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End of public Northern Light

Northern Light Discontinues Free Public Access

     
1:49 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Woops, there goes another one:

[businesswire.com...]

1:55 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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so sad.........
1:56 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Northern Who?

That's too bad. I always had high hopes for NL. They never did have anyone who understood quality page design though.
(thanks Per)

2:14 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Maybe those thousands of alleged queries done from WPG finally got to them?
2:26 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Darn! There go all those great referrals!
2:29 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to miss those 3 hits a day :(

Tor

2:49 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We get 4 hits a day.
3:12 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure its a bad thing strategically. As many have noted here for years it dones not return many hits for most of us even if our pages are highly ranked. It DOES reduce the number of "free" search engines as possible competitors so keeping the market leader (Google) on its toes, but I'm not sure anybody expected NL to launch any serious challenge. Selling their own pay per view results is a solid model proven way back in the mid 1990's when compuserve partnered with the big databases such as Lexis-Nexus etc to sell their articles by the article at very high prices. I think for NL that is a less competitive arena right now. They were always better at the special collection than the public arena.
3:27 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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How did you get 4 hits a day? You've been holding out on us Tor!!!
3:31 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It's a pity.

I get few hits a month, but I like NL: I still use it.

3:38 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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From the businesswire story [businesswire.com]:
"Over the past year, Northern Light has seen booming demand for search, classification, taxonomy, and content solutions from our enterprise customers
That's were the money is.

reminds me of this thread:
Users spend 1bn on internet searches [webmasterworld.com]

The beginning of the end for free websearch:
Ads for Joe User - quality search for deep pockets?

3:41 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've said it before in various forums; I really like NL, am well placed in the SERPs, and don't understand why more people never used it.

Lawman

5:29 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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i used it once or twice - I never understood the point of the "blue folders".
5:49 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think Heini is completely on the ball.

Free websearch gave NL some brand visibility for accessing highly targeted, scientific and commercial databases, which many are willing to pay for. Its nothing new, as i suggested by citing Lexis-Nexus and there are more - these scientific databases have their own Web and electronic distribution channels of course but NL continues to make a pitch for being able to access quality targeted content from a broad range of these databases.

The free web search was basically a Web branding strategy, that was tangential to NL's core business (or targeted core business). With current trends, my feeling is that the strategy of being a public web SE to promote special collections has outlived its usefulness.

5:55 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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In real dollars it will probably cost me a little, but it is sad. For some reason I thought they would be one of the few to make it.
6:47 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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NorthernLight, the CIA's new search engine [boston.internet.com].
7:17 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>NorthernLight, the CIA's new search engine<<

Just goes to illustrate a shift toward an e-wartime economy. We'll probably see a lot more of this in the months to come.

7:30 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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From the first link in this thread:

"Northern Light will continue to maintain and update its index of more than 350 million Web pages to provide enterprise customers with search of the Web using Northern Light's patented classification technology, and will continue offering custom Web searching for enterprise customers."

Now let me get this straight. Northern Lights will continue to crawl my sites, and the CIA gets access to their SERPs from advanced algorithms, but the public doesn't?

What's the robots.txt user-agent for Northern Lights?

7:39 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Gulliver.
7:45 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I applaud NL for doing this. I have been turned off in a big way how many of the big search desinations feel they can charge web site owners so they can give it away to anyone. The general public will never pay for searching, but they will pay for internet access. I think the future of search is contracts between isps and content providers for the public. This will even the cost and make it fair for all, site owners and public.

This is the first step in the right direction.

8:09 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hmmmmm .... NL optimized pages for selling sunglasses, minature digital cameras, hotel reservations in Somalia, .... any other ideas?
:-)
8:15 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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.oO(...imagines X10 paying the big bucks for NL pop-unders...)
8:42 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>For some reason I thought they would be one of the few to make it.

For them I think this is a step in the right direction but only in the very short term, it can only help enhance profitability. However "What's the robots.txt user-agent for Northern Lights?" long term they may lose out, if they think they are going to use my content for free and give [almost] nothing in return then they need to think again. Google's subscription service will enrode their market anyhow, just a matter of time.

>Tell me more. I like to track these things.

I know it's only Jan but that could well be 2002's understatement of the year :)

8:47 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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> "What's the robots.txt user-agent for Northern Lights?" ....if they think they are going to use my content for free and give [almost] nothing in return then they need to think again.

Excellent point. I've never been keen on the argument that SEs owe me for using my site in their SERP, but when they go private they relegate themselves to the 'harvester' category.

9:03 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Do you think the robots.txt spider exclusion will be obeyed?

And by the way, is there such a thing as a stealth spider that would leave no tracks in the log files?

9:12 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>robots.txt spider exclusion will be obeyed?

I use htaccess now. Toolman posted one that's mean to the harvesters. I don't know enough to comment on the stealth issue.

2:44 am on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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And by the way, is there such a thing as a stealth spider that would leave no tracks in the log files?

Sure, the spider could jsut identify itself as a web browser.

2:50 am on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Northern Light was a good search engine. They had a lot of interesting features, and while they had a different approach than Google, is was an equally valid one.

I'd like to see a lot more sights adopt the "Special Collection" model where you pay for content with a micropayment. It helps to index more of the invisible web and that's necessairly A Good Thing.

1:51 pm on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>is there such a thing as a stealth spider that would leave no tracks in the log files?<<

As prowsej points out, a spider can identify itself as a browser. It could also act like a user, pulling all graphics files from a page, pause between page requests, follow user-type browsing patterns, etc. It could even hit your site from a variety of quite different IP addresses to further mimic user behavior (it's a rare human that follows every link and looks at every page!). However, it can't erase its tracks in your logs. I doubt if NL or anyone else would go to all this trouble, with the possible exception of making the user agent look like a browser and changing IP addresses to defeat IP-based exclusions or cloaking.

2:49 pm on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Northern Light still is a good search engine...it's good enough that people will pay to use it...I may even do so

we've just done a batch of research on a number of subjects and nearly all of it was done with either Northern Light or Google...it's the only SE that produces results that are both accurate and different from Google

even if I don't pay to use it I'm keen to stay listed...I'd expect any site that wants to be found by academics and journalists to want to stay in their directory...and I am a BIG fan of our site being found by academics and journalists

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