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BBC switches to Inktomi!



6:01 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The results today are definitely not Google, as I've found pages that are not in the Google index, but the question remains, what results are they?

It seems like it could be the Inktomi index, but the serps are very different.

They have also taken away the option to search only on UK results.

Anyone have any further information?

Receptional Andy

2:24 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>how else do you get into/do well with Ink

I have noticed large amounts of spidering activity on non-paid sites by Ink recently so it's by no means a pay-only SE.

>And I still think the Ink SERPS are pretty thin beer

I agree with this for current results. Anyone else noticed the lack of descriptions for a large amount of listings?


2:27 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wouldn't this be a question for OFTEL or someone similar?

You could try the British Internet Publishers Alliance (http://www.bipa.co.uk/), who are a pressure group who are lobbying against the size of BBCi, but i don't think Oftel are the right ones to go to.

The BBC is regulated by the department of Culture, Media and Sport i think, but there are plans for it to come under Ofcom's jurisdiction.

You could also try complaining to the BBC itself?! - they are scaling back alot of service so may be willing to listen to people given that they are paranoid about action being taken by the government.

IMHO i think the BBC are completely within their rights to recommend sites they see as useful/well designed/interesting etc. but that's just my view.


<edit reason>added relevancy</edit reason>


2:55 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just tried sending an email to the BBC, but it just got bounced back invalid email address, strange. They do not say anywhere on their site where the results come from unlike any other portal which clearly states who's results they are. Their statement about being able to search for only UK results seems a little outdated now as well. For anyone wanting more about BBC1 look at: [bbc.co.uk...]

Receptional Andy

3:02 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Did you try email@bbc.co.uk?

It's true that it would be nice to have a bit more transparency regarding the source of their results.

[added]yep, email@bbc.co.uk (the listed email address on the search help page) doesn't work...[/added]


11:49 am on Mar 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for flagging up the broken email link guys, which we fixed.


3:18 pm on Mar 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Maybe it is because BBC wants more frequently updated results? Not updated every 4-5 weeks, especially with the war in motion. Just a thought.

Receptional Andy

3:19 pm on Mar 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>more frequently updated results

With inktomi? I don't think so...


6:18 pm on Mar 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I complained to the bbc about them saving money but not providing uk results as in 'does this mean we will have no uk programmes on tv now because it's cheaper. The irony of a uk site not providing uk results seems to have not been acknowledged but here's the reply I got.


[edited by: engine at 8:47 am (utc) on Mar. 27, 2003]
[edit reason] No e-mail quotes, thanks. [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


1:21 pm on Mar 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As edneil post has been edited because it was deemed an infridgement of Webmasterworlds rules (possible copyright problems) I thought I would write what the BBC actually said. The email that was removed was telling the reasons the BBC switched over to Inktomi:

The BBC wants to work with the company who's results best suit their requirements. Make your own mind on that point, personally for the UK, it could not be more obvious to see which results internet users wish to use, but the BBC think Google does not supply them the best results. The BBC put the contract for results out to tender "in accordance with EU Procurement Legislation", what ever that is. The BBC then spent several
months evaluating various companies and potential service providers, using a series of tests designed to measure each company and service over many criteria, including technical and editorial considerations.. The decision was then reached to use Inktomi instead of Google.


9:59 am on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Are BBC even allowed to make money? :)

It's complicated. The BBC qua BBC isn't, but its commercial arm, "BBC Worldwide", is.

BBC Worldwide isn't meant to profit from publically funded services. And it's meant to be restricted from competing directly with the private sector in certain ways. There isn't meant to be cross-over of staff or resources between the two.

In practise none of these is enforced very well.

There's been a lot of contention about the anti-competitive nature of some of the beeb's activities, particularly around the recently-approved "digital curriculum" and the BBC's domestic and international rolling news channels.

Wouldn't this be a question for OFTEL or someone similar?

You could write a letter to your MP (www.faxyourmp.co.uk) and ask them to forward it to the DCMS (Dept. of Culture, Media & Sport), which has oversight of the BBC. Better to go through your MP than write directly to the department, as then the department will have to reply (although it'll probably just be waffle).


creative craig

10:08 am on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

OFTEL = the office of telecommunications. They govern companies like BT, NTL and Telewest in the UK.



8:56 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"Are BBC even allowed to make money? :) "

They definitely have commercial restrictions as part of the publicly-funded BBC (I used to work there and there are some very odd anomalies however).

We've tried to get links from them to our site for a unique added value service and the editors pushed it through until the senior bosses realised that we made money (LOL) from advertising banners and text links. That scuppered that one and the obvious PR implication!

However, if they were allowed to be a bit more commercial (provided an OFTEL or OFWAT equivalent was available to monitor) perhaps the BBC would become less dependent on the annual licence fee!



2:34 pm on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Culture secretary Tessa Jowell today told the BBC it has two months to justify its 112m online budget ahead of a government review.


3:04 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Very strange,

As quickly as they appeared, Inktomi results seem to have been removed from BBC search. Anyone know whats going on?


3:17 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nicely spotted boblington - it appears to be quite an old index (displaying site info over three months out of date), but I can't work out where it's coming from. Anyone put me out of my misery?!?



3:24 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nope, i can't work it out either.

It looks closer to Google than Inktomi, but i'm not sure...


3:26 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have emailed several parties regarding this. Will update when I know whats happened..


3:30 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm getting US sites in the SERPs, it seems like thay are trying different filtering on Google SERPs, but not blocking US sites completely.


3:50 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It looks closer to Google than Inktomi

That's what I thought orignally, but then got confused as to why it's showing such out of date information for one of my sites - it's been updated in Google's main index for several months.

It's far too late in the afternoon to deal with things like this - you there!...show me the way to the pub!



5:50 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

That's still Inktomi data.


11:15 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

engine is on the spot there - it is all inktomi.


11:51 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What do you do at the BBC then currybet?


11:14 am on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<= points at user profile button :-)


11:17 am on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Got a response from the BBCi search team..

Apparently BBC search had technical problems yesterday, and they confirmed BBCi search is still using an Inktomi feed.

Although I have just checked, and the state of play has not changed....

[edited by: boblington at 11:54 am (utc) on May 2, 2003]


11:19 am on May 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

nicebloke - martin's the MAN.



2:01 am on May 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So does Martin have any involvement with the BBC search engine?
This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56

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