Hola - following web.de this is the second customer in a few weeks Fast is losing to Google.
Second time also after the Wisenut deal that the Lycos connection does not prevent Fast from getting kicked out.
Sympatico now uses Google for regular websearch, topped by PPC listings (Kanoodle) and complemented by DirectHit results, right?
You folks notice things pretty quickly! I believe you are correct. Both web.de and sympatico.ca have decided to leave Fast and switch to Google search.
According to my logs they made the switch last Thuesday, 24 Jan 2002. Google is now all over the place in french Canada with partnerships with Yahoo and La Toile du Québec.
I will no longer have to wait for Fast to update the index... :)
I think someone at Google better have a closer look at how the sponsored listings appear on Sympatico.
sample search [search.sli.sympatico.ca]
The premium sponsored links have the same on-page URL listing but the second one goes to a different site than the one listed.
Same goes for the adwords too.
It is kind of nice though that the advertising is labeled as such.
We win some, and lose some. I'm a seriously hurting unit on this one. I went from 750 referrals a day (7 sites) with Fast on Sympatico down to a trickle with Google turned on. (thank goodness for DirectHit still being there)
Does anyone see the "whoa" factor here? Hit the Sympatico homepage [sympatico.ca] and look at the logo! oops.
So, is Google going to show up on Lycos too?
This is GREAT!
With Fast we are no-where to be found, but with google its wonderful! More power to Google, I wish MSN and AOL go with Google...
What does the regular lycos showing? The listings look pretty good, but not as good as current google...
>More power to Google
Not that Google isn't a fantastic searchengine, but what is the benefit in having one engine taking over the market?
Apart from all the usual reasons against monocultures - is it really good to have virtually all eggs in one basket? Yes it is a worn out analogy, but if you ever expreience problems with Google, you know what it means.
>Google going to show up on Lycos too
We have to realize the connection between Lycos and Fast is not as close as it appeared to be. Lycos Asia teaming up with Wisenut was a first reminder.
The structure of the worldwide Lycos network is more diverse than we may have thought.
I am a strong proponent of Google and this move stands to bring me a great deal more Canadian business ... but I agree with Heini. It seems that the final horse race may come down to a head to head between Google and Overture. They seem to be the only movers and shakers left out there these days.
I'm sorry that Fast hasn't managed to get into the race ... let alone hold onto its market share. Personally, I don't think this bodes well for anyone in the long run.
Competition is a good thing. Its not much of a race when there are so few real competitors left. Don't know what to think really. I like it - but .......
I dont want to disagree with heini on the danger of having all our eggs in a
single basket. It may be old analogy but still true.
But here is the bottom line for me and my clients : Fast has not updated any of my new sites since 4 months and Google is still a FREE basket.
I agree totally that the eggs in basket situation is a worry. It certainly is. But to some degree FAST has brought this on itself.
Can anyone say that the FAST service is as good now as it was 6 months ago? They were spidering and re-indexing every couple of weeks or so then.
And their returns. The adoption of ODP is positive... but the other developments? I expected the quality of SERPS to improve over time, but they have gone backwards in my opinion (and others).
The other negaitive of course is the "Start Here" con trick. It's a PPC advert... but sadly it doesn't say so. Deception! I didn't think FAST would have stooped that low, but they have.
It's sad for a number of reasons, but FAST can't say it's just down to bad luck.
On the bright side of the coin, if FAST had to lose out to a major player, it's a hell of a lot better that it was to Google than any of the others!
>FAST can't say it's just down to bad luck
Clearly luck is not a concept involved here. This is about business. Admittedly I have no idea what has caused Sympatico to switch to Google.
It's worth noting however Sympatico is only 21% Lycos owned and 79% Bell Globe Media. The latter is one of the big media companies in Canada, with TV channels and newspapers in their bag.
Globeandmail.com [globeandmail.com], online edition of a leading canadian newspaper has been using Google for websearch for quite a while.
I doubt this decision is based on reasons concerning the quality of either Google or Fast.
One possible reason - and this is pure speculation - would be Google has underbid Fast.
Fast's CEO Lervik stated a little while back Fast's partners pay ~2$/1000 answered queries.
What if Google is cheaper? Think adword syndication- wouldn't it make sense to be on as many portals and platforms as possible?
>I didn't think FAST would have stooped that low, but they have.
I was not exactly happy to see those Kanoodle listings appear. I still think it's a strategic mistake.
When you say however it's deception I can't follow. Those listings are clearly different from the regular listings, they don't have any descriptions, they are of a different color, they are not integrated with the regular SERPs
Fast has stated repeatedly Alltheweb.com is their showcase. The ads, provided by lycos and the occasional Kanoodle PPC listings are just to cover the costs.
Unlike Google Alltheweb.com is not concerned with image problems here.
Fast does not even think about promoting Alltheweb as a public search destination in competition to Google. It's a showcase to demonstrate their technology and experiment with new features.
Fast is one of the best all purpose search engines worldwide. In some aspects they are behind Google. In some fields Fast is leading.
>> When you say however it's deception I can't follow. Those listings are clearly different from the regular listings, they don't have any descriptions, they are of a different color, they are not integrated with the regular SERPs <<
The point is that they are paid for... they are therefore adverts.
Are they marked as such? No
Are they even marked as "sponsored"? No
They are marked as though some topic knowledge has been employed to select them... "Start Here"
That's deception. That's dishonest. That's crooked.
Of course, if they were marked properly, it would not be deception.... but it would still be a terrible business decision for FAST to stick them where they have - right at the top of the page, ahead of their own proper SERPS.
>if they were marked properly, it would not be deception.
featured listing...sponsored listing...recommended link...start here...
while I can relate to strong feelings about PPC listings I think there are better targets than Alltheweb.
>terrible business decision for FAST to stick them where they have - right at the top of the page, ahead of their own proper SERPS
Again, Alltheweb is a showcase. PPC listings above the SERPs go demonstrate how Fast's OEM partners can make a dollar.
Do you mind if I slip something about Sympatico here? :)
They use to display Lycos SERPS wich on top of beeing unclustered where quite different than Fast's SERPs.
As a casual Joe, it was a pain to find 267 pages from the same domain for a given query.
I think Lycos should work on the SERPS so Sympatico can use it again.
Lycos sites worldwide use different schemes for returning SERPs. Look at Lycos.com, this example search [search.lycos.com] and compare with Alltheweb [alltheweb.com]:
Only one listing from the Lycos network coming first. Apart from that pure Alltheweb.
Sympatico could have done the same.
Believe me it was the worst thing one could imagine! :)
On the french side, they had tough competition in classic media placement.
I don't know much about the English Sympatico but they used a lot of advertised placement as default. I think users where running away. Besides I think they will share ad revenues with Google. (not shure at all about this)
>they will share ad revenues with Google.
That's what I keep asking myself. Fast offers their partners shared revenues from PFI products.
Without any doubt a share in Google's adwords would be the better incentive.
>> while I can relate to strong feelings about PPC listings I think there are better targets than Alltheweb. <<
I just call the truth... if they deceive they are dishonest, simple as that. And "Start Here" is actually more deceptive than "sponsored listing", because there is less implication that money has changed hands.
> Can anyone say that the FAST service is
> as good now as it was 6 months ago?
It's never been better. The results are more accurate, and the serps are still very clean. The advanced search page is the best in the business. They have some functions and features that no other search engine does. Their results aren't the same old tire Fortune 500 crowd and a fairly spam free (just enough spam for varieties sake). I really like the way fast has progressed and use it atleast once a day.
>> It's never been better. <<
In the sector I work in the top pages are generally garbage... the real content sites are on pages 2+
I'm curious why you prefer FAST's advanced search page, Brett? I didn't see many differences between Google's and FAST's?
I agree in function they are about the same - but in usage, Fasts is easier and intuitive to use.
The Word Filters section is powerful and self explanatory. If you need more filters you just press the plus key.
Googles is cluttered, confusing, and limited. Googles I always have to stop and figure out what an option is going to do. Such as, if I do a 'page specific' search for links, are those options included in the lang/word filters above, or is that a separate form? Obviously it is a separate search and your settings from the top are not going to apply That is confusing. I doubt 20% of the people that use the page realize that it's a separate form and why it doesn't work for them.
The top part of the form is cluttered with the various form elements randomly thrown in the text. I can't tell where one line stops and the next line starts. Is it columns or rows? Is it "Language File Format" or is it "Language Return Pages"? You really have to study it for a minute to understand what it is trying to say. The links to the catalog search are nice - why not have a drop down on the page itself to search only those entities?
Fasts, you know what it does just from looking. Logical orientation line by line with the layout just as you would speak it to complete a sentence. That's a beatiful job at design. The advanced search page is where I start on Fast, but I rarely use Googles. Fasts, looks like the se was built around that page, Googles looks like an after thought.
Alta's is more of a multiline search box than an advanced search page. However, the "sort by" option is intriquing. Ever mess around with that?
Hotbot - dayglow green? Hello back button.
Lycos - imitation of fasts. Nothing new hear.
Wisenuts - interesting in it's simplicity for user education sake.
AskJeeves - not into it. Seems to me you either like it or don't (later).
Excite - oh well.
Teoma - ???
I better not be gettin charged for the searches on that engine yet for the AdWords. Their sponsored links are all messed up.
Fast is no-way near the standard it was. The results are less relevent and the whole thing itself is evolving into another AltaVista. That is the reason it is being dropped. I remember when Fast updated twice weekly sometimes. Now, maybe once every three months?
Indeed. A lot of it is not something you can put your finger on... but the decrease in quality in returns in my area is noticeable.
The lack of update is obviously more quantifiable, and is of concern. Your parallel with AV fair, as they also exhibited these symptoms when they started to fall. Of course the other shared symptom is the deceptive advertising.
Without maintaining the quality of their core offering, I fear that there is little hope for FAST in the long term. I genuinely hope that they get their eye back on the ball quickly.
Can I remind that Sympatico used some very messy Lycos material and not Fast results? Long after Fast started to cluster results, Sympatico still offered 200 pages from the same site (all mine :) ) before you could get at anything else.
Then Sympatico started then to offer irrelevant sponserised or manipulated links as default. You had to click on some tab to go back to Lycos stuff. User satisfaction went south. Local competitors took the opportunity to increased market share. My dear friends at Sympatico finally woke up in front of some stats sheet and decided to shop around.
Sympatico did not drop Fast, but Lycos.
>That is the reason it is being dropped.
Do you have any info whatsoever about this? Speculation. And very unlikely too.
>I remember when Fast updated twice weekly sometimes. Now, maybe once every three months?
Not true. Several minor updates in the last months. Knut Magne Risvik [webmasterworld.com] attributed the delays on 24/11/01 to a "major technology upgrade (1 out of 3
major in the next two months)".
>Fast is no-way near the standard it was
Wrong. Without going into the debate of Google vs Fast: Fast is one of the fastest engines, with one of the largest indexes, with a world leading news indexing, world class multimedia search, world leading ftp search. Search intelligence, automated grouping of results, best advanced search options worldwide.
that's comparing apples and oranges. AV is not a search engine any more. It's yellow pages in the making.
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