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I just had a site listed in Fast this morning, so I have a bunch of notes that might be of use and I thought I'd write them up...
Actually there were two sites, which I'll call site-A and site-B, covering different aspects of services provided by the same parent company.
Site-A and site-B are interlinked, but, because site-B competes with clients of site-A, there are only 2 inconspicuous links between the sites. Site-B isn't fully polished yet for directory submission, so it hasn't been submitted anywhere, but it was OK to be spidered.
I submitted site-A to Fast on 2/23/01, the same day I submitted it to ODP. I noted that it appeared in ODP as of 3/8/01 (didn't check every day). Both the ODP listing and spidered results for site-A appeared in Fast this morning, 3/23/01. Site-B had also been spidered and was indexed in Fast. Both were doing quite well for targeted terms, mostly in top-10 (not very competitive, I must confess). As of late this morning, they weren't in Lycos.
Tonight, about 9 hours later, I notice that both sites are in Lycos, and that Lycos also shows the ODP listing for site-A. Across the board, to confirm what Marcia is saying, rankings in Lycos are higher than in Fast.
Initially, I guessed that this was because Lycos probably uses only part of the Fast database. Then I had second thoughts, thinking that if Lycos had only part of the database, they'd take the top ranked sites... until, as I thought further, it struck me that until specific searches were run, there's no way of defining what a top ranked site is.
Both sites were optimized to deliver results peculiar to the San Francisco area, as in <keyword1 keyword2 San Francisco>. Just for the hell of it, I ran some of the searches without the San Francisco modifier.
For Site-A (which is listed in ODP):
A phrase that's #21 in Fast is #2 in Lycos. Another, that's #9 in Fast is #1 in Lycos. Another that's #11 in Fast is #4 in Lycos.
For Site-B (not yet listed in ODP):
A phrase that's #5 in Fast is #2 in Lycos. A phrase that I couldn't even find in Fast is #2 in Lycos.
Lycos is also still displaying results for an earlier version of site-B, which doesn't rank on anything except the company name.
One difference I noticed between the two engines in what's highlighted... Lycos sees the possessive form of a keyword (keyword's) as the keyword, whereas Fast does not. This accounts for perhaps one of the disparities in the above rankings, but not the rest.
This morning on the board I saw a post with links to sympatico, sprint.ca, and allthesites, so I thought I'd take a quick look.
At 9:30am or whatever... I looked very briefly at Site-A rankings only on these three Fast-powered sites... I noted that Site-A was indexed and ranking very well on Sympatico and Sprint, and was not listed at all in Allthesites. I did no ranking comparisons and didn't look for Site-B, assuming it would be wherever Site-A was.
At about noon, I chanced to look at Lycos... neither Site-A nor Site-B was showing any results at all. Searching for their pretty unique company names, I couldn't find either site in the Lycos database. The old (pre-Fast?) listing for Site-A still came up.
Results for searches on Site-A terms look like what I remember from Netscape Directory search... ie, ODP.
This caused me to look at Fast, and to check the other Fast-powered sites a bit more carefully than I had this morning. I checked for both Sites A & B, and looked briefly at comparitive rankings.
On Fast at about noon... both sites were in, unchanged.
On both Sympatico and Sprint.ca at about noon...
Sites A&B both indexed and ranking well, very similar but not identical to last night's Lycos rankings. The rankings were slightly different between the two sites (differences not worth analyzing).
On some of the listings where Lycos and Alltheweb rankings differed a lot (which is to say the non-location-specific ranking that I really hadn't optimized for), the rankings on these two sites were closer to the Lycos listings, but differed between themselves and with Lycos in a pattern that didn't immediately leap to mind. (Again, differences not worth analyzing. If this were Google, it might be worth the time).
On Allthesites at about noon... Site-A, which hadn't been in at 9am, was indexed and ranking well, similar to Sympatico and Sprint.ca. Site-B wasn't yet indexed.
Now, here's the kicker... a half-hour to an hour later, I checked again on Lycos, and both sites are back and ranking well, pretty much as last night.
A quick check of the most important searches over five sites shows that all of them rank better on Fast than they do on Lycos. In fact, the Lycos results often have some rather off target results on page one, where as Fast is much more relevant. Even further, some of the Lycos returns are just plain awful.
I've got no conclusions, but I'm definitely seeing better positions on Fast than I am on Lycos most of the time. This is the opposite of the experience you and Marcia report.