The Search Engine Report – Number 79


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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 Report

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Search Engine Watch News
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Hello Everyone–

I’ve updated the Search Toolbars & Utilities page (http://www.searchenginewatch.com/links/article.php/2156381) 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 (http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/article.php/2167941). 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!

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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
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/summer03/

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
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/

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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 Report, June 3, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2216081

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/2216051

What’s A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/benefits/article.php?source=ser5

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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 Report, June 3, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2216101

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/articles/article.php/2216091

What’s A Search Engine Watch Member?
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/benefits/article.php?source=ser5

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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
SearchEngineWatch.com, May 30, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2214891

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Search Engine Resources
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Groowe Search Toolbar
http://www.groowe.com

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.

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Search Engine Saturation Check
http://www.marketleap.com/siteindex/

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

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Baromhtre 1hre position/Xiti
http://barometre.1ere-position.com/

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

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Lycos Insite Search Engine Marketing Tutorial
http://insite.lycos.com/searchservices/tutorial.asp

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.

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Papers Written By Googlers
http://labs.google.com/papers.html

Nice item spotted in Search Engine Guide (http://searchengineguide.com), this page lists research papers written by those working for Google. Happy reading!

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Search Engine Flash Viewer
http://www.searchguild.com/seflash.html

Want to see how search engines interact with your Flash files? The tool purports to show you what HTML they are able to see.

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UCmore
http://www.ucmore.com/

This tool installs into your browser and then shows information related to the page you are viewing. It’s billed as “contextual search,” but I’d call it more a discovery tool along the lines of the Alexa toolbar, http://download.alexa.com/. In other words, you don’t search using it, but you may discover new sites related to those you like. It will suggest directory categories and actual web sites from the Open Directory that are deemed related to the page you are viewing. The tool also claims not to be spyware, http://www.ucmore.com/product5.htm, but content owners may not be happy to have it suggesting other sites to their visitors. Similar criticisms have been levied against Alexa, in the past.

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Web-Cite Exposure
http://www.web-cite.com/

Cam Balzer has been a popular speaker at the “Doing It In House” session we’ve had several times at the Search Engine Strategies conference, which focuses on how to handle search engine marketing as an internal activity. Now he’s launched this new site designed to provide more advice about doing SEM from within a company. The site is still growing, so in-house specific content at the moment is fairly sparse. However, it’s worth a visit by anyone in-house or not, for some of the interesting content in the Tips & Tricks section, including a nice article on using CSS as a replacement for tables.

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The Domain Purity Test
http://www.buzztoolbox.com/google/domainpur.shtml

Here’s a great Google Hack from Google Hacks coauthor Tara Calishain. Enter a domain name, and the test will find the first 50 pages for that domain listed by Google. It will then do the same thing using the Google SafeSearch filter. Both results are compared to see how pure your domain is. If you have 10 or less “bad” URLs, these will be listed. Interestingly, I checked playboy.com and found the site was considered 30 percent pure. Well, maybe Google only reads the articles. You’ll need your own Google API key to use the test. Don’t be afraid — follow the link on the form to reach Google, fill out the Google API request form and you’ll get a simple code you can enter into the box.

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Documentation of Gator Advertisements and Targeting
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/edelman/ads/gator/

From Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the site is designed to explain how Gator targets ads against specific web sites and allows for online testing of what ads appear without having to install the Gator software.

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SearchDay Articles
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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
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2215181

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.

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Writing Effective Search Engine Ads
SearchDay, May 29, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2213421

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.

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Ad Agencies Slowly Embrace Search Engine Marketing
SearchDay, May 28, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2212491

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.

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What’s New In Information Research
SearchDay, May 27, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204961

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

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Why Google Hacks is a Bestseller
SearchDay, May 22, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2209681

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.

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Behind the Scenes at the Daypop Search Engine
SearchDay, May 21, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2209031

Daypop is a unique search engine, for a number of reasons. Its primary focus is on weblogs, news sites and other sources for current events and breaking news — currently scouring more than 35,000 of these sources.

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Virtually Attending the 12th W3C Conference
SearchDay, May 20, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2209031

The Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference begins today in Budapest Hungary. Can’t make it? Many of the conference proceedings and papers are already online.

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Help Test the Wondir Search Engine
SearchDay, May 19, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2208541

Wondir, a unique and powerful new search service, needs your help during a concentrated beta test of its system.

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Paid Placement Alternatives to Overture and Google
SearchDay, May 15, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204191

In an online advertising world dominated by 900-pound gorillas Overture and Google AdWords, what do second-tier pay-for-placement engines such as Ah-Ha, FindWhat and Search123 bring to the party?

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How to Succeed as an Information Professional
SearchDay, May 14, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204861

Ever dreamed of being paid to search? A new book provides a comprehensive roadmap for turning your dream of being a professional searcher into a successful reality.

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Managing a Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing Campaign
SearchDay, May 13, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204161

How do you choose a firm to manage your pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing campaign? The CEOs of four well-known search marketing firms offered valuable insights and tips on making the choice.

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The World of Google
SearchDay, May 12, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204151

Puzzled by PageRank? Dying to be invited to the ‘Google Dance?’ A new directory features links to hundreds of resources covering all aspects of the world according to Google.

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Web Marketing Pioneer Jim Wilson Dies
SearchDay, May 09, 2003
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2204291

Founder of one of the web’s oldest search engine communities Jim Wilson has died after a battle with heart disease.

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Search Engine Marketing and Branding
SearchDay, May 8, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2200961

Search engines are recognized as one of the best ways to generate qualified leads online. Should search engine marketing be considered as part of a brand-building campaign? Search Engine Watch members should follow the link at the top of the story to the member-only version of this article.

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The Google Alphabet
SearchDay, May 7, 2003
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2200941

What happens when you type a single letter — whether accidentally or intentionally — into Google? The Google alphabet shows the first result you get (in English) for each letter.

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

SearchDay
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/

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Search Engine Articles
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Maximum Google
PC World, June 2003
http://www.idg.net/ic_1314900_9677_1-5042.html

Article has 25 tips on using Google in ways you might not know about.

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Yahoo Act Two
BusinessWeek, June 2, 2003
http://businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_22/b3835001_mz001.htm

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.

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In House Counsel: Google growth
The National Law Journal, June 2, 2003
http://www.nlj.com/business/profiles/060203profile.shtml

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.

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What’s Next: Do One Thing Right
Inc, June 1, 2003
http://www.inc.com/magazine/20030601/25514.html

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.

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The New DealTime
May 30, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002260

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.

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Make way for the contender to Google’s crown
The Register, May 30, 2003
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/30963.html

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, http://turbo10.com/, may not work. High use has caused the company to disable its search function.

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Search or Destroy?
ClickZ, May 30, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/feedback/buzz/article.php/2214371

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.

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Paid Inclusion Confusion
ClickZ, May 30, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2214321

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).

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The third era starts here
The Guardian, May 29, 2003
http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,965532,00.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.

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Free Site Search: Is Google the Best?
Microdoc News, May 29, 2003
http://www.microdocs-news.info/newsGoogle/2003/05/29.html#a656

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.

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Northern Light Readies for Return
Boston.internet.com, May 29, 2003
http://boston.internet.com/news/article.php/2214041

Former Northern Light CEO C. David Seuss buys backs the search engine for $81,000 from now bankrupt Divine. Divine originally purchased Northern Light (http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2159111) 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 (http://www.northernlight.com/), it also appears that the company wants to reenter the web search space.

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If Your CEO Gave You $50,000, What Marketing Tactics Would You Spend it On?
B2BMarketingBiz.com, May 28, 2003
http://www.b2bmarketingbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2357

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.

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Ask Jeeves Sells Enterprise Search Unit
InternetNews.com, May 28, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2213571

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.

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Telefonica Launches Bid For 100% Of Terra Lycos
Dow Jones Business Wire, May 28, 2003
http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030528/0626000513_2.html

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

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The Open Directory introduces abuse report system
Pandia, May 28, 2003
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2003/20-odp.html

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 (http://inelegant.org/report-abuse/).

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Big Changes for Search Engines
Wired, May 27, 2003
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,58971,00.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.

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Jupiter Research Launches Search Service
InternetNews.com, May 27, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2212261

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.

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Google gamers’ word pairings a creative addiction
San Jose Mercury News, May 26, 2003
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/5946638.htm

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

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All Eyes on Google
Forbes, May 26, 2003
http://www.forbes.com/magazines/forbes/2003/0526/100.html

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.

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B2B Search Best Practices
ClickZ, May 23, 2003
http://www.clickz.com/search/strat/article.php/2211251

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

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Harvard study wrestles with Gator
News.com, May 22, 2003
http://news.com.com/2117-1032-1008954.html

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.

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Travel Planning On The Web
About Web Search Guide, May 22, 2003
http://websearch.about.com/cs/travel/a/aa052203.htm

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

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Mapsarea
ResearchBuzz, May 22, 2003
http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2003/may22may2803.shtml#mapsarea

Review of a search engines for maps.

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Overture continues European rollout with Italian move
Revolution, May 21, 2003
http://www.revolution.haynet.com/news/view.cfm?r=1&id=96936

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

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Search Engine Consolidation Ending: Report
Web Host News, May 20, 2003
http://thewhir.com/marketwatch/yan052003.cfm

The Yankee Group has issued a new report declaring that the web search market has reached a final consolidation to three major players, Yahoo, Overture and Google. Seems a bit premature. MSN is a search powerhouse that by rights needs to be counted as a fourth player. Of course, MSN lacks its own in-house search technology. It seems likely the company will rectify this situation by building internally or perhaps purchasing. And if it purchases, either LookSmart or Ask Jeeves would make easy targets — so there may still be some consolidation to come.

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Lycos, Bizrate Launch Shopping Site
InternetNews.com, May 19, 2003
http://boston.internet.com/news/article.php/2209101

Lycos has launched a new online shopping site, powered by BizRate.

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The blog clog myth
The Guardian, May 19, 2003
http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/comment/story/0,12449,959151,00.html

Consider it Googlebombing Part II, Googlebombing being the idea that emerged last year that blogs can put anything they want into Google’s top results through their ability to link. Absolutely, blogs have power. But they still do not remain all powerful about what Google may or may not list. Nevertheless, this perception persists among some bloggers and blog critics. This article recounts a recent panic among bloggers who fear their content may be removed from Google because they add too much “noise” to the results. That was inspired by a Register article speculating on a Reuters report that Google was going to launch a new blog-specific search engine. If so, the Register suggested that blog content would be pulled from the main web search index. Google has given no indication at all that this would happen, nor would I even expect it to happen. In addition, Google told me last month that there’s no particular timeframe for when a blog-specific search feature will appear. It’s something the company expects to emerge eventually but not necessarily in the near future.

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Yahoo Kicks Off Wide-Ranging Search Campaign
InternetNews.com, May 19, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2208741

Northern Light, now defunct, was the last search engine to run search-specific television ads back in 2000. Now search returns to TV as part of a new advertising campaign to be run by Yahoo. Ads are coming to billboards and the internet, also. Those interested in past TV moves by search engines should see the Promoting Search Engines page, http://www.searchenginewatch.com/_subscribers/factfiles/article.php/2152861. For Search Engine Watch members, it is a compilation of articles about how search engines have promoted themselves to the public, in the past.

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As Google Goes, So Goes the Nation
New York Times, May 18, 2003
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/18/weekinreview/18NUNB.html

I never got to the entire “Googlewashing” debate last newsletter, so here’s a good summary of what happened. A Feb. 17 New York Times article used the phrase “second superpower” as a reference to world public opinion. Over a month later, Harvard fellow and blogger James F. Moore used the same phrase to refer to the internet’s “shared collective mind.” The New York Times article is apparently no longer on the web (and hence inaccessible to Google) while Moore’s blog entry is. Moore’s blog entry also gained links from many bloggers pointing to it, helping create the impression that Moore’s reference was first or perhaps the most popular. The article then goes on to examine whether this is a good or bad thing, when for relatively specific and unusual queries, popularity among one particular group might make that particular group’s “view” in the dominant one search results.

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Search engine secrets revealed
BBC, May 18, 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3033385.stm

After studying over 600 user queries, Penn State University researchers advise that the best strategy is to become familiar with one search engine and use its more advanced features to restructure your queries, rather than try other search engines. I haven’t read the study myself yet, but I still wouldn’t discount the value of trying other search engines.

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Search Engine Statistics: Freshness Showdown
Search Engine Showdown, May 17, 2003
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/stats/freshness.shtml

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.

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Search Results Clogged by Blogs
Wired, May 16, 2003
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58838,00.html

Sounds terrible. Blogs are clogging up search results, apparently making it hard to find information. But from a close reading of the story, it ain’t necessarily so. For example, one blogger found he was getting clicks from Google for “birthday card special agent,” not exactly a popular search topic. Other examples also seem to be fairly specific queries where blogs find it “easy” to rise. Of course, non-blog pages also rise for both specific and popular queries, as well — often just as easily. As for one of the two “secrets” to blog success, the “freshness” of information is NOT something that search engines take into account for ranking pages. If that were the case, search engine results would be flooded with spam from those who simply repost material to get a freshness boost. As for the other secret, links, that is very much is something that helps blogs overcome other problems that might otherwise bury them in search engine results (described more in my recent article, Loving Each Other More: Search Engines & Blogs, http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2175261). Fredrick Marckini, quoted in this story, says it exactly right. It’s not that blog content gets a free ride in search engines. It’s good content that gets rewarded in general, blog or not.

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Knock, Knock — Yahooligans! There
eMarketer, May 16, 2003
http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002239

Yahooligans, Yahoo’s web property for children, says its third most popular feature is its human-edited list of kid-safe web sites.

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Why Try to Out-Google Google?
O’Reilly Network, May 16, 2003
http://www.oreillynet.com/lpt/a/3765

Why is every search engine trying to out-google Google? Because Google has a massive audience that’s worth millions in paid listings revenues. But can they do it by simply imitating the current Google? No, says Google Hacks coauthor Tara Calishain. Google’s a moving target, so the search engines that seek to compete with Google need to look ahead.

How to do this? None of the suggestions offered are necessarily that compelling to me as a way to get the average searchers that have turned Google into a synonym for search. RSS feeds are wonderful but still seem far from how the typical person gets their web information. The Google API has done a huge amount to make Google popular among the influential web tech community, but it’s hard to say that Google wouldn’t be as popular without it. As for involving information publishers, Google and the other search engines already do a lot of outreach.

The most compelling suggestion, an all-in-one search page, is something that all the search engines are looking at, sort of. But the average searcher will not want the version as described in this article, where you get matches from all of Google’s databases, at the same time. This assumes that you always want images, newsgroup matches, product search results, web page matches and directory matches — a model we actually used have with some search engines in the past and an overall mess that forces you to dig to find the important stuff. Well, what about letting people tickbox the search results they want? Past experience has shown that users don’t do this. Heck, many users still have no idea that Google has tabs or how to use them.

Instead, we want search engine mind reading coupled with high-quality specialty search databases. Go to Ask Jeeves and search for “what does DNA look like?” In response, the first “listings” are actually pictures of DNA, rather than written web page matches. That’s good mind reading. And “san francisco weather” on Yahoo brings up the actual weather report for that city right in your search results. Both are example of Google being out-Googled in real, meaningful ways that may capture users.

Tara also suggests that things like Google’s sense of humor, its “willingness to share” and a sense of the internet’s culture have helped form Google’s success. They’ve certainly added to it, but its Google’s clear relevancy that emerged at a time when competitors were lost in the morass of being portals that has made it the current king of search, in my view. The average searcher indeed does care about Google’s great search technology much more than PigeonRank jokes or funny logos. When I’ve talked with average searchers, this is what they remember about Google — great results. To out-Google Google, its competitors are going to have to offer not just great results but better-than-great results.

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Make Sense of Search Engine Terminology
Microdoc News, May 16, 2003
http://www.microdocs-news.info/reviews/2003/05/16.html#a620

Trying to understand some search engine jargon? Here’s a nice article that lists a variety of search engine dictionaries that may help.

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Overture Ignites on Buyout Rumor
The Street, May 16, 2003
http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/markets/stockwatch/10087933.html

The “Yahoo’s going to buy Overture” emerges once again.

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Ask Jeeves: Why did you junk Espotting for Google?
The Register, May 16, 2003
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/30742.html

Following on last year’s move by the US-based Ask Jeeves site, Ask Jeeves UK now will be showing paid listings from Google, bumping out those from Espotting.

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Overture Partnership Key for Yahoo
InternetNews.com, May 16, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2208001

How important is Overture (and thus, paid listings) to Yahoo? Overture’s listings generated nearly one-fifth of Yahoo’s overall revenue in the first quarter of 2003.

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Two-and-a-Half Point Online News Manifesto
Traffick, May 14, 2003
http://www.traffick.com/blog/archive/2003_05_11_archive.asp#200291423

Andrew Goodman finds Yahoo News isn’t keeping up in the face of competitor Google News. Solution: acquire, then improve, Moreover.

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Researchers Develop Techniques For Computing Google-style Web Rankings Up To Five Times Faster
National Science Foundation Press Release, May 14, 2003
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030514080352.htm

Two Stanford University students will present a paper at the 12th Annual WWW Conference explaining ways to speed up the calculation of PageRank — NOT the ranking algorithm behind the Google search engine but rather one component of that algorithm. The “topic sensitive” calculations sound a lot like the system that Teoma uses. It’s also good to keep in mind that no one knows exactly how Google currently calculates PageRank. This research is based on a 1999 paper about how Google operated and is not necessarily indicative as to how things work today.

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DealTime and Epinions Complete Merger
Ecommerce-Guide.com, May 13, 2003
http://ecommerce.internet.com/news/news/article/0,,10375_2205601,00.html

Shopping search engine DealTime completes its acquisition of consumer reviews site Epinions.

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Thinking Global, Google News Goes Local
InternetNews.com, May 12, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2205191

Google unveils a variety of country-specific news web sites, for Canada, the UK, New Zealand and India. Ironically, no “US” news site is released, though some feel that the main globally-oriented Google News site may have a US slant to coverage.

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Court draws a line for online privacy
News.com, May 12, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1029-1001081.html

URLs that contain embedded search terms are found to be “content” by a US Court of Appeals and thus require US law enforcement agencies to jump through more legal hoops access such information. For more about such embedding and the fears some privacy advocates have had about it, see my past article, Google & The Big Brother Nomination, http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2175251#retains data.

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Overture plays on in push for Web search success
Reuters, May 12, 2003
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,t269-s2134528,00.html

Overture’s not on the defensive — it’s playing offense, says CEO Ted Meisel, in this interview. But developing a quality editorial listings product is taking longer and costing more than Overture expected, the company admits. A combined AllTheWeb/AltaVista index is expected by the end of the year, with paid inclusion for both services to be unified within the next 90 days.

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Overture Readies New Search Products
InternetNews.com, May 9, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2203901

Overture plans to release a combined paid inclusion product for AllTheWeb & AltaVista in the next three months. I’ll come back with more details on this next newsletter, but from my recent visit to Overture, you’ll essentially be able to purchase once and show up in both indexes — and probably at a price fairly comparable to what you pay to be just in one of the indexes, at the moment. Overture also expects to release its contextual ads product — now dubbed “Content Match — in the same timeframe. A local search product, allowing advertisers to target geographically, is slated for the end of the year.

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

Overture sued over Fast acquisition
News.com, May 8, 2003
http://news.com.com/2110-1024-1000543.html

MRT Micro is suing Overture, claiming it owns some of the search technology that Overture acquired as part of its AllTheWeb purchase.

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

Overture to trim staff, integrate units
Reuters, May 8, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1024_3-1000685.html

Overture is cutting 100 jobs, mainly people in sales and finance that came to the company through its recent acquisitions of AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

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In Search Of Profits
News.com, May 8, 2003
http://news.com.com/2030-1032_3-1000366.html

I like the spin some try to place in this article of contextual ad links as some new way to “search.” Contextual links have nothing to do with search at all. People don’t need contextual links as a way to search better. Instead, contextual ads reside in content, which may (or may not) answer their questions. The only reason search gets involved is because the major search players have loads of advertisers that want more inventory. Contextual links offer a way to get these advertisers before a wider audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for content owners, readers or advertisers — but neither is it a “search thing.” Best part of the story is the nice chart showing estimated search revenues from 15 major companies, as compiled by US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

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Paid Inclusion Hot, LookSmart Not
InternetNews.com, May 6, 2003
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/2202061

LookSmart has lowered forecasts for its yearly profits by almost half, to $13 million, down from the $22 to $25 million it had previously estimated. Reason? Need to spend more on product development.

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Google CEO Has No Near Term Plans for IPO
Reuters, May 5, 2003
http://news.com.com/2100-1024_3-999894.html

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a technology conference that the company has no plans to IPO now nor would he offer speculation as to what would prompt Google to do so. He also said Google would offer blog-specific searching soon, though Google later told me in a follow-up that this is not planned for the near future.

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Search Engine as OS
eWeek, May 5, 2003
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,1054579,00.asp

Can you program Google? Google’s API program makes it more likely that people should view the search engine as an operating system that they can program applications for.

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Misquoting Google
Poynteronline, May 1, 2003
http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=32&aid=32072

I see the types of mistakes mentioned in this article made all the time. If you’re going to cite how many matches Google (or other search engines) come up with, you need to be very careful that you understand what exactly happened when you conducted your search.

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Golden Google
Reveries.com, May 2003
http://www.reveries.com/reverb/media/armstrong/index.html

Interview with Tim Armstrong, Google’s VP of advertising. He describes Google as the first company to have a large scale ad network, thinks banners will still survive despite the growth of paid listings, comments on the Blogger purchase as being a “natural” fit with existing efforts by Google to distribute ads on content and says Google will ultimately remain best known as a search engine rather than an ad network.

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Attract Visitors With Multimedia Search
NetMechanic, May 2003
http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol6/promo_no10.htm

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

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Web Search For A Planet: The Google Cluster Architecture
IEEE, March-April 2003
http://www.computer.org/micro/mi2003/m2022.pdf

Written by Google engineers, this PDF-document provides details about the computer hardware effort involved in processing Google’s millions of queries. For a nice excerpt of this document, see this article: http://www.microdocs-news.info/newsGoogle/2003/05/19.html#a627

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