The business of Search covers a wide area: web search, mobile search, video search etc - you'll find that and all the techniques, and intricacies associated with it here.

Lastminute.com Shaft Affiliate Partners

NB: Title Changed by Nick W

Lastminute.com, one of the largest uk travel portals last week changed their affiliate offering with minimal notice to any affiliates. The merchant in question is now offering 7 day cookies, down from 28 and now is only allowing one sale per cookie, not unlimited as it was.

So come on people tell me who, on a first search to a travel site, books their holiday?

I think they may loose a great deal of traffic very quickly.

DougS Ps. FYI Expedia are still offering 28 cookies and unlimited sales per cookie.

Dressing old news up as new for links...

Thread Title: Confirmation: Yahoo is testing a Google Adsense competitor Thread Url: http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2005/03/ypn_yahoo_profi.php Thread Description:

Tom Foremski is saying that he has confirmation that Yahoo's YPN contextual ads for small publishers is for real - though i'd ask why he even thinks confirmation is necessary? It's bloody obvious mate, stop dressing up old news in an effort to garner link love.

Muhahahaha....

Damn! I linked him! heh..

Xtra Google

Thread Title: Xtra Google Thread Url: http://www.xtragoogle.com/ Thread Description:

Check out XtraGoogle - an app that lets you enter a search term and then click one of the icons, that lead to specialized Google searches.

It's very handy, but i can't see G$ liking it too much. No, wait! It does add value for the user right?

The app appears to be there to promote Topic Hunter

Scamming Clients - Nasty Host Practices for Search Rankings

Thread Title: Obnoxious cloaking scam Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=4511 Thread Description:

The scam is perpetrated by a hosting company on its hosting clients. When a search engine spider, such as Googlebot, requests a client's page, the host adds a bunch of links to the page that is returned. The client has no idea that it happens. The links are mostly to the host site's pages, and are added for the link text benefit.

Also, new pages are added to the clients' sites, including a new sub-directory. Links to the new stuff are added to normal pages. The links point to new URLs within the client's site. The returned pages from those URLs simply contain links, with targeted link text, to the host's pages and sites. The new URLs are not static and don't exist in the client's site, so the client can't see them with FTP. Requests for the URLs are simply intercepted and the links page is returned to search engines, while people get a 302 to the site's home page.

Nasty. I can think of a lot of possible answers but none of them are great.

Yahoo Directory Inclusion is Free in UKIE

From WMW

Quote: Our internal user data shows that increasing numbers of UKIE users are going directly to our web search results for their search inquiries. As a result of this continued trend in our user behavior, Yahoo! decided to discontinue the UKIE Express service. The UKIE Express program ceased to exist as of Feb. 25, 2005

Anyone use Jeeves for Image Search?

Thread Title: Gettin’ the Picture, AJ Style Thread Url: http://blog.ask.com/2005/03/gettin_the_pict.html Thread Description:

Because they say they've improved it:

Until this week, we relied exclusively on the relevance algorithms provided by our partner Picsearch, which provides the roughly 500 million-image index for Ask Jeeves. Now we’ve added some of our own search flavor to the mix. Picture/Image Search is what computer science types like to call a "hard problem." With pictures, as compared to web pages, there's a lot less textual information to go on when it comes to matching the best images to a user's query. So we spent a lot of time in our labs working on some new algorithms for delivering substantially better picture results than before.

I've never tried Ask for image search, im enjoying Yahoo's new enhancements though, and out of curiosity and fairness i'll give Jeeves a bash later today...

Tim Bray Slams Google over AutoLink

Thread Title: Google Is Wrong Thread Url: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2005/03/03/GoogleIsWrong Thread Description:

Sun's Tim Bray says:

"Google has gone seriously off the rails with the new AutoLink feature of their toolbar"

"It seems so obvious that this move is not only evil but stupid"

He goes on to call on the Creative Commons to draw up a licsense, if the current ones do not prove Google infringement, and create one that rules out AutoLink period.

He ends with:

"Then Google stops, or we sue their ass."

Go Tim!

Autolink and the User

We've spoken at quite some length about how the new Google Toolbar doesn't add any value and physically detracts from a webmaster's business but we haven't spoken in any length about whether it detracts or adds value to the end Google userbase. The searchers.

I believe that the toolbar detracts from the user experience of a searcher visiting a website with the toolbar installed but I am biased. Placing your site owner hat down on the table for a moment and putting on your Mr & Mrs Average searcher hat on how do you think the Autolink feature of the toolbar increases or decreases value?

To start things off here is Google's POV from their toolbar page

Quote: The online review of a great new restaurant has the place's address but no map. You could type the restaurant's street, city, and ZIP code into the search box, but why bother, when clicking the Toolbar's AutoLink button will automatically create a link to an online map (US addresses only)? AutoLink can also link package tracking numbers to delivery status, VIN numbers (US) to vehicle history, and publication ISBN numbers to Amazon.com listings.

Dreamweaver: Extension to Kill AutoLink

Thread Title: Dreamweaver: Kill AutoLink Extension Thread Url: http://forums.spider-food.net/index.php?showtopic=2832 Thread Description:

The thread is just starting but we should give credit - from Spider Food comes the announcement that there is now a Dreamweaver extension to kill Google Autolink. I think dreamweaver users will be pleased.

Added by Nick: You can find the complete list of code to kill Autolink right here.

MSN may use Desktop Files to Personalize Search

Thread Title: TechFest brings Microsoft's researchers and projects together Thread Url: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/214288_techfest03.html Thread Description:

Seattlepi reports on an MS research event that showcased a system to use your desktop files to personalize MSN Search rather than use a user submitted profile, cookies etc:

Projects on display during a Microsoft Research event yesterday included a method for personalizing Web search results based on the contents of the files on an individual user's computer hard drive.

The project reflects a broader push in the industry to improve the relevance of Web search results by tailoring them to the person doing the searching. But other programs, including Google's personalized search engine, have approached the challenge by having users create profiles to define their preferences.

The prototype developed by the Microsoft researchers comes up with those personal preferences automatically by consulting the index generated by MSN Desktop Search, an existing tool for finding files on a hard drive.

Interesting stuff, bit creepy though eh?

Findory's Greg Linden said:

Building a profile implicitly is nice, but it's not clear to me that my desktop files are a good predictor for personalized web search. Are the files on your desktop correlated with what web search results you find most interesting? I'm not sure they are. A better predictor might be previous searches or the web pages you've viewed, not whatever data you have stored in Word and Excel files.

Though he did say it was a great idea, and it is a neat concept...

Peeking Into Google

InternetNews has an article which gives an insight into Google from Urs Hoelzle, Google vice president of operations and vice president of engineering who was at eclipseCON 2005.

Quote: As a search query comes into the system, it hits a Web server, then is split into chunks of service. One set of index servers contains the index; one set of machines contains one full index. To actually answer a query, Google has to use one complete set of servers. Since that set is replicated as a fail-safe, it also increases throughput, because if one set is busy, a new query can be routed to the next set, which drives down search time per box.

Gary Stein's SES Notes

Thread Title: SES New York NoteBlog Thread Url: http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/stein/archives/006758.html Thread Description:

Doesn't match Barry's coverage of course, as Gary says himself he's not had time to blog, but Jupiters Gary Stein is one of my favorite "analyst blogs" so let's show him a little link love for making at least a token effort heh...

He did had this to say on the blogging panel:

It's not much of a secret that this is my favorite topic--how the media generated by consumers affects overall brand perception. This is critical to a search strategy, because people using search engines to find information don't just find corporate stuff. My panelists included Steve Rubel who runs the Micropersuasion blog and Mark Fletcher who runs Bloglines. Also on were Jonathan Carson of BuzzMetrics and Mike Nazarro from Intelliseek. Steve came out pretty strongly in favor of corporate blogs (no surprise there). But he made a great point--searching on Google for Starbucks has (for a very long time) provided a link to the I Hate Starbucks site as the number 2 link. If Starbucks ran a blog, the content would very quickly push that site down the list. Good advice

Security Focus on Google AutoLink

Thread Title: Where is Google Headed? Thread Url: http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/304 Thread Description:

I'd say the controversy over AutoLink is starting to gain a bit more momentum, when a site like SecurityFocus starts picking up on the problems with Autolink, the investor sites can't be far behind...

Even worse, there's no way for site authors to opt out! At least Microsoft indicated that it would respect an opt-out META tag that site creators could insert into their web pages (of course, it would have been far better if it had instead offered an opt-IN META tag, but such is life with Microsoft). Google offers nothing: no opt-in, no opt-out, nothing. As a result, code has already appeared that web site developers can use to block Google's AutoLink (and it works with JavaScript, ASP, PHP, and Perl!).

I work hard in these columns to pick interesting, informative links that back up my statements, provide detail where I must be terse, or entertain with a sarcastic comment on my text. It's as much part of my writing as the words I use. In fact, in 2005, I would go so far as to say that for any writer using the web as a platform, links are in fact part of his or her writing. When Google changes the links on this web page, Google changes my writing, without any input from me, and for commercial gain that certainly doesn't benefit me, or SecurityFocus, the publisher of my columns. If I was an online bookstore, the fact that my ISBNs turned into links to a competitor like Amazon would make my blood boil. In essence, Google - and selected partner companies - benefit commercially from my work, and I see nothing for it. Alternately, on my web site, I provide a lot of stuff under a Creative Commons license, but AutoLink ignores it and commercializes things I do not wish commercialized.

On top of those objections, let's add one that should particularly resonate with SecurityFocus readers: privacy. Google's cookie doesn't expire until 2038; add onto that the data that the Google toolbar can gather about users, and you have a data mining tool second to none. This makes me very, very nervous. "Don't be evil"? How about "Don't be evil ... mostly. Kinda. Pretty much. Maybe."?

Vertical Search to Knobble Keyword Prices

Thread Title: The Arbitrageurs.Com Thread Url: http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=P8863_0_3_0_C Thread Description:

Fresh after Jupiters prediction that vertical search will become much stronger and more viable Bambi Francisco at MarketWatch rides in with a piece saying that the large amount of VC money going into Vertical, or Arbitrage search will inflate the price of Keywords, and that this could have dire effects.

You see, the venture-backed startups are back, albeit in a smaller way. These startups call themselves niche or vertical search engines, comparison-shopping engines, or next-generation search engines.

I call them middlemen, the pre-qualifiers or arbitrageurs. Whatever moniker today's startups are using, they're all focused on specializing in a particular category to help consumers shop or help advertisers get better leads.

She makes comparisons to 1999 - and we've certainly seen a lot of worry amongst analysts that we're headed for, or are in the midst of another bubble:

Like arbitrageurs, they buy up traffic through low-priced keyword terms on Google and Yahoo and theoretically sell that traffic at higher prices to advertisers or merchants. For instance, Nextag, a popular comparison-shopping site, bids up the keywords "DVD player" to be listed as a sponsored link whenever someone searches those terms on Google. Nextag then sells that traffic to companies like Dell Computer

It's way beyond me to comment on that, i'll leave it for those that work in that area to decide whether there's a point there or not.

Let us know what you think...

What is Spam? SES NY

Thread Title: What is Spam? SES NY Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=4436 Thread Description:

A worthwhile read for 3 reasons;

1. Rustybrick's above and beyond reporting

2. Ihelpyou giving Greg Boser tips on being a professional SEO [laugh, trust me my sides HAVE split].

3. Boser's reported comment "His guideline is that he never violates the end user", that struck home to me and is a counter arguement to the "love the SE's no matter what" crowd.

Lycos to use Ask Jeeves for Web Search

Thread Title: Lycos to use Ask Jeeves search technology Thread Url: http://yahoo.reuters.com/financeQuoteCompanyNewsArticle.jhtml?duid=mtfh88516_2005-03-02_14-17-36_n02432090_newsml Thread Description:

Lycos. Do i need to spend a paragraph being rude about them? No, probably not, you get the point - they can't make up their mind what they want to be and are quite frankly, a bit of a joke these days.

They have, just chosen Ask to provide web search though, sending Ask shares 2% higher as a result - nice deal for Ask no doubt as despite what i think of Lycos, they're presumably still bringing in punters or they'd not be in business at all eh?

Yahoo! - 10yrs Old Today!

Thread Title: Yahoo, Ten Years! Thread Url: http://battellemedia.com/archives/001294.php Thread Description:

Yep, Yahoo! is 10yrs old today, ahh... makes you think of scabby knees and catapults no? (jumpers for goalposts...)

I've linked to Battelle's post, mainly as i've half inched his nice picture, and maybe he wont beat me up now heh..

Also see Gary's Remembering the early days

I recall my first experience with Yahoo! It was actually my very first experience on the web - a friend told me how to get to Yahoo.com and type in <insert adult phrase here> into the searchbox - it took me several attempts to work out what was going on, and i remember thinking that it was actually some kind of secret code word i was typing in, as surely the kind of material i was getting returned was not normal?

harharhar....

Hey! Scoble's on MY turf!

I've been calling for a blog tab on serps for a long time (last time I recall posting about it was at BK's C8) well before blogs became a total clutter. Now, *gasp* Scoble is getting very close to doing the same.

search engine without blogs

(Good title, eh? Made you look, hhh!)

TOS, GoogleGuy and AutoLink

This has been bothering me.

Back when GoogleGuy made his request for the Threadwatch link analysis tool not to scrape Google because it would violate Google's TOS against automated queries, how is that different from our request that Google not put automated or semi-automated links on our sites? Presuming we altered our site TOS to prohibit this? I don't see a whole lot of difference.

Many commentators say that because the user is initiating the Autolinks it is somehow okay. But in the case of the TW link analysis tool isn't that being initiated by the user, from the users computer?

I do not see a practical difference between Google very politely asking use to respect their TOS and we as webmasters, very politely asking Google to respect our TOS. Can somebody explain the difference?

NoFollow FUD & Counter Proposals at the Indexing Summit

Thread Title: Indexing Summit Thread Url: http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/001605.html Thread Description:

Barry Schwartz reports on the SES panel Danny Sullivan worked so hard to make happen - some of the comments from Google and Yahoo will make some take a very close look at what search engines think of blogs, and more importantly, what publisher responsibility actually means.

Some wont get it.

Check Matt Cutts from Google:

It has only been 6 weeks since it has been implemented and they have already seen a positive impact. He then shows the no follow tag which looks like <a href="http:/*/www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">discount pharmacy</a>. He then showed about 20+ companies (search and blogs) that support this tag. They have already seen positive impacts. Its better then not having it he said. Spammers hate it he said, just like wearwolves hate silver bullets (I believe he made a comment towards Nick Wilson about his blog and spammer followers hating it - Nick, eat that up please). Spammers are shifting towards different types of spam. Spammers are moving toward smaller blog packages.

Funny, that's not what i've been hearing. Quite the contrary in fact. I've been hearing that blog spamming continues to be business as usual as the professional spammers continue to target older blogs. I've also seen a LOT of once very noisey NoFollow bloggers, go all quiet......

Next up, Tim Mayer of Yahoo:

He said Yahoo! came up with a slightly different proposal then Google. Yahoo! just rolled out support for the nofollow tag LAST NIGHT, so see changes in the index shortly. He talked about the summit they held at Yahoo! and said it was weird having Matt Cutts on the Yahoo! campus. The key thing is to solve the exploitation of publicly modifiable areas on prominent sites. He says the nofollow is not a semantic tag, its not descriptive of the content. Yahoo! recommends blocking of certain components of the pages. They are proposing <div class='content-public'>...</div> Content within the tag is publicly contributed by anyone. So he showed you should put this tag for blog entries.