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This is sad news for the German SE market. Fireball started under the name Flipper as a university project in Berlin and went online 1997. Back then it was a state of the art engine, with very fast indexing and lots of search options. For international searches Altavista technology was in use.
Over the last two years Fireball, like so many engines of it's generation, somehow lost course. Like Altavista Fireball tried to evolve into a full grown portal - where they stand in direct competition to the heavy weights like T-online, AOL, Web.de - and of course Lycos.de.
On the other hand vertical search products were developed, like Paperball, a online search for newspapers, or Fireball Wissen, searching all kinds of files on german university servers.
In the last months Fireball tried to jump on the PFI bandwagon, with hefty fees for directory inclusion. Shopping channels and services like e-cards obviously didn't make Fireball profitable.
Fireballs search technology was outdated. For SEOs the engine was a spamming paradise. Permanent re-submission brought permanent top positions. Since summer 2001 CEO Kalb had been announcing massive improvements of search quality, including implementation of link popularity and clustering to the ranking algo. It would have been interesting to see those improvements gone live - another independant search engine is vanishing.
On a sidenote: website owners should think twice before paying to be included to Fireballs directory.
That is so sad. Once a good engine with lots of traffic and pretty easy to rank well on too. Now just another corps stacking up in the dot-com morgue.
It really makes me wanna cry - especially when I look a the future with FAST and Google eating up every competitor out there.
Sad news, but thanks for letting us know.
Dear Mr. Rencke,
Fireball.de will not be shut down, there have been changes in the organizational structure. These changes though do not affect the site Fireball.de itself. (...) I can insure you that Fireball will remain online!
Heini, do you know what he means by "changes in the organizational structure"?
The site however, as said before, will remain online. For how long I have no idea.
So I would trust them saying your paid directory submissions are not endangerd. How much effort Lycos is likely to put into marketing fireball anyhow I can only speculate on.
Over the last couple of weeks submissions to Fireball's web index were rarely successfull. German forums [suchmaschinentricks.de] were full of complaints lately.
Another sign of deterioration were ongoing problems with Fireball's freemail service, Firemail.
For today a press release from Lycos was announced - so far I haven't seen any.
I think it would be naive to believe that Fireball will live on as a search engine. It just makes not much sense for Lycos to maintain an own engine, which would have to be overhauled completely.
Yes, that´s correct.
And furthermore FB is reindexing i.e. they change their listings and indexing within the next two weeks.
I don´t think so that FB ´ll shut down.
One thing is for sure - the Fireball Netsearch GmbH IS going to be shut down.
Tighter integration into Lycos search functions anyhow can mean anything - from searching the Lycos catalogue to searching Lycos intranets.
Whatever happens to Fireball technology we will see. I would love to see it getting developed further.
Multimania (french personal homepages service, acquired last year) is becoming european, hence the shut down of Tripod for instance. Caramail (french web based email services, originally bought by Spray, then acquired at about the same time as Multimania by Lycos) is well on the way to take over all mail services europe-wide. etc.
a year or so ago, the goal was to become the biggest european portal, via a multi-brands network. the goal is still the same, but it seems they want to unify all the brands into one big european one for some reason.
Lycos used to be one of the most innovative (and first) search engine when it first started. now, in Europe at least, it is definitely a "portal". meaning a big vaporware-like entry to a bunch of services made by acquired companies or partners.
Definite (?) confirmation for a shutting down of Hotbot.de, totally vague statements concerning the role the Fireball search technology will paly in the Lycos.Europe group.