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2002 Webmaster Year In Review
What were the most important internet events of 2002?

 6:42 am on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

2002 is almost over and we can look back on it noting many important events which have changed our jobs as webmasters and SEO professionals.

In your opinion and/or personal experience, what were the most significant events of 2002?

To start things off, the last 4 months have been the most trying for me. My pick for the most important events for 2002 include:

1. The "infamous" September Google Algo change. - It threw my sites for a loop - but I am slowly working my way back to the top for even better positioning.

2. Yahoo begins to use Google as default results.

3. Google launches Froogle - although it doesn't affect me personally, I see this as a significant event for most other webmasters.

4. Yahoo buys Inktomi - It could be months before this event affects webmasters but is an indicator that something "big" is going to happen that will change the game.

5. LookSmart renegs on its submission deal with webmasters and goes PPC. Then it makes a feeble appeasement effort to win back public support.

6. AOL adopts Google results.

I know I haven't thought of all of them and even if you share the same opinion of the ones I have listed above, I am curious of the verification and insight into other events, big or small, which have had an impact on you.




 3:21 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

1) Googles unprecedented rise to the nets default search engine.

Only Ebay, Yahoo, and Amazon could make a case that resembles what Google has done this year. By some statistics, Google now handles 80-85% of all searches done on the internet daily. Staggering in it's implications to control and drive the nets future. Only Microsoft and AOL are in such a position to so dramatically influence the net. I think 2003 will be remembered as a 4 way struggle for market share between Yahoo, AOL, MS, and Google. Everyone else is relegated to the also ran bin.

2) Yahoo buys Inktomi.

In one deal, Yahoo has changed the shape and future of search on the net. Long term ramifications are unknown, but it sounds like the last call bell has been rung at the Yahoo/Google Stanford flower power party. (make sure to get your lava lamps, bean bags, bell bottoms, and tye dye's before they are gone - next stop is best defined as suburbia corporate steril. Do you want the mauve or beige cubie?).

3) AOL goes Google.

I think this deal is bigger than AOL buying Netscape. It got AOL in with Google and forced a nice bit of stale air in between Google and MS.

4) Patent Challenge: Overture vs Google.

The outcome could rewrite the landscape of the web top to bottom and mean fundamental changes in the webs business model.

5) Google News and Froogle.

Google goes portal.


 3:53 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

For me the Flash search API and the Fast engine being able to index all Flash sites was a biggy for graphic designers.

looksmart change, yahoo buying ink, and Google taking over would also top my list.


 6:35 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

It really shows the floating of the free market, quality rises to the top, and pardon my language (the sh*t sticks to the bottom of our boots.)

Anyways Google, time and time again has shown that they have something special..

And they stick to their goal of integrity and just doing the right thing.

Who else does that?


 6:35 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

PageRank™ for Sale

Definitely a brazen move and one that shook the industry for a few days.

<added>Needed to follow proper etiquette and added the ™ symbol for safety reasons!</added>

[edited by: pageoneresults at 6:40 pm (utc) on Dec. 31, 2002]


 6:37 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

In general what Zapatista and Brett said.

Specifically for the European webpublisher:

- Euro Zone. Has yet to get into full swing for the e-commerce scene, but will undoubtedly have long lasting repercussions.

- European e-commerce legislation
While parts of it are rather annoying to the webmaster, in general this is a very very positive signal for leveling the playing field for European web business and for building trust among consumers

- full adventure of PPC, with Espotting taking the lead, OV and Google following closely.

- streamlining of the European search engine landscape
There is Google now, and then Google. Then there's Fast, then some Ink, some AV. With very very few exceptions local engines have died down, or shrivelled to dwarfish dimensions.
The only positive signals in this regard have been coming out of France, with Exalead at AOL being the most successfull newcomer.

to add: the beginnings of geo-targeting, something wich especially for the Euro webmasters will have huge implications

[edited by: heini at 12:34 am (utc) on Jan. 1, 2003]


 6:42 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Also the .US domain going on the open market.


 7:22 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

On Google becoming the domininate search engine, I just want to say I predicted it a long time ago [webmasterworld.com]! People gravitate to quality eventually. What Google has to remember is that if they screw up, they can be out in the cold as Fast as AltaVista!

One other top story: Webmaster World becomes the dominate place on the web for webmaster info, with traffic increasing by a huge amount.


 7:31 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think an important 2002 event is that this web-site is now talked about on many news fronts. (We welcome our posts to be quoted as such).

Inktomi and Google now openly discuss events with web-masters on this site "WebmasterWorld.Com", to benefit all those involved and produce a better Internet and a better communication platform.

I suspect this will continue and all of our postings and discussions will make any web surfer more happy and more secure handling businesses online.

As we have seen from the OPA report, surfers are spending more and trusting the "Net" more. I feel open communications from the likes of posters "GoogleGuy" and "Inktomi" are the start to a trusting experience online and an open and honest platform for users around the globe.

Happy New Year to all!


 8:15 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

1) AOL goes Google
----(took care of a problem, too [webmasterworld.com])

2) Yahoo buys Inktomi

3) ASK slowly, steadily, solidly rises to be #3 referrer for many without resorting to marketing smoke & mirrors.
---- keep watching this one!


 8:47 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree with the observations so far.

I'd add that growth in online sales took the most noticeable jump. Internet sales are "really" on the up.


 11:43 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

rcjordan brought up a good point about Ask Jeeves slowly rising to the top I hadn't considered. In addition (this may not qualify in the top stories) it might be worth noting as an honorable mention the rise in meta search engines.

In a few hours we need another thread on the Internet Predictions for 2003 or Webmaster Predictions for 2003.


 11:46 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's another one to add:

Overture strengthens its grip on PPC arena:

Long-term renewal deals with MSN and Yahoo, autobidding which jacks up effective cpc rates, and international expansion make Overture a formidable player in the SE space.


 12:58 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Xoc >> One other top story: Webmaster World becomes the dominate place on the web for webmaster info, with traffic increasing by a huge amount.

I'll second a vote on that, Xoc. Seriously! Brett and all his associates have done a remarkable job of providing an industry shaping communication medium that even the most powerful search engines on earth belly up to.


 1:14 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not so much a single event - but an important trend that spells future health.

2002 was the year that valid HTML and CSS began to make noticable inroads with major sites. Without honoring standards there's a limit to where the web can go. But with widely adopted standards, we probably can't even fantasize what the future may hold online.

So, thanks to Wired.com and other trailblazers, we're leaving the wild frontier days of the www behind and heading for civilization.


 4:34 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mmm. Mad props to WebmasterWorld, of course. I'm biased, but I find it hard to believe that AdWords and the Google Search Appliance both launched this year. Seems like they've been out longer than just a few months.

The amount of change and churn and progress in this industry is pretty amazing. I can't wait for 2003.

Mark Candiotti

 7:48 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the two pillars of the industry checked-out (temporarily?) on October 9th. I think that's pretty significant as events go. Seems now that they were simply beginning a series of changes that may see them end up with a revitalized search function, even if it's an Inktomi/Google/(enter name here) hybrid. Without further ado, my choices are:

1.) Yahoo dropping their directory for Google results.
2.) Yahoo dropping their directory for Google results.
3.) Yahoo dropping their directory for Google results.

To me, this was easily tops. The Looksmart debacle could be fourth, with AOL going Google sliding into fifth.


jeremy goodrich

 7:55 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

1) the looksmart debacle - didn't they learn from altavista?

2) Yahoo switching to google - they are just that good (google I mean)

3) Yahoo Buying Inktomi - wow, now you don't want the best SERP's on the planet - you just want money?...hm. okay.

4) WebmasterWorld becoming the place where not only the SEO pros come to discuss things, but the search engines finally joining in.

Thanks, GoogleGuy, Inktomi, and the various FAST reps - the participation and dialogue is very much appreciated.

And - thanks to Brett - for putting together what has to be the best forum on the net. Bar none.


 8:08 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm starting a new thread on predictions for 2003. I am really curious to see what logical predictions will be made for the new year.


PS Happy New Year to everyone, God Bless, and I wish all the best this year.


 8:41 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just not to forget:

The huge increase and improvement of Fresh crawling/listings in Google, and to a lesser extent in some other search engines (Fast/AV).

(to be correct it initiated in 2001, but became really good last year)

A Happy and eventful new year to all!


 10:37 am on Jan 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

2002 was the year Google peaked. Let's not be ambivalent about such an achievement, they came from virtualy no where and took the cream off the cake. 75% control over all searches (after Sept 2002) is about right...but, where do they go from here....down!

2002 was simply the Google year, they made me (and many others) a lot of money and I love them for it.....but once at the top there is only one direction you can go in!

If Google don't get a mention in this season's WestWing then their fait is certain.....decline all the way;)

2002 was also the year that SEO became recognized as a valid industry. Google helped by posting an SEO guidelines on their site. Whether you like or hate that page it made the industry credible;)

Predictions for 2003, Inktomi makes a come back in new clothes, and MS makes a big move in the SE market (Fast or AV) as well as several other initiatives.

AOL continues to suffer, and no one cares! Rumors that MS will buy AOL from TW are wide spread in the middle of the year....but it doesn't happen.

Yahoo attempts to re-establish the directory and fails.

The market become flattened, to a great degree by content rich important sites, that become portals by default designation rather than business strategy. Success by accident!

Most successful growth site of 2003: bbc.co.uk.

Worst performing site of 2003: aol.com

Most talked about site of 2003: google.com, albeit in decline.

Most talked about industry of 2003: SEO

The dot com's grew at unrealistic speeds, most got burnt, and 2003 will see some of them come back to life.

Everyday the Internet plays a bigger role in more people's lives.....those with a long term strategy will end up on top of the cake dividing it up:)


 1:51 pm on Jan 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Most important for me was: Losing the frames AND essential JavaScript from my site AND went CSS AND started dynamic database pages all in one swoop. (Wasn't easy for an ecommerce site considering it is entirely hand written, but has improved the usability and number of orders).

Perhaps I've read too much here :)

I've noticed ASK increasing. Not slowly. Quite quickly in fact.

Other important: Found WebMasterWorld, joined and learnt many things... see above!


 2:05 pm on Jan 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

"content rich important sites, that become portals by default designation rather than business strategy. Success by accident! "

Well put.


 3:05 pm on Jan 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Something I thought was a very interesting change spawned as a direct result of all the earth shaking SE changes was that many SEO's seemed to transform themselves into PPC managers in order to survive the year. I wonder what's in store for 2003? Has it only been a year since the death of EX-cite?


 6:29 pm on Jan 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Predictions for 2003, Inktomi makes a come back in new clothes, and MS makes a big move in the SE market (Fast or AV) as well as several other initiatives.

Microsoft has serious issues with Not Invented Here. They absolutely don't like technologies that don't use Microsoft products; the big exception that I know of was their purchase of Hotmail, which they eventually converted to use MS operating systems (from one of the BSD variants -- FreeBSD, IIRC). This means they are extremely unlikely to buy Google OR AltaVista. (Can't say anything about Fast, as I don't know what's under the hood.)

Yahoo attempts to re-establish the directory and fails.

Heh... lessee, who does Google give an automatic PageRank of 10 to? Yahoo. Who is Google's competitor? Yahoo. Who is going to look to changing their AUP to specifically exclude Google? Yahoo. Before any of you say hey, Dmoz, have you actually tried to use it lately?

The market become flattened, to a great degree by content rich important sites, that become portals by default designation rather than business strategy. Success by accident!

This will happen how? With which websites? It could happen but I think it unlikely.


 9:54 pm on Jan 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Your Google PR10 for Yahoo may be answered this way: Yahoo have money in Google. Lots of it.


 1:45 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can't believe no one mentioned this one, unless I missed somewhere, those little driveby programs you get when installing software stealing commissions from webmasters, the ones your kids install without the parents knowing, and big ones like ebates and others overwriting affiliate links.


 1:56 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

2002 was also the year that SEO became recognized as a valid industry. Google helped by posting an SEO guidelines on their site. Whether you like or hate that page it made the industry credible

percentages .. have you read that page? I'd say to the majority of potential SEO clients it would do far more to convince them that we're all a bunch of fraudsters than anything else.

To make the indusrty credible would not have been to make the general theme of the page "Watch out for all these fakers and demand a money back guarantee" but more along the lines of "SEO professionals can help your business in these ways..... but watch our for..."

It is a subtle but very important difference. Sorry for the moan, but that page grinds at me a little.

P.S. oh almost forgot to mention, most important development of 2002 for me - Google gaining ground rapidly in the UK and forging deals that will make them even stronger. (and of course joining WebmasterWorld :-)


 2:36 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm in the US, but I'm amazed no one mentioned the China incident with banning parts of the web, particularly Google. And Google managing a peaceful solution (which is more than our elected officials seem to be capable of). Googleguy in '04?


 12:17 am on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

yeah google is sooo cool. for me personally google is the 2002 hit, because they listed my beloved 'webcow' now on top. it's great they finally realized! i think that's what makes google so popular because they list everybody is looking for. ;-)

aren't we all lazy 'one-word' searchers?

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