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BBC Launches search engine

     
8:03 pm on May 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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As mentioned here a few months ago, the BBC has launched it's own search engine.
[bbc.co.uk...]

Our search service isn't here to make any money, so our results are the ones that best match your search words - not the ones advertisers want you to see.
7:49 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Now there is an 'added value' proposition!

This is the kind of thinking which actually makes PFC attractive to the client/end user as well as filling the SE's pockets.

Imagine being able to target an Adword to a specific outlet and therefore a group of users/customers.

Isn't the internet supposed to be about this kind of 'personalisation'?

Typical that is comes from someone of the calibre of BK, rather than the SE's!!

9:54 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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As an espotting affiliate partner, it's a question I have been asked a few (although to be honest not many - we're not big enough yet!!) times by merchants.

How can they just advertise ppc on our site as opposed to the others? - the argument being that we have smaller levels of higher quality traffic.

This argument is very much the same as the ppc bidding terms question. An irony of ppc bidding is that their editorial team can't allow people to bid on too many smaller terms because it screws with their business model (not enough bidding each other up on bigger terms, plus questionable proftiability on cash).

This applies just the same when it comes to partner sites, but in a slightly different way. When signing up partners, the partner must be looking at cash projections to compare which filler to run with.

If that question were also to involve 'how well can your ppc sales team sell my site over and above your other partners?' then the process would be stumped.

Their business model of either adwords select or straight ppc involves one simple factor - trying to get the demand to outweigh the production on fewer, 'more valuable' terms.

Move to splitting affiliates and while the relationship between a few cosy partners is cash rich, the business is killed by the drought imposed on other partners.

11:03 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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There may be a middle ground - selling different partner "packages" so an advertiser could choose Packge A with partners 1, 2 and 3 - or Package B with partners 1 through 7 - or Package C with partners 5 through 7, etc. This would permit a PPC purchase to be at least somewhat targeted, without cutting any partners out completely.

Something in this direction seems like a natural evolution. Precise targeting is the main strength of the web. Any product that leverages that strength has a good chance at success.

11:07 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Kind of like cable tv packages?

I like the sound of that. Does this new search have a dedicated page yet?

Nick

3:43 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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tedster,

I see what you mean, and that's probablyt a half-way house for it, although I think something like that would only be achieved once ppc has been a biz model for another few years yet.

4:37 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hey Guys and Galls

We're drifting off topic a little here (or should that be channel-hopping:))

5:13 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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First off to get us back on topic, I actually asked the BBC if they used google, and they replied:

- BBCi Search does make use of Google search technology. -

so it's not a competitor, it's just another variety of Google. They seem to have a home-grown directory bolted on the top, and this may become more dominant in the future as it fills up with BBC-recommended sites.

Now, to reply to Black_Knight

-- It made a notable difference to conversion rates --

Ah, well, I think I see what you're getting at. You preferred having two search engines (Inktomi and Google) so you could optimise advanced pages for advanced users (on Google) and basic pages for basic users (on Inktomi/Yahoo). That's fair enough.

It isn't true to say though that a drop in conversion rates is automatically the same as a drop in sales, it might just mean you're having a tougher time selling to a segment who weren't even buying from you originally. You could have one really eager customer and have a 100% conversion rate, but you'd be worse off than the guy with thousands of fussy customers and a dismal rate.

I don't know how you'd split search engines again though. Google really does provide more relevant results than Inktomi, or advanced users wouldn't have taken to it so eagerly when it was still unknown and in beta. A search engine is there for the benefit of its searchers, not its results.

I'm not sure how techie google is any more anyway, two-thirds of my visitors come direct from a google site rather than through yahoo, and I run a very non-technical site. Maybe some more "indie" search engines like gigablast might be a welcome addition to the well known engines if you're looking for a niche market to optimise for.

4:23 am on June 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm not that impressed with my first search on keywords that return fairly similar results on all the major SEs - none of them on the Beeb, just a string of 50+ BBC sites - useless!
7:42 am on July 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Musciales

I think you used the wrong search box.

Confusingly there are 2 on the page, the site search and the web search.

They could be better labelled IMO - are you listening Auntie Beeb?

8:10 am on July 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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4eyes - you're quite right. I was on an internal page and so I used the search at the top. It's always an issue for portal sites - search this site, versus search the web. But you can certainly do it more clearly than that. I'm not exactly a newbie and it fooled me!
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