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Your worries are over - Here comes the BBC
The BBC feels that UK web users are being ill-served by their search engine

 10:05 pm on Mar 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

BBCi’s head of new applications Tom Loosemore, says this initiative is part of the corporation’s remit to provide the best possible online service to UK users. He maintains that search facilities have been polluted by paid-for-performance operators such as.......the BBC is going to move beyond its current role as a news and programming resource to become the UK’s gateway to the web.

Revolution [uk.revolutionmagazine.com]

Heads up, get ready there may be a new game in town.



 9:10 pm on Mar 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Cor blimey guv! A public service search engine, free of adverts and free from big business buying up prime placement at the expence of relevency... and people are complaining?

Diversity is strength. In my view we badly need something to counterbalance the push to overt commercialism, not just in the interests of SEO, but for the good of the net.

It's a bold move, but it a sound one. There are not too many organizations that could make this work, but the BBC have a much better chance than most. If they succeed they'll be doing everyone a favour.


 11:35 pm on Mar 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe this is a first step toward a compulsory BBC Internet license fee? (109 pounds a year for computers with color monitors, less for monochrome?)

brotherhood of LAN

 11:53 pm on Mar 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

The arrival of a new SE aside, their WILL be many quarters who disagree with the fact that people paying a TV license, with internet access or not will have to pay for the service

If BBC charged for listings etc, they'd be getting slated by taking advantage of the mandatory funding they receive!!

BBC are in a tight corner when it comes to developing their net presence, but I think they are quality.

But for the SE to be top drawer, its going to cost and require a mass of resources, something the BBC dont have


 12:55 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - I like your site.


 1:18 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just have to make one point, and then I’ll stop because I don’t want to ruin the topic or tone of this thread: Whether you want to admit it or not, we are as guilty of “commercializing” search engines as much as anyone. We make money from search engine placement, and then talk about the evils of commercialism? We commercialized them long before they went commercial. Now I hear “I’m glad a non-commercial search engine is coming out, how can a make a profit from them” all in the same breath. Making someone who doesn’t use the Internet pay is acceptable, but making a seo/webmaster pay is outrageous? Sure, deep down part of me would rather everyone in my country pay one dollar a month and have that cover all my site placement expenses just like the good old days, rather than covering it myself. It’s because part of me is greedy.

For those here who have a true hobby/interest site, with know intension on making money, simply visitors, hats off to you.


 10:17 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm pleased that it's the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBCi, bbc.co.uk) and not BBC Worldwide (beeb Ventures Ltd, beeb.com).

The BBC have a duty for service and impartiality, while beeb.com, well, doesn't seem to.



 10:45 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

'Maybe this is a first step toward a compulsory BBC Internet license fee? (109 pounds a year for computers with color monitors, less for monochrome?)'

Now there's an idea! This would be interesting because I think that given the choice, 99% of license payers would not pay it. I wouldn't and I (obviously) work with the Internet!
(and happen to be very poor at the moment due to just paying my 'TV' license to them :()


 11:27 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

What about people without TVs but with TV cards in their computer?


 2:09 pm on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

backus, if you have a TV licence for your main address then I'd expect you to be able to use a TV card in a notebook PC elsewhere, as long as its powered by its own internal batteries.

If you sell a TV card (or a PC with a TV card in it) then you have to notify Big Brother within 28 days or you can get in (expensive) trouble.



 2:08 am on Mar 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I actually believe that the BBC want to get involved in search to establish themselves as an influencer in the interactive TV marketplace.
Broadband will drive the take up of interactive television, more webTV will mean couch potatos going online and surfing from a horizontal position and the BBC don't want to play 2nd fiddle here.

They have taken a pasting over losing so much of their sports coverage to the higher bidder, this is a fairly inexpensive way to capture market share in advance of when it is needed. Certainly if you look at Google's job section they are recruiting right across Europe, so there is some good synergy there.

People have mentioned the TV license here but the BBC generates revenue by syndicating a lot of it's first class news coverage to a global audience. If you look at any Neilsen/MMXI listings for the UK the BBC is always in the top 10 sites, they have a huge archive of information so having a search facility makes a lot of sense.

Well done auntie. Just please make sure that you don't introduce Terry Wogan or Carol Smilie as an Ask Jeeves stunt double.


 1:26 pm on Mar 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, www.askterry.co.uk. :-)


 3:53 pm on Mar 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

BBC always come accross as providing "Quality Entertainment" and that the money is used to promote this ethos but the pessemist in me says they want to cash in on future biz.

PS. Does anyone know anyone that has actually been caught and fined for not having a TV license?


 4:15 pm on Mar 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Don't know about fined - I know about three who were caught and given a warning (shared house with 5 bedsits two TV licences and TV in each bedsit.)

All the best


 3:34 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Every year, around 200,000 people are prosecuted for non-payment of the television licence fee. The majority of those prosecuted are women. In 1996, 188,118 people were prosecuted. 63%, some 118,422, were women. Many more are faced with the prospect of prosecution following a visit from a TV licence enquiry officer.

There are more details here

The BBC gets over £2.5 billion a year from TV license tax and is using this financial clout to corner as much of the media market as possible. The BBCi search is merely a bowdlerized version of Google. Why should they spend tax payers' money stamping their standards and prejudices on Google's perfectly good and free service.

I think it's also a bit sick that so much of BBC's airtime is now spent on advertising BBC products. If they can advertise BBCi then why don't they also carry commercials for Yahoo, AltaVista and Google?


 2:10 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

BBC will I'm sure financially gain from all of this. I contacted a bbc site recently to ask if we could have a link. They informed us that they already have the required amount. I asked them how they gain from the links and they told me that they run a kind of affiliation scheme if the surfer goes through and signs up for one of their partners products they get a percentage. I think this is a shrewd move to get more consumers onto their site rather than pure information seekers. The last bastion of advertising free information may be selling out!!


 2:13 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

What I find amusing are the TV and radio ad's which say '..using all the BBC's knowledge and expertise to provide search results'...

Isn't there some mistake here!!!!

Hope Google doesn't mind!


 2:27 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

All the BBC's knowledge and expertise agrees that they can't do better than Google :)


 2:42 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>>PS. Does anyone know anyone that has actually been caught and fined for not having a TV license?

well i have had the tv licence inspector come around about 4 years ago ... but i don't have a tv so i didn't care.

out of curiosity i asked him about the procedure and if he was being truthful i'm amazed that anyone gets taken to court ... first two visits before they then get a court order in order to gain entry and search the property on the third visit, if you have a tv they then might not prosecute if you get a licence straight away.

of course if you let them in on the first visit (without a court order) you are a mug if you have got a tv.


 3:31 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

if you ever get visited by the license inspectors do NOT let them into your property. they have no legal right to enter your premises. they are like the inland revenue they try to bully you into submission. i own a license but have never been visited by them, i look forward to the day that they do visit.


 5:34 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey guys, let's not get into licence fees and let's stay on topic.

It'll be interesting to see how much traffic the BBC's offering delivers - keep an eye on your logs.


 8:21 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a steady flow of traffic from the BBC.


 2:04 pm on May 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't see the BBCi being any better than anything already out there. Their inspector turned up at my house late one night acussing us of not having a license. Should have seen his face when I returned to the door with said license!


 2:29 pm on May 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

On different notes:
1. Dont let em in! That is ok until you live in shared halls of residence and some BONE HEAD lets them in, only to bust loads of us. We all had a 24 hour period in which to comply. Some didnt and when Mr TV man came back they got fined.

2. The BBC is heavily advertising this. Lets face it they have the means. They have quite an influence where these things are concerned :-) and after all they are one of the most trusted information resources in the world. Why else would the BBC site slow down when day breaks on the other side of the pond. You guessed it, the Yanks having a look to see what has been going on in the world.

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