

Within the site, I’ve updated several of the search engine ratings pages that I maintain, specifically:

+ A new Hitwise Search Engine Ratings shows which search engines are most popular, based on visits. Figures are for September 2003.

+ The comScore Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings page has been updated with figures showing top search engines in the United States for August 2003.

+ The Nielsen NetRatings European Search Engine Ratings page has been updated with figures showing top search engines in various European countries for September 2003.

Occasionally, people ask me why the Nielsen NetRatings page for the US market hasn’t been updated in months. The reason is that NetRatings hasn’t provided new search-specific figures. I’ve been told they’ve been working on a new system for these. When it’s ready, I’m supposed to receive new figures. I’ll let you know when that happens.

All the pages I’ve mentioned can be found on via page below:

Search Engine Ratings and Reviews


SES Chicago Agenda Available!

The next Search Engine Strategies conference in the US comes to Chicago from December 9-11. The show features the best sessions from our San Jose event earlier this year plus new sessions including Auditing Paid Listings, SEM En EspaÑol, Search Engines & Affiliates, Getting Local, Click & Convert and Outsourcing SEM.

The conference features speakers from major search engines as well as search engine marketers sharing their experiences and tips. The conference web site provides full session descriptions, and there’s a special Session Itineraries page to guide you on what to attend, whether you are interested in free/organic listings, search engine advertising, are new to search engine marketing or experienced. To learn more or sign-up, call (203) 662-2857 or visit the URL below.

Search Engine Strategies Chicago

In Germany, Search Engine Strategies Munich is but a week away. Most sessions will be conducted in German, though I’ll be doing an introductory course in English. A full agenda for the event, to be held November 10-11, can be found below.

Search Engine Strategies Munich

Many dates for other Search Engine Strategies events next year have also been announced. More information can be found via the URL below.

Search Engine Strategies

Search Engine Articles
By Danny Sullivan

Surprised Google & Microsoft Talked Takeover? You Shouldn’t Be!
SearchDay, Nov. 5, 2003

A headline frenzy was sparked last Friday when the New York Times reported that Microsoft had talked with Google about a possible takeover within the past two months. No one should have been surprised that the companies have talked about a possible purchase. It made sense then. As for now, a more realistic possibility is that the two might partner in the short term. A look at why a takeover would have made sense, why Google can go it alone as a media company, what Google might and might not do with cash from an IPO and how there will probably be no real losers in the search sweepstakes that’s underway. The second URL leads to a longer version of the article for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


Google Kills eBay Affiliate Spam Quickly, Others Survive
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 5, 2003

AuctionBytes has had a series of stories looking into how an eBay affiliate was driving traffic to eBay from Google through cloaked content. The tactic is nothing new when it comes to search engine optimization. However, it is notable how quickly Google responded to the public outcry over this, while similar situations that are known or reported continue. This story is available to Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


Google Faces Fight Over Ads & Trademarks In France
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 5, 2003

Days after Google was fined by a French court for selling ads linked to the terms claimed as trademarks, news emerged that Louis Vuitton launched its own trademark-related action against Google. A look at some of the complicated issues involved.


Local Search Part 3: Google Gets Local With AdWords
SearchDay, Oct. 28, 2003

Google’s new regional targeting feature for AdWords lets advertisers target their ads to any of 210 specific local regions in the US. Part of a continuing series on local searching. The second URL leads to a longer version of the article for Search Engine Watch members that speculates on future regional targeting refinements, issues with national ad competition, viewing regional or country-targeted ads from outside target regions and other topics. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


Google Buys Sprinks, Plans IPO
SearchDay, Oct. 24, 2003

In a busy financial day for Google, the company purchased Sprinks, the former paid listings division of PRIMEDIA’s, while it was also reported that an initial public offering is planned for early next year. The second URL leads to a longer version of this article for Search Engine Watch members examining Sprinks distribution. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See

NOTE: Google has since added a page answering some advertiser questions about the transition to Sprinks:, while a post from the I-Search mailing list ( reports that existing Sprinks advertisers cannot add funds.


Reader Q&A: October 2003
The Search Engine Update, Oct. 22, 2003

For Search Engine Watch members, this edition of the regular Q&A feature examines these questions:

+ Will paid ads on Google or Overture hurt your unpaid listings?
+ Why can’t I find the submit link for an Open Directory category?
+ Do I have to pay a new submission fee if I change my web page?
+ Where can I find out the popularity level of shopping search engines?
+ Why did the Open Directory drop my sites?
+ Do search engines read the words within links?
+ How do we get Google to drop misleading and spammy web pages?
+ Is there an easy way to find out what the cost or a particular term is on the various search engines?
+ I don’t see AllTheWeb in the search engine ratings pages you maintain. Why not?
+ I am trying to find out which search engines have the most users and what keywords are used the most when navigating to sites in particular subjects. Can you help?
+ Why do you recommend search engine math commands over Boolean commands?
+ Do you know anything if Froogle will be released in the UK or elsewhere? What other UK shopping search engines are there?
+ Is the meta description tag still worth doing?

For more about becoming a member, visit:


Local Search Part 2: Google & Mobilemaps Bring Back Geosearching
SearchDay, Oct. 21, 2003

How Google and Mobilemaps are making it possible to search the web yet filter results to a local level. Second of a continuing series on local search. The second URL leads to a longer version of this article that explains how local search is generated behind the scenes and other issues for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


New Developments In Local Search: Part 1, Moves By Overture
SearchDay, Oct. 14, 2003

Local searching on web-wide search engines can be disappointing. New moves by some major players may improve this. This first part of a continuing series looks at local search listings that Overture is testing. The second URL leads to a longer version of this article that goes into more details about the Overture program from an advertiser’s perspective for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See

SearchDay Articles

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

Going Shopping? Ask Jeeves for Advice
SearchDay, Nov. 4, 2003

As the online shopping search space continues to heat up, Ask Jeeves has entered the fray with powerful enhancements to its smart search capabilities that help in all phases of the shopping process.


Search Engine Milestones for October 2003
SearchDay, Nov. 3, 2003

Notable news and announcements from the web search world during the past month.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Oct. 31, 2003

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Search Engine Chart – The State of Cloaking Today – Selling Rubbish – Turning Down Work Due to the Product – Can I Do Caching Like Google? – Google Aided Deep Search – Speaking Of RFPs… – GoGuides is now – Can You Achieve Inbound Link PR With Affiliate Codes? – Google Considers Online IPO Auction


Google’s API: For Fun, Not Profit (Yet)
SearchDay, Oct. 30, 2003

The Google API is a fun way to use Google for things as varied as solving crossword puzzles to creating recipes, but it’s not yet ready for prime-time applications.


Analyzing Search Engines as Investments
SearchDay, Oct. 29, 2003

Search has become increasingly popular, but do the common stocks of search engines make a good investment? High-tech investment analysts share a glimpse of the techniques they see to value publicly traded search firms, and which companies appear to be succeeding. The second URL leads to a longer version of the article for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


Amazon Debuts New Book Search Tool
SearchDay, Oct. 27, 2003

“Search Inside the Book” allows you to search the full-text of more than 33 million pages from over 120,000 printed books.


Search Forum Spotlight
SearchDay, Oct. 24, 2003

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web.


Balancing Paid and Organic Search Listings
SearchDay, Oct. 23, 2003

Do you really need both ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ listings, generated by search engine optimization (SEO), and paid placement, aka pay-per-click advertising (PPC), to be successful on search engines? The second URL leads to a longer version of the article for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


The State of the Search Engine Industry
SearchDay, Oct. 22, 2003

Noted search engine experts and analysts explored the major themes and trends driving the current and future state of the industry in a lively, wide-ranging forum at the Search Engine Strategies conference. The second URL leads to a longer version of the article for Search Engine Watch members. What’s a Search Engine Watch member? See


Expand Shorthand Meanings with the Acronym Finder
SearchDay, Oct. 20, 2003

NTK what an acronym stands for? The Acronym Finder is the place to search for abbreviated meanings, IMHO.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Oct. 17, 2003

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: A Beta-Tester’s Take on Quigo AdSonar – Help? I’m Kinda Stumped – What’s the latest on Ah-Ha and goClick? – Dealing With a Penalized Domain Name – This New [Google” Broad Matching ‘Feature’… – Search Engine Friendly Shopping Carts.


A “Fireside Chat” with Google’s Sergey Brin
SearchDay, Oct. 16, 2003

Is Google God? When will the company finally go public? Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan poses these and other questions to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.


A Multi-Faceted Phone Directory Lookup Tool
SearchDay, Oct. 15, 2003

Argali is a powerful directory lookup application that allows you to search and aggregate results from several web-based phone and email address databases.


British Pathe Develops Huge Historic Picture Archive
SearchDay, Oct. 13, 2003

British Pathe is offering free access to a digitized collection of more than 12 million historic photographs from its 20th century cinema newsreel archive.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Oct. 10, 2003

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Keyword Research for Product Research – Paid Inclusion: ‘The Fix Is In’ – Inktomi… Major Changes? – LookSmart Losing Microsoft MSN Deal – LookSmart Loses MSN – Keyword Density – AdSense Click Warfare


What’s In A (Search Engine’s) Name?
SearchDay, Oct. 9, 2003

What’s a Google? Should you be wary of Inktomi? Here’s a look at the origins and meanings of the major search engines’ names.


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


Search Engine Articles

Special thanks to Search Engine Guide,, for spotting some of the articles listed below!


Unusual Power Web Searching Commands
Online, Nov/Dec. 2003

Greg Notess provides a roundup of unusual searching commands that can be useful in the right situations.


Lycos drops Overture amid dispute
CBS MarketWatch, Nov. 4, 2003{DC717AA3-518A-4ABA-96C0-46E94C4E232A}

Terra Lycos files a lawsuit against Overture in a contract dispute and also drops Overture paid listings from its search pages at and Google’s paid listings are now being used instead, in cases where Lycos doesn’t have its own interally-sold Lycos AdBuyer listings, Unpaid and paid inclusion results continue to come from LookSmart and Yahoo-owned AllTheWeb.


Digging Deeper into Search-Friendly Design – Interview with Shari Thurow
Search Engine Guide, Nov. 3, 2003

Two part article that covers Shari Thurow’s simple but effective tips on building content that’s friendly to humans and search engines alike.


Why an SEM RFP Is a Mistake
ClickZ, Nov. 3, 2003

Submitting RFPs to search engine marketing firms is a bad way to truly understand vendors. Indeed, you’ll probably find many good vendors may not even respond. RFPs are often badly written and ask questions that can’t be properly answered. Fredrick Marckini urges an open conversation model. For more thoughts from vendors about this, also see this recent thread from the High Ranking Forums:


Are eBay Affiliates Spamming Google with Your Words?, Nov. 2, 2003

AuctionBytes has had a series of stories looking into how an eBay affiliate was driving traffic to eBay from Google through cloaked content. The tactic is nothing new when it comes to search engine optimization. However, it is notable how quickly Google responded to the public outcry over this, while similar situations that are known or reported continue. For a longer look at this issue, see Google Kills eBay Affiliate Spam Quickly, Others Survive,, an article available to Search Engine Watch members.


Former Overture executive joins Microsoft
Reuters, Nov. 2, 2003

MSN is breaking up into two divisions. One will focus on communications, involving portal features such as the Hotmail email service and the MSN Messenger instant messaging service. The other focuses on information, which includes search. Along with this change, MSN also announced that it had wooed former Overture chief technology officer Paul Ryan to work for Microsoft. His new title is telling: general manager of MSN monetization. Capturing Ryan suggests that in addition to building its own crawler-based search engine, MSN is now aiming to move forward with its own in-house paid listings program, as well.


Friendster spurns Google
San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 31, 2003

The “we’re all about search” pitch from Google was proven outdated when the company bought Blogger earlier this year, a move that had nothing to do with search or organizing information. Now it turns out Google wanted to purchase Friendster, an online dating site. I suppose that’s at least a little more search-centric, but it would still have been a stretch from the company’s supposed stated mission.


In What’s Google Really Worth
BusinessWeek, Oct. 30, 2003

Alex Salkever deconstructs the notion that Google might be worth up to $25 billion. Coming up with that figure by using eBay and Yahoo are benchmarks is probably misguided, given that those companies have business models so much different than that of Google, he says. In contrast, looking at pre-Yahoo-owned Overture is much more instructive. Doing so, as well as a look at enterprise search company Verity, puts Google’s potential valuation much lower.


Study: Overture Better Than Google, Oct. 30, 2003

Jupiter Research found that Overture had the best features and management interface of major paid listings providers, according to interviews that were done with experienced marketers and Jupiter’s own experience using the toolset. Google ranked second, followed by now-Google owned Sprinks. Also rated was FindWhat. Despite coming in second, don’t read the report as a sign that Google will necessarily lose advertisers. Overture and Google have completely different distributions, so most advertisers find it necessary to buy with both, in order to extend their reach as far as possible.


Google’s Popular Toolbar
New York Times, Oct. 30, 2003

Google’s Toolbar has a great pop-up blocking feature, but that also means pop-ups you want can go unnoticed. I can attest to this, as my online bank recently switched to a system where a pop-up was needed to log-in. It took me ages to remember the Google Toolbar was blocking this. If you’re using it, remember that overriding the pop-up (easily done) may be the solution to a web access problem you may be having. And designers, as this article covers, take note that you may need to consider dumping the pop-ups.


Espotting boosts client base but loses Yahoo
Netimperative, Oct. 30, 2003

Yahoo Europe has now switched from Espotting’s paid listings to using those from Yahoo-owned Overture. Espotting says that a diverse distribution base should help it ride out the loss.


Amazon: Sales up from book search, Oct. 30, 2003

Amazon says its new “Search Inside The Book” feature has boosted sales.


Ask Jeeves scraps it out with search engine giants
Red Herring, Oct. 29, 2003 Jeeves scraps it out with search engine giants

Ask Jeeves is the minnow swimming among the big fish of Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. But the company’s thinks it can thrive and survive, despite being dependent on Google’s ads.


Amazon: Searching and Searching, Oct. 29, 2003

This reviewer is not enamored with the new Amazon “Search Inside The Book” feature, finding it yields too many results. And for his query, you can see the problems. Sorted by Average Customer Review, a search for “italian vegetarian cooking” brings up The Beatles Anthology as number two, with Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana in sixth. Those are just two matches that immediately leap out as bad. Sticking with the default “Featured Items” is much better.


LookSmart: Determinedly Second-Tier, Exploring Options, Oct. 29, 2003

LookSmart is still pondering the best way forward in the wake of news that its distribution with MSN will end this January.


The Amazoning of Google? Search Firm Looks for Book Content
Publishers Weekly, Oct. 28, 2003

Google’s apparently been trying to get publishers to help it create a full-text book search engine, similar to the one Amazon’s just launched. Google may have agreements already to carry up to 60,000 titles.


What weblogs are news?
Scripting News, Oct. 28, 2003

Earlier this year, grumblings were heard over bloggers not being accepted as part of Google News. Now there’s more noise, and rightly so. Google’s standard response seems to be that it doesn’t “include news-related blogs,” leaving it open to the accusation that it rejects possibly good content simply because of the content management system that’s used. Google should accept any type of good news content, blog or not. There are plenty of good reasons why a blog-based news source (or any news source) might not be accepted, such as the perceived quality of content, freshness or expectation that the source will be there tomorrow. Rejecting something just because it uses a blog publishing system isn’t a good reason. (permalink to this item)


20 Great Google Secrets
PC Magazine, Oct. 28, 2003,4149,1306756,00.asp

Even if you use Google regularly, you may find some useful search tips in this article from Google Hacks coauthor Tara Calishain.


Critics Take Wary View of Shopping Web Link
New York Times, Oct. 27, 2003

In a real coup for shopping search engine, it now has a deal to be featured on the Consumer Reports web site. The magazine is hoping that the arrangement will not hurt the impartiality that it is known for.


Sharpen Your Internet Searches
BusinessWeek, Oct. 27, 2003

Succinct tips on searching the web better.


Feeding Frenzy, Part 1
ClickZ, Oct. 24, 2003

Shopping search engines are a great way for online retailers to reach out to new customers. Don’t neglect them. This article covers how to feed these creatures with your content.


Blogrunner Launches “Portal” Of Weblog Resources
ResearchBuzz, Oct. 22, 2003

Review of a new portal of blog content.


Blog on, Oct. 21, 2003

Good interview with Blogger creator Evan Williams, especially covering issues such as the impact of bringing blogging into Google.


Web Campaign ’04: Politicos Embrace Search, Adapt TV Spots To Broadband Video
MediaDailyNews, Oct. 20, 2003

US presidential candidates are looking at search engine marketing as a way to reach out. On a completely different note, I’m still confused about how Arianna Huffington and Peter Ueberroth, both failed candidates in the California gubernatorial recall election, somehow knew I was a registered California voter in order to send me email spam. Not surprisingly, neither campaign ever explained how they got my email address.


Overture and MSN extend sponsored search deal, Oct. 20, 2003

Overture’s deal to provide MSN with sponsored listings has been extended an additional six months. Previously, it was to expire in December 2004. Now it will run in the US and the UK through June 2005.


Links Are All About Reputation – An Interview with Mike Grehan
Search Engine Guide, Oct. 20. 2003

Short interview with search engine expert Mike Grehan on how search engines use links and appropriate link building.


Relevant Links Begin In Directories
ClickZ, Oct. 20, 2003

Directories are dying — someday, I’ll finish a piece I started earlier this year explaining why. The short answer is that today’s crawler-based search engines let you scan every page on every book in the library to find the best and most exact references to what you are looking for. In the directory approach, you were only able to scan the titles of books, a far less comprehensive search.

If directories are dying, does that mean it’s not worth getting directory links? Fredrick Marckini still sees value in doing the old Yahoo-ODP submission rounds. And sure, do the ODP simply because it’s easy way to get a free, valuable link — assuming they get around to processing it.

And Yahoo? Spend the money only because you think the listing within the Yahoo Directory itself will bring you traffic, not because you think it will help you with crawler-based search engines using link analysis. See the Yahoo Directory page for Search Engine Watch members,, for more about this and the concept of “detour traffic.”

(permalink to this item)


Why Google should stop being so ‘evil’
The Guardian, Oct. 20, 2003,7496,1066536,00.html

More on the recent move by Google to amend its AdSense terms and conditions. Apparently, those who were tossed out of the program couldn’t log in to check on the money they were owed unless they agreed to new terms preventing them from criticizing the program, a dumb policy for Google to try and impose.


Beyond the Verisign vs. ICANN Battle
BusinessWeek, Oct. 20, 2003

Review of the battle between Verisign and ICANN over Verisign’s SiteFinder service that kicks in if someone tries to reach a web site that doesn’t exist, along with a call for parties to work together to truly help the web user.


Think Negative
ClickZ, Oct. 17, 2003

With expanded matching capabilities introduced recently at both Overture and Google, marketers need to think more about removing terms they don’t want to target.


Researchers Hope to Improve Web Searches
AP, Oct. 16, 2003

Carnegie Mellon University researchers are using humans to play a game that they hope will lead to better image search results.


VeriSign to restart controversial ‘404’ redirect service Oct. 16, 2003,39024667,10006431,00.htm

VeriSign’s system of capturing traffic trying to reach non-existent domains is to be resurrected. It wasn’t a 404 redirect service, by the way. It has no impact on 404 page not found errors.


Be it Resolved that Paid Inclusion is Search – A Response to I-Search and Paid Inclusion Naysayers
Marketleap, Oct. 16, 2003

My usual reminder: I’m not an opponent of paid inclusion and fully recognize that it has valuable things to offer advertisers and searchers. But I have to strongly object to the suggestion in this article from paid inclusion reseller Marketleap that paid inclusion “online search at its purest.”

What’s online search? Traditionally in web search’s short history, this has been the mechanism of either crawlers or humans finding information from across the web, in order to provide the most comprehensive results possible. But paid inclusion makes it possible to get some of this information that search engines can’t ordinary find, right? Well, it’s one solution. Google, which doesn’t offer paid inclusion, seems to be able to find plenty of dynamically-generated content without needing a program.

As for the idea that XML feeds get subject to great human review, head over to HotBot and do a Inktomi-powered HotBot search for rocket ships. Look down there at number 9: “Rocket Ships on eBay: eBay offers great deals and a wide selection on items related to Rocket Ships!”

What great human review is happening here? Almost certainly, eBay has fed a template with any term it wants to be found into Inktomi, then Inktomi does a fast look to see if eBay actually has matching results at search time. If so, then you get a listing that in turn runs a search for “rocket ships” on eBay — bringing back an eBay page with just four so-so results.

Note also that Walmart and Amazon (twice) have paid inclusion listings that make it into the top results. These are for products of questionable quality to be among the top 108,548 matches found from across the entire web for a search on “rocket ships.” Amazon and Walmart are also listing the exact same book.

Examples like these are enough for some to declaim, “stop this evil paid inclusion.” Yet run the same search over at Google. You’ll find Amazon has product pages in the top two positions, while Barnes & Noble has a listing selling the same book that Amazon and Walmart sell over on Inktomi.

These results are hardly non-commercial. I especially like the one for the rocket ship-shaped, ahem, adult toy. The only difference between Google and Inktomi is that Google isn’t earning money off of these listings (and the company officially denies rumors of a behind-the-scenes paid inclusion deal with Amazon).

Paid inclusion isn’t pure search, but pure search itself isn’t pure. Perhaps the best solution is a little give on both sides. Google absolutely should consider some programs that give web site owners some official channel into talking about how they get listed. And paid inclusion search engines should strongly consider labeling their results and acknowledge to the public that paid inclusion is an advertising program, which is exactly what they tell potential advertisers. (permalink to this item)


Google Alert Shows the Power of Google’s Web API Program
Traffick, Oct. 15, 2003

Interview with Google Alert creator Gideon Greenspan. His free service lets you monitor search result changes on Google. The program isn’t run by Google but does make use of the Google API that it gives to developers of non-commercial services.


An Interview with’s Mel Strocen, Oct. 15, 2003 is now using Alexa web site popularity data as part of its ranking algorithm. More details about how the search engine works. Be aware that ExactSeek has low distribution and usage compared to major search engines, so don’t expect a major traffic rise even if you do rank well there.


It’s a New Blog Search Engine: Bloogz, Oct. 15, 2003

Review of a new blog search engine with multiple language support.


Blog noise achieves Google KO
The Register, Oct. 14, 2003

This article reports how some people are using the “trackback” ability of some blog software to create artificial links to influence their rankings in search engines. “The humble weblog has finally achieved dominance over Google,” it says. Panic stations! Actually, some perspective is in order.

First, some search engine optimizers have long tried to build “artificial” links to their web sites. They use a variety of methods, including the creation of fake web sites they own, the use of web site guestbooks and posting on web site forums. All of these are problems. The blog spam is just the latest and probably getting attention simply because bloggers tend to talk with each other about their sites publicly via their blogs.

As for this being a Google problem, sure, the one example cited is pretty bad on Google. But over at AllTheWeb, you get similar bad results. As always, this is because the major search engines all leverage links, so link spam can have an impact on them all. Why don’t Teoma and Inktomi show the same thing? From what I can tell, it’s because they haven’t actually crawled some of these pages, almost certainly because the dynamic nature of them has put them off.

Again, link spam (blog-based or otherwise) is certainly a problem for some queries, and it’s a growing problem for all search engines. But to say that blogs have “dominance” over Google is a joke. A search on “iraq” doesn’t appear blog dominated nor “george bush.” Fair to say, the vast majority of searches that people conduct aren’t going to be blog dominated.

Blog link spam, as with any link spam, is going to have a stronger impact on infrequent searches that don’t bring up much content. That’s absolutely a problem, but it’s not as big as problem as this article makes out. As for the solution, most likely it will be that search engines will switch to presenting specialized results when it make sense (news search results for topics clearly seemed to be news-oriented) and personalization of results.

Also see this Wired article,,1282,60912,00.html, that looks more at the problems that “trackback” spam poses to blog operators who use Movable Type.

(permalink to this item)


Are search engines confusing surfers?, Oct. 13, 2003

More on the growing debate over paid inclusion, emerging because the paid inclusion listings seem to be more noticeable in search results. Search engines are complying with FTC guidelines about disclosure of paid inclusion, but it could be that FTC may tighten those rules in the future.


Contextual Advertising, Part 2 of 2
ClickZ, Oct. 13, 2003

A further look at contextual advertising with ample comments and observations from Google.


Google’s Secret: ‘Cheap and Fast’ Hardware
PC World, Oct. 10, 2003,aid,112891,00.asp

A look at the hardware Google uses to search the web.


Using ClickTracks to Control PPC Ad Spending, Increase Sales Web Search Guide, Oct. 9, 2003

I loved ClickTracks 3.0 and am playing with the latest 4.0 version right now. In this review, Elisabeth Osmeloski takes a closer look at the program.


Consumer Information–Product Reviews
ResourceShelf, Oct. 9, 2003

Review of a great resource that lets you locate product reviews, something I’ve found more and more frustrating when done on general purpose search engines.


Google Accepts Porn Ads but Refuses Those for Guns, Oct. 7, 2003

I reported on this about a year ago, but here’s a revisit on how gun ads are not acceptable to Google but porn is OK.


New Document Search Engine Web Search Guide, Oct. 7, 2003

Review of new academic and business report search engine SMEALSearch.


Google CEO speaks out on future of search, Oct. 7, 2003

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says personalization is growing as an important part of how Google will aim to deliver good results to its users. And that’s it — no further specifics.


Overture Shareholders OK Yahoo Bid, Oct. 7, 2003

It’s official. Yahoo now owns Overture, and Overture president and CEO Ted Meisel becomes a Yahoo senior vice president.


Google Spam Filtering Gone Bad
Seth Finkelstein, October 2003

GoogleWhack players discovered some queries that should have yielded results were coming up with nothing. Seth Finkelstein investigated and found that it seemed to be an error where Google’s spam filter kicked in, and an apparent bug stopped all but the spam listing to be suppressed through. The bug appears to have now been corrected.


Search the Web More Efficiently
Pandia, October 2003

Multipart article with a variety of useful tips on how to search better.

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