The Search Engine Update – Number 173 – May 18, 2004

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ Search Engine Strategies Comes To London, San Jose
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ Search Engine Resources
+ About The Newsletter

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

I’ve updated the Hitwise Search Engine Ratings page. It shows which search engines are most popular, based on visits. Figures are for April 2004. You’ll find a link to it from the What’s New page, below. Also watch that page for when I do more updates of ratings from other companies that are in the works.

What’s New

I’ve mentioned in recent newsletters that our own Search Engine Watch Forums are in the works. It’s getting very close now. Fingers-crossed, we’ll do a beta launch next week, so people can begin hitting our software and talking about things. It won’t look pretty, but we’ll clean things up before the planned formal launch sometime in June.

To help, I’m happy to announce that Search Engine Watch has gained a new person: Elisabeth Osmeloski. Elisabeth has been one of our regular and popular speakers at Search Engine Strategies, as well as a long-time search engine marketer. I’ve very pleased to have her coming aboard as our new forum editor. She’ll watch over the day-to-day activities of the discussion areas.

Of course, good forums are defined by good moderators. My thanks to all of you who’ve already expressed interest in being moderators. Elisabeth and I expect to be getting back to everyone within the next week. Still interested and haven’t spoken up? Just message me at Please put “forums” in the subject line.

Finally, I haven’t done much “rumor mill” stuff in the newsletter before, but what the heck. A reader I know and trust passed along a tip that Microsoft may be considering plans to spin off MSN as a separate company. More news, should I hear more.


Search Engine Strategies Comes To London, San Jose

Search Engine Strategies arrives in London next month. The show will cover search engine marketing issues, just as with the SES events held in the United States. However, the London show will have sessions about targeting the UK and Europe, as well as involve local speakers.

Special sessions include panels on domain name and language issues, a look at the European search landscape and a session on managing multicountry search campaigns. A full agenda and more information can be found here:

Search Engine Strategies London: June 2 & 3, 2004

Search Engine Strategies returns to the United States from August 2-5. The show will be in San Jose and is traditionally our biggest event. The agenda for that should be posted by the middle of next week, at the URL below. In the meantime, the URL provides basic show information:

Search Engine Strategies San Jose: August 2-5, 2004

SES comes to Stockholm from October 27-28, and the year ends with a December 13-16 show in Chicago. Basic information about these shows can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies

SearchDay Articles

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

Yahoo Reawakens The Paid Inclusion Debate
SearchDay, May 18, 2004

Yahoo drew widespread criticism for new paid inclusion programs launched in March. What is Yahoo doing? How does it impact the advertiser and searcher? Are there changes Yahoo should be making? The first in a series of articles looking at paid inclusion.


Google Sends Cease-And-Desist To Orkut Geomapper Site
SearchDay, May 18, 2004

Google has sent a cease-and-desist letter to close the Orkut Personal Network Geomapper web site, which lets you view the personal connections of those within Google’s Orkut social networking service.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, May 17, 2004

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: PageRank Is Not Dead – How Much Does Your Adwords Position Impact Click-Through Rate? – Google Launches Image Ads – Google Groups Updates Usenet Reader Features – My Content Network Has Taken Over My Search Network – People Edited Niche Directories? – Spam Rules Require Effective Spam Police – Fraudulent Clicks Today


Google Confirms Automated Page Removal Bug
SearchDay, May 14, 2004

Microsoft, Adobe and some other web sites had pages removed from Google without their consent, due to a bug with Google’s page removal tool. And WhenU gets pulled for cloaking.


Return To The Sad Days Of More Than A Search Engine?
SearchDay, May 14, 2004

Yahoo says it is “more than a search engine” in the same week Google adds a new portal feature. Are the sad days of search being a neglected child about to return?


Google Offers Banners & Image Ads — But Not On Google Itself
SearchDay, May 13, 2004

Google has debuted a new graphical ad option for its advertisers — the ability to run banners, skyscrapers and other image-based ad units. However, these ads won’t run on Google itself.


Google Groups Adds Mailing Lists & Other Features, Competes With Yahoo Groups
SearchDay, May 12, 2004

Google has added new mailing list creation functionality to its Google Groups service, giving it a capability that competes directly with the Yahoo Groups service.


Is It Really Personalized Search?
SearchDay, May 12, 2004

Both search and social networking are hot! But don’t assume that new sites offering both types of services necessarily provide something else that’s hot — search personalization.


Google Launches Official Google Blog, Not Blog Search
SearchDay, May 11, 2004

Google has launched its own official blog, promising much insight about the company though not yet delivering much. The company also says it has no news about long-discussed plans to offer blog or web feed searching at Google.


Google Overhauls Blogger
SearchDay, May 10, 2004

Google has launched an improved version of Blogger, the first major upgrade to the popular web log service in nearly four years.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, May 7, 2004

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Local Portals – Managing Client Expectatons – Paid Fee to Search Engines for the Right to SEO Website – Tracking Positions – New Sites Put Into a “Sand Box” by Google – Which AdSense Display Brings Most Revenue.


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


Search Engine Articles

Study Shows Paid Search Listings Are More Relevant To Women And The Unemployed
MediaPost, May 18, 2004

The latest release of an iProspect study of search interaction shows women were lightly more likely to choose a paid result as relevant than men. Those with full-time jobs are also more likely to click than part-time or unemployed searchers. College graduates are more likely to see editorial listings as relevant over paid.


DoubleClick Adds Search Tool With $65M Performics Buy, May 18, 2004

DoubleClick is buying affiliate and search marketing company Performics, giving the online ad company an entry into the growing space of search marketing.


Dragging Search Above the Line (by the Scruff of Its Neck)
ClickZ, May 17, 2004

Nearly half of those in a Jupiter Research survey said they had branding as a search campaign goal. Yet, only 20 percent said they measured any brand gains — compared to 70 percent who measure clicks. Gary Stein argues that more attention needs to be paid toward measuring the brand value of search.


“Cheap” and “Free” Keywords: Not Always a Bargain
ClickZ, May 17, 2004

Use the words “cheap” or “free” and you might see conversion rates plummet. Meanwhile, longer bids may cost less and convert better. Of course, I think eventually the search engines will continue their ongoing rollup of terms. That means eventually you’ll pay the same for a five word query (for example, “cool running shoes for marathon”) as shorter ones (for example, “running shoes”) if these are deemed as relating to the same audience .


Google’s ad plans provoke grumbling, May 17, 2004

Image ads can be brand building tools — so shouldn’t Google sell its new contextual ads on a CPM basis? Some competing ad distribution services suggest it should. But hey, why stop there. We know that search ads can also build brand. Overture even did a study a few years ago to support this, in a quest to get more brand revenue from agencies. Shouldn’t those be sold on a CPM basis, as well? That’s the way it used to be on Google, so I don’t expect a flip-flop any time soon. Meanwhile, vertical search site drops its CPM-based banners entirely:


In Google’s Shadow, Ask Jeeves Grows, May 17, 2004

Profile on how Ask Jeeves thinks it will survive and thrive despite the search battle between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft happening around it.


Microsoft turns its might to growing field of search
AP, May 17, 2004

Profile of Microsoft’s intent to win in search against Google and Yahoo. A few specifics, mostly stuff you’ve probably read in other stories like this before.


Former Overture MD joins WSPS as chief executive
DMBulletin, May 17, 2004

Former Overture managing director and president Nick Hynes has taken up a new position as CEO of search engine marketing firm WSPS.


Is Google Catalogs Kaput
ResourceShelf, May 16, 2004

Gary Price notes that the Google Catalogs service seems woefully out of date. For more about the service, see


Have your Google people talk to my ‘googol’ people
Baltimore Sun, May 16, 2004,0,1939718.story

Google is a play on the word “googol,” which mathematician Edward Kasner coined (or really, his nephew) in 1940 for 1 followed by 100 zeros. Kasner’s relatives now believe Google the search engine has made financial gains by capitalizing on the name. It’s understandable. After all, so many people went to Google thinking, “Aha, that’s funny — it’s just like that word for that large number.”

All will apparently be forgiven if Kasner’s relatives can participate as insiders on Google’s public offering. No news if the person who operates also has any perceived obligations to Kasner’s relatives. That site is a bit less commercial than Google, to say the least.

Meanwhile, see the excellent Boston Globe article exploring the issue more, from the fact that googol was never used to describe a commercial product or service and that Google as a word existed in the English language back to about 1380:


Yahoo to boost search
San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2004

Yahoo tells analysts to expect great things in search, saying it has 50 different search projects in the works though gave few details.


Contact-ual Search
ClickZ, May 14, 2004

Those using Plaxo with Outlook or Outlook Express will now be able to search against Yahoo from within their email software.


Behead Berg Ad On Google
Searchblog, May 14, 2004

Now it’s gone, but for a short time, Google was sadly carrying an ad for someone selling a video clip of Nick Berg being beheaded. As spotted by Gary Price, with screen capture from John Battelle.


Search Engines Make Local Landgrabs, Leaving Newspapers Out In The Cold
MediaPost, May 14, 2004

Newspapers better look out. Their bread-and-butter classified business could be under threat from search engines, says a new report.


Ask Jeeves Lays Out Plans for Interactive Search Holdings
ClickZ, May 13, 2004

Ask Jeeves has completed its purchase of ISH. Now it’s looking to update the MyWay and iWon portals, just two of several significant search sites it now owns.


Yahoo takes Google’s spot on CNN, May 13, 2004

Yahoo outs Google as CNN’s search partner.


Canadians search Web more
The Globe and Mail, May 13, 2004

Figures from comScore say Canadians seem to search slightly more often than Americans and that Google has a larger margin of popularity over rivals in Canada than in the United States.


Search engines take the stand, May 13, 2004

An excellent, scary look at how courts are becoming more reliant on search engines as legal proof in cases. Scary? How about using search engine counts to decide if secondhand smoke is an issue to order a mother not to smoke near her child. The sheer number of web pages listed is hardly medical testimony. While it’s unlikely, it is even possible that a large number of those pages were saying secondhand smoke isn’t an issue. A count alone mean nothing.


Overture Eyes Canadian Market, May 13, 2004

Until Overture can launch Overture Canada later this year, it has partnered with a local paid listing company to help serve its advertisers wishing to target the country.


CitySearch teams with Overture, May 13, 2004

Overture has partnered to place its paid listings into search results on CitySearch. More about CitySearch here:


Advertisers Bid, You Click, They Pay
Washington Post, May 12, 2004

No revelations here for readers — a look at how paid placement listings work. But some nice anecdotes from large companies that are using them.


Scaling Google’s peaks, May 11, 2004,39020469,39154272,00.htm

Interview with Google’s director of technology Craig Silverstein. Google, he says, was in the right place at the right time to succeed in search. PageRank, he says, will remain part of the Google ranking system but new ideas will obviously be integrated. He hopes concerns over Gmail will subside, when many people can see the final product. And more.


Reality TV and online games
CBS MarketWatch, May 11, 2004{A01B7AA6-CA81-4A7B-A1B3-6FEF59660552}&dist=google

There’s a search tidbit buried in here — Google’s claim that it sends half the search traffic to gaming sites. You can also read more direct from Google: Of course, there’s a good chance that a majority of that traffic comes from Google’s unpaid listings, something the pitch to advertise on Google obviously doesn’t mention.


Mobiles take on Net search engines
Reuters, May 11, 2004

Any Question Answered is a service that lets people send SMS messages and receive answers back — perfect for those pub quizzes.


Google preps new tool to juice revenue, May 11, 2004,39001147,39178745,00.htm

Google’s apparently looking at ways to automatically create paid listings for companies by crawling the pages in their web sites. Several search engine marketing firms already offer this to their paid listing clients.


SEM and Online Publicity
ClickZ, May 10, 2004

Publishers, journalists and PR firms — take note. Keep search engines in mind before you make your edits, and you might get rewarded for retaining copy that reads well and also pleases crawlers.


Verizon Launches Self-Service Tool
ClickZ, May 10, 2004

Now you can buy local paid placement listings on via an online program.


Maintain Your Rankings After a Redesign, May 7, 2004

Redesigning but afraid the change will cause you to lose rankings? Some tips from Jill Whalen.


Web Search: On to “Sense-Making”
BusinessWeek, May 6, 2004

A few interesting anecdotes on how IBM’s WebFountain is being used to analyze web content to report on company reputations and competitive intelligence. I just wish the companies in the anecdotes had been named, so that you could test how revealing an ordinary web search might be in comparison.


Yahoo Adds Targeted Ads to its Companion Toolbar
Search Engine Lowdown, May 3, 2004

Andy Beal has a nice screenshot and catch about how the Yahoo Companion toolbar was recently showing ads. But don’t get too excited — it’s not going to be a permanent feature. Checking with Yahoo, they tell me the ad was part of a preexisting deal they’ve had with FTD that’s now ended. The ads have been shown on the toolbar before, but they won’t any longer. “This deal was the last part of a legacy deal that we had with FTD. There are no other ads in the pipeline and there aren’t any current plans to sell additional placements,” said Yahoo spokesperson Stephanie Iwamasa.


Why Writing Your Own Search Engine is Hard
ACM Queue, April 2004

Want to run your own search engine? Here’s a look at issues ranging from hardware, bandwidth, file systems, crawling and indexing. Now finish and do your IPO.

Search Engine Resources

Prog (formerly Proogle)

Last newsletter, I mentioned the very cool tool of Proogle that showed Google PageRank values next to pages listed. That’s since closed, apparently because Google blocked it (see Prog is a replacement by the same company that is working, though it perhaps tempts fate by not only taking Google’s results but running its own ads alongside them (


Smugmug Nigritude Ultramarine Entry

OK, we’ve had contests to see who is the best SEO company before. They’ve seemed mostly publicity stunts to me. The current one is to rank tops at Google for the term “nigritude ultramarine,” as described more here: And the site above? It caught my eye because it was created by a Google product manager and staff photographer, who is participating in the contest.


Search Engine College

New Zealand-based search engine marketer Kalena Jordan’s launched a new online training course for those interested in search engine marketing.


Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association

Those in the DFW area now have an association designed to educate local businesses about search engine marketing.



From long-time search player Intelliseek, this new site covers over a million blogs, providing analysis, trends and keyword-searching. Check out some interesting visualization tools in the Showcase area.

About The Search Engine Update

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