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Ask.com still indexing pages 301ed three years ago
at this point, I'm astounded
Robert Charlton




msg:3363298
 7:33 am on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

<rant> Just thought I'd check out the new Ask.com, which is very pretty, and tried a search that reminded me of a problem I'd forgotten about...

They are still indexing pages that were 301 redirected three years ago, redirects which have been followed by every other search engine in the known universe.

I've mentioned this two or three times before over the years, at conferences or on forums, and extremely nice Ask engineers have asked me about it, promising to clean it up, and I've given them the information, expecting it was a minor glitch and would be fixed. This is now a bad joke.

Anyone else seeing this problem? This is ridiculous. </rant>

 

jpack




msg:3363649
 6:10 pm on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, I see this on a site that I 301'd over a year ago.. They still have about 1,700 pages from it actually. I'm concerned about this possibly causing duplicate content penalties with the site that it 301s to, which is currently delisted.

So let's see... year old redirected domain -- indexed. Current main site -- completely absent.

I'm right there in rant mode with you.

Robert Charlton




msg:3363655
 6:24 pm on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

old redirected domain -- indexed. Current main site -- completely absent.

A variant of this is what I'm seeing too... Ask (and before Ask, Teoma) only seems to be having problems with the specific pages that were 301ed. So the internal optimized pages, which had rankings that I wanted to preserve, were 301ed. On these, the old pages are still showing, and the new pages are nowhere to be seen.

In the case of the home page (ie, the default canonical), both the old and the new page show. Probably because of new links, the new page is finally outranking the old page.

Other pages on the site, which were not specifically redirected, rank on the new domain for appropriate terms.

pageoneresults




msg:3363662
 6:36 pm on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Anyone else seeing this problem?

Yes. I can confirm more than a few instances of old URIs still appearing in the Ask index. Stuff from more than a year ago. I don't want to dig any further for fear of what I may find. ;)

If there is one protocol that has really thrown all the SEs for a loop, its the 10.3 Redirection 3xx methods, particularly 301 and 302.

<added to rant> Damn! I just removed a bunch of 301s that were in place for at least 24 months. I spot checked the top three search engines and all was updated. Our ini file was getting a little crammed so I did some spring cleaning. And here I am the one that adamantly supports keeping 301s in place forever!

I just did some advanced searches and sure enough, Ask has many old URIs still indexed. And some of those are now 404 due to spring cleaning. Just great! Ask.com is a prime reason why we adamantly support keeping 301s in place forever! I'm off to pull backup copies and put them back in place. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Okay, I'm taking my .1% (of your current 1.8%) marketshare away from you.

ogletree




msg:3364321
 1:53 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I got a lot of traffic last month from ask from content that has not been on that site in a long time and was only up there for a short period of time.

robho




msg:3364379
 3:00 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Same for me, ask.com still shows (and ranks well) an address I 301'd more than FIVE years ago. I still have the 301 in place, for this reason (and for other old links).

Just checked further, for a different site where I sold the domain late last century, there's still a reference to a page there that hasn't existed for at least seven years - and it still ranks #1 for a search term that hasn't been on the page (nor the new owner's home page, which they 301 it to) for at least seven years...

Making the site pretty is all very well, but actually updating the index might help more.

pageoneresults




msg:3364387
 3:07 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

"So Edward, what did you do this past weekend?"

"I spent most of the weekend chasing old rewrite files and updating those where applicable. Took me almost 12 hours total to find all the archives, do comparison, test, retest, and upload to various sites."

I'm really hoping that other major news outlets pick up on this story. Its time for Ask to throw in the towel. They have no right talking about The Algorithm when they can't even follow the protocols for redirection.

And then, how does this effect everyone? We all know that the SEs end up indexing each others content along the way, either directly or indirectly. ;)

1.8% market share? Let me ask, is 1.7% of that Ask employees who have Ask.com set as their home page for search? As a search engine, you guys/gals fail on all fronts.

<added>Ah-ha, I'm going to solve this issue right now...

User-agent: Teoma
Disallow: /

martinibuster




msg:3364470
 4:24 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Their most recent press release, correct me if I'm wrong, says that this recent change was cosmetic. The update to it's actual algo is supposed to happen at the end of summer. Are they hoping nobody notices?

That doesn't stop the "algorithm killed Jeeves" hype. Everybody knows Diller killed Jeeves. Snore.

They only have 400 employees and sometimes I get the feel that 350 of them work in marketing and administrative.

[edited by: martinibuster at 4:30 pm (utc) on June 11, 2007]

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364471
 4:24 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK. I also have a small 301 problem in Ask but this is no a reason to rant against them.

Ask have made some genuine progression with the layout of their results pages and should be applauded for doing so. They're trying something new where everyone else has been pathetically mimicking Google for years.

They also have better serps in many areas owing to a different algorithm not suffering under the sea of networking and paid links spam, which Google inadvertently created, and is now being suffocated by.

If you are looking for something to rant about, rant about Googleís sea of spam. I know itís what I do!

pageoneresults




msg:3364479
 4:35 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK. I also have a small 301 problem in Ask but this is no a reason to rant against them.

It sure is. This type of stuff needs public exposure to start the ball rolling in getting it fixed.

I performed multiple searches over the weekend after this topic was posted. In 65-70% of them, they were old URIs that were redirected at least a year ago. In some instances, up to two years ago.

Ask have made some genuine progression with the layout of their results pages and should be applauded for doing so.

It's a cosmetic change as MB states above. So, you get to the home page, ooh, nice simple design. You perform a search, ooh, looks like relevant results. You click a link, oops 404!

They're trying something new where everyone else has been pathetically mimicking Google for years.

Nothing new about the Ask.com interface from a wow standpoint. And it sure looks like they are mimicking the Google layout with a little Web 2.0 thrown in.

If you are looking for something to rant about, rant about Googleís sea of spam. I know itís what I do!

Nah, we're tired of Google this, Google that. Its time for some of the other SEs to get some attention. In this case, it is well deserved attention. They have a major flaw in their highly publicised Algorithm.

centime




msg:3364497
 4:54 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The issue with ask , I think, lies in the balance of expenditure.

They are very firmly sales led, witness the extensive advertising that even the deeper pockets of msn, yahoo, google do not subscribe to

However, this focus does seem to starve the technical function of resources

Hence, they do much much less spidering, caching, analysing than the rest.

Finding pages that one has deleted, 2 years ago, is a common occurence.

Dear ASK people, please spend more on bandwidth, spidertech, datacentres, phd computer geniuses etc etc :)

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364499
 4:58 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The interface progression of the new Ask is a world away from what you describe. It is a genuine progression; no other search engine has video, images, feeds. etc all on the SERPS page. It also has dynamic search suggestions as you type, a skinnable frontpageÖ

These are all genuine progressions in search that users will benefit from and enjoy.

I find it very useful and I think it will propel Ask some way against the other search engines. I also like Ask's advertising strategy. In fact, between my last post and this one I bought Ask stock. I am that confident in it.

And I am puzzled as to why you are so supportive of a company (Google) that has a near monopoly and has not created a user-benefiting interface upgrade like Ask just has in 5+ years of this near monopoly. And itís not like Google doesnít have itís fair share of indexing problems. www vs. non www took Google years to sort out!

Do you work for Google perchance?

handsome rob




msg:3364558
 6:01 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Apparently the algorithm is feeling nostalgic.

pageoneresults




msg:3364591
 6:41 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The interface progression of the new Ask is a world away from what you describe. It is a genuine progression; no other search engine has video, images, feeds. etc all on the SERPS page. It also has dynamic search suggestions as you type, a skinnable frontpage.

I don't believe that is what drives users to a particular search engine. Its the results. Google doesn't need to change its home page with the exception of getting rid of a few html errors. :)

These are all genuine progressions in search that users will benefit from and enjoy.

Is Ask a search engine or a portal?

I also like Ask's advertising strategy. In fact, between my last post and this one I bought Ask stock. I am that confident in it.

With their slide in marketshare, I would guess now is the best time to pick up some Ask stock just in case.

Also, their "shock campaign" advertising seems to be backfiring a bit these days.

And I am puzzled as to why you are so supportive of a company (Google) that has a near monopoly and has not created a user-benefiting interface upgrade like Ask just has in 5+ years of this near monopoly.

So supportive? I support the hand(s) that feed myself, my family and my clients. That just happens to be Google, Yahoo and MSN. Oh, a few Ask referrers here and there.

And itís not like Google doesnít have itís fair share of indexing problems. www vs. non www took Google years to sort out!

Growing pains. At least the problems got sorted.

Do you work for Google perchance?

Nah, although sometimes it feels like it.

Do you work for Ask?

Apparently the algorithm is feeling nostalgic.

That is absolutely hilarious! :)

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364646
 7:30 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think you are fundamentally wrong and are guilty of two common traits of people involved in this industry:

1. Your business and income depends on SEO, and for you that means Google link SEO. You are thus fundamentally pro-Google whatever may be.

e.g.

Nah, although sometimes it feels like it.

2. You see search through the eyes of a technician and not a user.

e.g.

Google doesn't need to change its home page with the exception of getting rid of a few html errors. :)

Users are regular people who couldn't give a damn about algorithms or html errors :)!

They'll see the dynamic search suggestions, the skins, and the flashy videos and pictures in the search results and be impressed. The fact is that for most searches the differences between Ask and Google are minor, only now Ask has a lot of added wow factor.

Google is also guilty of this second trait IMO. Hence we are where we are now, drowning under Google's faulty backlink driven algorithm with virtually zero effort from the monopoly Google to introduce features the user might want.

Watch what happens. My money is where my mouth is. Ask is on the way up.

centime




msg:3364661
 7:45 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Its nice to see a fiece supporter of ASK.com,

I really don't think anyone here would reject a torrent of useful traffic from ask,

What we are refering to are the technical weaknesses of the Ask.com search mechanism. Folk here are professional programmers an internet busines folk, so perhapsthey know what they're talking about.

Ordinary people as you call the do care about algo's, if their searchs keep on leading to

dead pages

pages last updated in 2004

pages that redirect when they land on them

remember that with one flick of their mouse they could switch to yahoo , google, msn

ASk needs a lot more horsepower

pageoneresults




msg:3364691
 8:00 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

1. Your business and income depends on SEO, and for you that means Google link SEO. You are thus fundamentally pro-Google whatever may be.

Yes, I'll admit, that a portion of my business and income depend on Google and the other resources that send qualified visitors to my sites and those of my clients.

Google link SEO

You don't know me well enough to call me names like that. ;) I don't do link SEO.

2. You see search through the eyes of a technician and not a user.

Actually, I've seen search through the eyes of a user, I am one, on a regular basis. The only reason I see it from a technical perspective now is because I learned along the way.

I am far from being a technician, just ask my peers. ;) I am a user of search. Google just happens to be my primary tool of choice although I do "flip through the channels" every now and then to see what's going on with the others.

If Ask want the Webmaster community to support them and help increase their marketshare, then they need to address the technical issues so we can show them some love. At this stage of the game, that ain't goin' to happen. Their marketshare continues to decrease. From 2.8% in 2006 December to 1.8% in 2007 April. They've lost a large percentage of their marketshare in just four months. How come?

martinibuster




msg:3364694
 8:05 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

think you are fundamentally wrong and are guilty of two common traits of people involved in this industry:
1. Your business and income depends on SEO, and for you that means Google link SEO.

That's a bit of a stretch. Especially coming from someone who admits to having a financial interest in ASK.

In fact, between my last post and this one I bought Ask stock. I am that confident in it... My money is where my mouth is. Ask is on the way up.

It's fairly consistent in this forum that the fiercest defenders of ASK have a financial interest in it. Your financial interest in ASK makes you a vastly less reliable source of insight into ASK than the SEOs you accuse of supporting Google out of self-interest.

Frankly, your accusation against critics of ASK is shallow, highly speculative and has no foundation in facts.

All of the criticism of ASK offered here is constructive in nature. I am probably not alone in wanting ASK to become a major search engine player by becoming more popular. I and many others want ASK to succeed. However, to accomplish that ASK is going to have to clean up it's act and focus on the nuts and bolts of search, the less glamorous part that matters.

pageoneresults




msg:3364716
 8:23 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The update to it's actual algo is supposed to happen at the end of summer.

End of summer being 2007-09-22 this year.

That's roughly...

103 Days
3 Months and 11 Days
14 Weeks
2472 Hours
148,320 Minutes
8,899,200 Seconds

At the pace Google is moving, 103 days is a lifetime in search engine years. Ask, you cannot wait until the end of summer unless of course you've got something that is going to make all of our socks go AWOL. If not, we'll see a little more activity in this forum around that time. :)

Edited grammar.

[edited by: pageoneresults at 8:33 pm (utc) on June 11, 2007]

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364723
 8:29 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been using Ask for the past week and have found zero dead pages. The only problem I have found is an old page from my own site that shouldn't be listed but 301's OK to the page that should be listed. So no major problems from one week of heavier than average use. I would venture that the average user would never encounter any problems at all.

It's fairly consistent in this forum that the fiercest defenders of ASK have a financial interest in it

My financial interest in Ask is all of 5 hours old and is minor. I have invested in Ask on the back of using it for a week and the new interface. Rather than this being used against me you should see it as a demonstration of the strength of my convictions. I am not really into boosting any search engine, but I do think an awful lot about the future of search.

They've lost a large percentage of their marketshare in just four months. How come?

This is completely irrelevant since I am talking about the new interface launched last week. Watch the next four months and see what happens.

In the end Iím not looking for a fight and I appreciate that this is primarily a technical forum. Iím just explaining how I see it and perhaps bringing a slightly different perspective to the debate. Apologies if I offended anyone!

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364730
 8:36 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Ask want the Webmaster community to support them and help increase their marketshare, then they need to address the technical issues so we can show them some love.

If enough users start using Ask then you guys will be loving them big time! Screw technical issues. Do you not remember the chronic mess that was Google dealing with www non-www issues? Well I do! There was no let up in Google love during that.. Users are what we are all after here!

pageoneresults




msg:3364753
 8:49 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

My financial interest in Ask is all of 5 hours old and is minor. I have invested in Ask on the back of using it for a week and the new interface.

You made me go check out the stocks. Based on a 6 and 12 month summary, I'm going to wait a little while longer. They took a major hit in 2007 May and haven't really been able to recover. If I see that trend changing over the next week or two, I'm going to get a few shares myself.

Ask.com is "just another search engine" at this phase. The cosmetic change is nice, the features are great, but I think they missed the mark.

While the Gorg continues to grow exponentially, the others like Ask, MSN and Yahoo! are left with the scraps, the pieces that Google missed the first couple of times around. If you look at the trends over the past few years, the distance between 1st and 2nd is so great at this point, it would take an act of a higher power to upset that number one position.

So Ask is left to battle for 4th and 5th. Its going to be a slow process. I'm all for supporting the underdog. Ask need to fix what's under the hood first, and quickly. They can't wait 103 days!

At Google's current rate of acquisitions, they will have acquired 6.355 more companies in that 103 days. They will also have improved their algorithm. Where's that leave the others?

thecityofgold2005




msg:3364760
 8:59 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yahoo and MSN are pale imitators of Google in search and I don't see that changing. Yahoo, run by a Hollywood mogul who is not capable of innovating and Microsoft, who haven't been innovators since MS-DOS.

What search needed was a fresh direction, and that's what I see in Ask. I genuinely like the interface and I think users will like it. In addition it looks like Ask are going to advertise heavily, so hopefully they'll be able to get people to try them out.

So it's worth a punt despite me having grave reservations about the stock market right now.

centime




msg:3364808
 9:56 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Man, a pretty interface is nothing

as soon as people realise that they're still getting the same old results, they'll be gon in a flash,

If this where purely a beauty contest, I think Yahoo would be the fairest in the land, msn second, an google the get the wooden spoon,

however, it isn't is it?

Instead, plain google dominates the landscape

cabowabo




msg:3365017
 4:06 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ah-ha, I'm going to solve this issue right now...

User-agent: Teoma
Disallow: /

PageOneResults gets my vote for "hero of the day" ... let's all solve Ask's repeated non-function in the market, and blantantly the same speech each time at PubCon and block their bot.

I have over 500 domains as an affiliate and the measureable referral traffic from Ask is below a half percent.

I am going to deny their bot ... great idea. Why allow their bot to use my resources yet serve no "love" back.

Maybe if there are enough "denials" they will catch a clue and clean things up.

And just to confirm, I have been in conversations at PubCon with their engineers about getting things cleaned up ... six months later, they are making excuses why they weren't fixed.

Let's all move on.

Cabo

potentialgeek




msg:3365095
 6:34 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Man, a pretty interface is nothing.

Indeed. Nothing pretty about Google.com, for example.

I don't like Ask.com's advertising. The whole thing has a not-very-subtle message that the advantage of using ask.com is to find porn. Its TV ad uses the search phrase "chicks with swords" and their slogan is "instant getification." Obviously chicks with swords is not porn (that I know of), but it's about women (who are scantily clad on the TV ad) and "getification" is an obvious play on "gratification."

Sex sells--to rednecks. No idea how women would like the ad campaign. Is ask.com only targetting male rednecks? Seems a bit narrow. Let's hope the SE is better than the advertising.

p/g

Robert Charlton




msg:3365113
 7:06 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Apparently the algorithm is feeling nostalgic.

LOL!

I had a thought about the Algorithm (thanks pageoneresults) and the index in relation to this problem....

Because the Ask algorithm (or the Teoma algo, anyway) looks at links within "subject specific" web communities, it may be that following 301s while maintaining topical "ExpertRank," as they call it, is a challenge for the engine architecturally.

I don't have the background to know how topicality would affect how Ask's database might need to handle indexing redirection, but it's clear that 301s don't necessarily respect topicality... and it occurs that for a topical engine with limited technical resources, keeping both updated in an ever changing index might be difficult.

I don't mean this question to cause anyone to reconsider his stock portfolio. Just curious about what's going on with the algo and the index.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3365143
 8:05 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't mean this question to cause anyone to reconsider his stock portfolio.

Nothing that I've read this morning comes close to making me do that. I still think that as a group you fundamentally misunderstand users!

jpack




msg:3365377
 2:11 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I still think that as a group you fundamentally misunderstand users!

I agree with centime that what we're talking about here is the technical details of the search index. We're talking about it in the context of our own sites being indexed, but ultimately if enough webmasters' sites aren't indexed properly surely that has a big impact on the end user experience.

Our site had hundreds of thousands of pages indexed and now all those pages are gone. One of our primary competitors only has about 100k pages indexed compared to 1 million+ on other engines. So overall if you take a look at our particular segment that amount of missing real estate has to have a negative impact on the end-user experience I would say, and it sounds like this is affecting other segments as well.

IMHO the point here is not to pointless bash Ask or Google or anyone else (though some commiseration is inevitable if our problems are not getting resolved) but to try (as martinibuster said) to be constructive.

elguiri




msg:3366239
 11:18 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is there an AskGuy?

If there isn't, it's about time there were. They need to more interacting with the geeks.

Brett, get on the phone!

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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