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Ask Jeeves gets "Sprinked"

7:22 am on Sep 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member nffc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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About to Provide Paid-Placements Links on Ask Jeeves [internetnews.com]

"Proponents of paid-placement search results maintain that the keyword-based results actually generate more accurate returns in response to queries than do algorithmic search engines."

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?

3:03 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I tend to agree with the quote - up to a point. I find the results on Goto, for example, are great when I am shopping for something; usually, I couldn't ask for more relevant, spam-free results. Problems of relevance tend to be self-correcting. If you are paying a buck per click, your site had better have something not only relevant but very attractive to the visitor; if not, you'll go bust quickly.

Of course, if you are searching for non-commercial content, the results will be only as good as the backup data source. And the worst case, I suppose, is if you are looking for non-commercial content in a keyword that is sought after by many PPC clients - you'll have a lot of stuff to wade through.

3:06 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>Problems of relevance tend to be self-correcting.
Excellent point.
4:53 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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PPC in search engines are great for the searcher, and even the searchee, unless of course, you believed that whole "level playing field" stuff and decided take your micro-business online. In that case, you just gotta hold out hope that enough of the majors stay free to keep you in business. But the basic fact that "money talks" applies to the internet as well as everywhere else in life. So I have a feeling we'll see more and more of the SEs heading that way.

Michael Martinez

10:25 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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PPC search engines are only great for the surfer if the surfer is looking for something to buy. A small fraction of Web content consists of commercial sites. The majority of content sites are non-commercial operations which cannot afford to compete on PPC services with the web-info portals that suck up keywords. These guys are adding an extra step to non-commercial surfing results by inserting themselves as middle men who hope to sell something to the people who weren't searching for something to buy in the first place, or who hope to generate enough traffic to make money from ads.

Mastah Blastah

4:59 pm on Sept 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>A small fraction of Web content consists of commercial

Maybe, but that's a growing segment, and it is the most important segment to the SE's and webmasters and SEO's - That make a money off this, that is.

The search engines are only free because it's making them money right now. (Huh?) Well think about it, the only reason not to charge for submission or listings is to be 'different' than everyone else. There is alot of sharing and buying of technologies, directory entries and search results going on. The only reason to be free is to sell their tech and to other SE's and to make them selves look different in the croud. At least 1 engine will remain free just because of that "gotta index non-business sites" idea. Would you really want to index non-business free-loading sites if you didn't have to? Or would you want to get PAID?

Se's are even offering pay-submit's look at looksmart's partners reselling the express submit service, you think they don't get a chunk of change off that????

I forsee more and more paying to submit. That's the future of SE's

Here is my dream engine: 20$ submit fee. Your site indexed based on content and first-come-first-serve. PPC section of the top 50 listings, no one gets here unless they pay, they'll just be blank if no one is paying. They next 50 listings are based on popularity, when your in the index then you better get people clicking on your site... from different IP's

Ok I might give a bit on the PPC part of that dream... maybe I'd take out the blanks...

¦\/¦ ¦3
Love you guys but I really just want to pay for my listing right from the engine. If I can't afford it, tough luck.

5:56 pm on Sept 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>If I can't afford it, tough luck.

So much for "building a better mousetrap" then.

We'll change the saying to:

Build a better mousetrap and if "Mousetraps-R-Us" doesn't catch you and stifle your voice before you can get the word out that you've built it, then MAYBE the world will beat a path to your door.


Michael Martinez

6:43 pm on Sept 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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It's funny, but sad. When the Looksmart paid submissions first started a few months ago, people correctly pointed out that the Web sites are the content that these search services sell to their customers. The shift in business model at Looksmart is properly categorized as a change to a yellow pages service. They are not the first and they won't be the last. The change in business model may in fact bring them to profitability. More power to them if that's what happens.

But when people go searching the Internet, they aren't looking for commercial sites. Explicitly business-oriented search terms are not popular. I cite the following list from WordTracker, which monitors searches on various services. Some of these search terms may be sought by commercial operations, but nearly all of them are utilized by the hobbyist Webmasters as well. [NOTE: I have no idea of how this is going to format when I post the message.]

1 33861 265134 mp3
2 19647 153838 hotmail
3 17550 137418 games
4 17273 135249 cars
5 15435 120857 yahoo
6 14970 117216 music
7 11072 86695 pokemon
8 10921 85512 warez
9 10499 82208 britney spears
10 10471 81989 chat
11 10198 79851 ebay
12 8922 69860 travel
13 8658 67793 jokes
14 8467 66297 Jennifer Lopez
15 8448 66149 maps
16 8414 65882 napster
17 8303 65013 health
18 8134 63690 lyrics
19 7984 62515 winzip
20 7366 57676 weather
21 7333 57418 hotmail.com
22 7060 55280 dictionary
23 6130 47998 apartments
24 6059 47442 ampland
25 6048 47356 wallpaper
26 6020 47137 real estate
27 5981 46832 Madonna
28 5832 45665 qxapoiu
29 5733 44890 careers
30 5506 43112 jobs
31 5413 42384 yahoo.com
32 5277 41319 www.hotmail.com
33 5230 40951 hentai
34 5199 40709 snes roms
35 5092 39871 search engines
36 5075 39738 icq
37 4936 38649 autos
38 4929 38594 Britney Spears
39 4767 37326 greeting cards
40 4753 37216 0
41 4665 36527 computer
42 4653 36433 movies
43 4622 36191 winamp
44 4612 36112 horoscopes
45 4457 34899 chat rooms
46 4433 34711 Shania Twain
47 4319 33818 wrestling
48 4315 33787 science fair project
49 4247 33254 gnutella
50 4123 32283 song lyrics

Clearly some people are looking for "real estate", "cars", and "hotmail". Of these three most commercially oriented terms, "cars" involves overlap with hobbyist sites. The majority of these terms are utilized by free content or hobbyist sites. The people running these most popular searches are most likely not looking for something to buy.

The average Web surfer is going to have to view the Internet as a means of primarily conducting business transactions before the business community can lay claim to being the foundation of the Net. Right now, it's still holding true to its roots, and several aspects of recent business trends show that commercial development is not a dominant factor in Web development and content:

1) The steep decline in investment in Internet startups and IPOs

2) The near collapse of Web-based advertising business models

3) The implosion of several entertainment-oriented industries which had hoped to capitalize on the Internet (signified by the discontinuation recently of Dreamworks' pop.com)

4) The numerous cutbacks in staff announced by Internet companies or Internet divisions of companies ranging from news organizations to content development organizations to search services

Probably the most successful financial model for a search service that cannot dominate the industry will be a paid-listing model. Such a service will not index the greater part of Web content. Without that kind of database, it's not going to satisfy the people who are not looking for commercial sites.

What this may mean for business people in the long-run is that it will be easier to decide where to invest your optimization efforts. After all, if the Looksmart model becomes popular, then competition will become divided between the yellow pages services and the general indexing services, the latter of which will continue to pursue the greater database with free listings.

In the end we may come down to two or three superior databases like Google which provide secondary listings to paid-submission-based databases. In that case, the paid-submission sites probably will default to the secondary databases for non-commercial content searches more and more often, especially if they expire outdated links in their primary databases.

6:50 pm on Sept 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Summary of thread - imho

goto.com if you are looking to buy.

google.com if you are not looking to buy.

Michael Martinez

6:55 pm on Sept 20, 2000 (gmt 0)

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NOTE: I've had trouble editing my messages, so I want to clarify a couple of points here. Sorry. I'm used to going back and editing a message after I've posted it and seen how it looks.

"It's funny, but sad."

Why is it funny but sad? I mean, it's ironic but regrettable (to me) that I've witnessed a fundamental transition in comments on the changes in Looksmart's business model. I don't think the people who pointed out they were providing content before are the same people saying this is the wave of the future. I may be mistaken. What has brought about the change in the popular opinion?

The other point I want to clarify is what I'm referring to when I speak of a split in competition. What I mean is that I think the yellow pages services will compete with each other, and the general indexing services will compete with each other.

For a long time, now, many observers have been predicting an industry shakeout among the search services. Maybe what we're seeing is the beginning of an industry breakup that may lessen the almost inevitable shakeout. With two classes of information servers, the two child industries will be able to complement each other as the members of the parent industry try to but with only marginal success.

Specialized directories may be the only profitable way for most search services to compete and survive in the world dominated by Yahoo! But those specialized directories will have to supplement their databases with more general indexes.

We've seen this pattern already for more than a year. The experimentation is now really shifting to developing a well-focused business model as the multi-index technology seems to have been developed sufficiently to support some experimentation with altering revenue streams.