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Need to get rid of hyphens!
About time

 2:11 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

As many of you may know, looksmart likes to insert hyphens between keywords. For example if your main keyword was blue widgets, your description may end up something like: Site offers an assortment of blue-widgets. This makes no difference in the results on looksmart searches, but makes all the difference in the world on the results of msn searches.

Anyway, I am the bearer of such hyphens. My main keyword phrase is 2 words long and goes with a bunch of extra words to make all my secondary keyword phrases which are 3 words long. So I went and used the express modify system and submitted 3 keyword phrases with my non-hypenated main keyword inside, for example:

collectible blue widgets
blue widget boxes
childrens blue widgets

Well, collectible and boxes got added into my description, but blue widgets is still hyphenated. I can send them 1 follow up email it appears, just like yahoo, but I need to give them some good argument why blue widgets should not be hyphenated. It is by no means a compound word and really would seem to be a grammatical mistake, but the meaning is still honestly quite clear to anyone at looksmart. Has anyone been successful at cleaning off hyphens before? How did you do it?



 2:17 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi ggrot,

I do not like to bear bad news but....


Seems you have to cough them more money.... :(


 2:19 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Macguru, that is exactly what I just did. I used the express modify program after the site had already been listed. I coughed up another $180, but I am still hyphenated.


 2:37 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Ouch! It is worst than I though then. Wish I could help. Thanks for the heads up.

I start to believe that I will be more selective about recommending LS to clients in the future.


 2:40 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

The problem is that in many fields, its the only way to be competitive on msn.


 2:48 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Is 'blue widgets' a phrase that could be hyphenated? Or is it just put in there for kicks?


 3:34 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

The actual phrase is something like 'baseball cap'(not actually this). The words go well together and still look fine hypenated. The individual words also have completely different meanings when looked at by themselves and not in the phrase(this could be a strike against me). Another note - there are a few sites in the looksmart database where the exact same phrase is not hyphenated, but most sites do have the hyphen in the description.


 7:48 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>this could be a strike against me

Um, yes. A permanently fatal one.

If the phrase looks right with hyphens, it needs them. In standard English, hyphens are hardly ever optional.;)


 8:42 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

In some cases it might be totally inproper grammar to use the hyphens. There is no such word as baseball-cap in the English language, so using the hyphen is using a coined word that is not part of the English language. They're taking a lot of license making up non-existent words, and I can't see how they can possibly justify it. If a site is in a given language, they should, editorially speaking, stay with conventional rules of grammar unless it's a site owners particular choice of site name - like kidz. Could they change the word kids to kidz at their discretion otherwise?

IMHO, they are stepping further and further into a pile of garbage with the liberties they're taking. I am wondering if it's possible to make a demand for a refund if they have use a word that is NOT actually part of the language the site is in. They're treading on thin ice imho.

ggrot, are there a lot of high-rollers getting the top spots in the category with multiple listings? Is it noticeable in any way which competing sites for which they have they or have not fractured the same phrase?

Is that high-rollers or high rollers?


 2:14 am on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

While a hyphen is superfluous (and incorrect) in the noun phrase "baseball cap," a hyphen is, in fact, manditory when "baseball-cap" is used attributively, e.g. "baseball-cap vendor." If this was the case, Looksmart did not err. Otherwise, you certainly have grounds for complaint.


 6:06 am on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

ashkenaz, the phrase 'baseball-cap' is being used as an adverb in the description. For example, 'baseball-cap tossing'(even though that makes little sense). Would that be proper english, or does your argument apply only to adjectives?

Marcia, I can only do a reasonable search through msn, since searching on 'baseball cap' sites in looksmart also returns hyphenated descriptions. The majority of the sites are big names in that area. They would be what I would expect to see on the top of google for those terms. They are the brand names that everyone recognizes or the sites with high linkage (the high PR sites I see comign up on google). And no, these are not inktomi results.

Hutcheson, the phrase looks fine with hyphens, but honestly - so does every other two word phrase. soda-can, digital-camera, audio-cd, leather-wallet. Those phrases look fine to me either way, really. If the words are often used together, they look *OK* hyphenated. That doesn't mean it's entirely gramatically correct.

On another note, I looked up the hyphenated word over at dictionary.com, and apparently they have a listing for it(as an adjective). I've *never* actually seen the words hyphenated in real usage though. Well, at least not until looksmart decided to do so.

Finally, I plan to submit an email appeal in a couple of days - which is why I'm looking for ideas from this great community. I'll let you know how it goes as I'm sure a number of you would consider an express modify if it was worth having.


 6:19 am on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Forgive me as I am not a frequent poster to this thread, but from what I've been reading, it seems the bottom line with all these directories, et. al. is finding ways to get more money from you. Seems like they're taking lessons from the Yellow Pages. You know, that low-tech paper thing you can read in the bath tub. :) Just my opinion.


 7:08 am on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

I just looked for baseball caps at msn search. Out of the first 45 of 133 results returned, not one had the phrase baseball caps in the title. The majority did not have the two word phrase in the description, and among the ones that did, not one had it hyphenated. Not one!

Only 3 out of the 15 on the first page had the phrase in the description, not hyphenated, of course.


 3:30 pm on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Ggrot, I know this is a basic question, but I have to ask it:

Have you tried emailing them and making your case? I've had great results when doing this, even after they instituted their ransom-demanding


 5:25 pm on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

I intend to do that monday. I just wanted to make the right arguments and was curious if anyone here might have insight into what those arguments are.


 6:23 pm on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

>...was curious if anyone here might have insight into what those arguments are.

The best argument would be citing English grammar rules. If you get no satisfaction, I would suggest escalating it until you get the the CEO, if necessary.

Yes, I'm serious.


 8:47 pm on Oct 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

How did you make out ggrot? Did you have any luck?


 9:49 pm on Oct 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

I did. It worked with one simple response and a lengthy explanation. I went in and removed a very small section of my site as well, so that their description was incorrect by all definitions, just to make sure that the request made it through any human filters they may have in place. I don't know if that helped or not, but it worked - and I'm now enjoying some nice MSN listings.

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