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Atomz to add contextual advertising

...on free search results pages

     
2:58 pm on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For years, Atomz has offered small (under 500 pages) an outstanding free search function. It provided weekly automated spidering, and fairly good control over what was included in the search index and what wasn't. You could also templatize the results page to match your site perfectly. Their sole compensation for this was a small Atomz linked logo at the top of the results. (Their main business was targeted at large sites for which they provided fairly costly site search.)

I was just notified that Atomz has decided to add contextual advertising to their free search results. I can't blame them, but we've used Atomz as a really simple, fully outsourced solution on quite a few sites where unexpected ads won't be welcome.

One product they have lacked is a low-end paid solution - perhaps if they see droves of free search clients departing they'll offer the option of a low monthly or annual fee in lieu of ads.

3:38 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Got my notice this morning, too. Atomz has been a wonderful service and I've used them for years, but contextual ads on my search pages just won't work. I don't blame them either but I also wish they offered an affordable service to smaller sites.

Between now and 9/30 I need to find another solution. Ideas?

4:46 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've hunted around Atomz, and it looks like the low end market still doesn't interest them. I think they are missing the boat. IMO, lots of webmasters would happily pay an annual fee of, say, $80 - $200 for the service that's now free. Comparing that minimal cost to a few hours of messing around with scripts or other solutions that might entail support down the road, it's a no-brainer. I feel they are missing the slightly larger market, too. I've got a site that can generate a couple of thousand searches and has grown beyond the 500 page cutoff - I'd probably pay up to $100 per month if they offered some of their algorithm controls and other bells & whistles.

These aren't huge sums, but if you multiply them by tens of thousands of sites, they start getting more interesting.

>> Ideas? <<
I started a related thread, Site Search Solutions [webmasterworld.com]...

9:49 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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There is also a discussion on this in the supporters forum:

[webmasterworld.com...]

10:47 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I suggest Perlfect Search. It's free, easy to set up, works well, and you can run the indexer whenever you like.

I'm sure there are better site-search scripts out there, but I've never found a better free one (and I've tried a lot).

11:34 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just spent a bit of time at Perlfect Search and it sounds good. Thanks, MatthewHSE.

Question - if you know nothing about CGI, Perl or installing stuff, is it still easy? ;) Or if I decide to use Perlfect should I just opt for the $100 installation service?

I am a real dummy about anything beyond html and css (and not that great with css)

11:53 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I find it easy - but if you don't want to pay them $100 for installation, you could pay me $50! ;)
2:12 am on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just heard that for a month Atomz is offering a deal to run the service without ads for $250 per year. Twenty bucks a month isn't bad for commercial sites, but I'm guessing that it will be a little steep for many personal, hobby, and non-profit sites.

I assume that in addition to the ad removal, those who pay wil still get the service upgrades (50% more pages, etc.).

At the moment, I'd say we'll probably replace the service on most sites and opt for the paid version on a few high-volume ones.

10:30 pm on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've installed Perlfect a couple of times, it was really very straightforward.

Anyone tried Insterspire Fastfind? Free, but a friend tried to install it and had trouble. BTW, it says free "for a limited time only"

10:59 pm on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We just signed up for the $250/year Atomz ad-free version, so the rumors of that option are correct. FYI, you'll need to contact support to do this -- they have no plans to announce the option to the public (which absolutely baffles me).
11:35 pm on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is that $250/year to continue using what we've got now without ads, or is that $250 per domain?
11:35 am on Sept 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think this is really lame. What have they been doing for the past 5 years? Did Atomz just wake up to marketing? If this contextual stuff is really working on the search output pages I could see a competitor. So there ain't no way I am sticking with Atomz.

I'm taking the code off now.

Thanks for 5 years of outstanding service anyhow.

5:29 pm on Oct 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I had been using atomz on two sites for several years until the ads started.

The problem with scripts on one's own site is server load when building the index and when returning search results, especially in a shared hosting environment.

I replaced atomz with the Xtreeme search engine studio. It allows the index to be built on a local PC, and a highly optimized binary code then can be uploaded to the web server.

It doesn't provide statistics like atomz did, but they claim to be introducing them in the next revision. Another drawback is that you can't exclude certain areas such as navigation bars like you can do in atomz. Overall though, it appears to be a good and affordable solution that runs efficiently.

9:36 pm on Oct 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the $250 is for the same service we've been using, plus the new "enhancements", but with no ads. The other odd change is that they took off the Atomz logo from the results pages, but kept the "Powered by Atomz" in the title tag.