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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?

6:12 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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That's currently coming from Ink.
Could be the BBC are updating something and needed a temporary replacement.
7:29 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes appears to be UK biased Ink results - same as MSN.co.uk
7:33 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nice find!

I was wondering why I had started to get so much traffic from BBC all of a sudden (non-UK site).

If BBC is trying to save money I can see where they might switch to Ink.

7:33 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>The results today

I think it started on Saturday, looks Inkish to me but not sure.

<--- Goes to ask one who will know.

8:10 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Wow! That is indeed Ink.

Be intersting to hear the reasoning behind that. BBC budgets maybe?

8:36 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>BBC budgets maybe

Are BBC even allowed to make money? :)

I have no clue about Inktomi, but I assume they will get some $ for using their results? Just wondering.

9:45 pm on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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All the more interesting in that as of 4 days ago Yahoo! completed the acquisition of Inktomi - and they've already stolen a major client from Google
12:10 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Its definitely Ink based - its showing one of my recent PFI sites that hasn't been catlogued anywhere else.

But it doesn't seem to match anyone elses filtering pattern - close to the pure search, but not identical.

12:35 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yep, BBCi has switched from Google to Inktomi - it went live on Thursday. It has been somewhat overshadowed by trying to keep the servers on up-time with increased usage due to "world events"
4:34 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"The BBC, with its 80 years of know-how and editorial expertise, is ideally placed to provide a UK-focused search engine that will not be tainted by paid-for results."

Oh well.

gsx

9:23 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Are BBC allowed to make money?

Yes, they make a fortune. Firstly, they charge us a TV licence fee which supposedly covers BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4 etc..., plus Radio 1,2,3,4,5Live and all the local BBC radio stations. Apparently we don't pay enough to cover this.

So they make money other ways - they sell CDs of music from their programmes, videos and DVDs of their own programmes, they run live music concerts and roadshows, get their own magazines printed (such as Top Gear for example, there are loads of magazines), which when added to the licence fee makes them lots of money.... which then gets spent on expensive sports and so on...

9:28 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Are BBC allowed to make money?

Yeah, I figured people pay TV licenses ;) That's partly why I ask in the first place. BBC are restricted in the ways they make money because they have that competitive advantage - the fact that the public gives them billions a year.

9:42 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now, if only the database was updated.

The BBC are allowed to make money from selling merchandise or programmes otherwise the licence fee will increase, however, they are NOT allowed to make a profit. For those interested, here's the BBC report in PDF format. [bbc.co.uk]

9:47 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If you look carefully at the listings, you will see that all of the paid inclusion listings have had the tracking removed, so there is no way that any PFI customers can be charged for the clicks (if you use the cpc based trusted feed) - or am I mistaken?
10:10 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So, are there any statements of the BBC or INK or Google on the change?
Do we have to assume partnering with Ink is cheaper than with Google? Is this only the first in a line of portals changing horses from Google to Ink?

mat

10:18 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now, if only the database was updated

... nail on the head. Any ideas how old the one they're using is? A quick look shows the results (in my area) to be light years away from those on Positiontech.

10:44 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The results are significantly different to those on PositionTech mainly because there appears to be some kind of GeoFiltering on the .coms on the BBC search.

mat

10:56 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmm. If I go in with anonymizer on, the results are identical. I take it, then, that you mean the IP's of hosts, or am I completely mistaken? Thanks.
11:15 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes it appears to be on the IPs of the webserver. (MSN.co.uk seems to be doing the same thing.)

mat

11:39 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. Damned if I see the point of all that. I mean, I do see the point, just don't really see that it's relevant and/or practical.

I recently had to cancel an order with a (well-known) UK host with a full UK setup that turned out, at the eleventh hour, to be allocating non-UK Ip's to their 'nix hosting.

Caveat emptor.

12:36 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This is an outrage. I have just done a search on the BBC for "cheap flights" can you beleive BBCi Recommended sites appear as the first 2 results. These are profit making companies and for the BBC to in anyway suggest them in wrong. I am seeing differences from MSN UK but there are definetely paid listing appearing in the results.
12:40 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>This is an outrage

Hey, calm down Lotus ;)

The recommended sites are ones reviewed by BBC editors - no-one said that they couldn't be commercial. The BBC aren't tracking clickthroughs so there's no way they're making money from it as far as I can tell. I agree it's a bit strange for blatantly commercial search terms, but if their editor likes the site, why can't they recommend it?
BBCi guidelines here [bbc.co.uk]

1:14 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Andy,

I totally disagree with you on this one. The BBC cannot do this and then hide behind an editor by saying he thinks it is a good site. The industry selling cheap flights is highly competetive and this is a definite breach by the BBC. It is opening the door wide for Corporate Corruption. I have just phoned this through to the Daily Miror and they are most interested.

1:20 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Lotus - this has been going on since BBCi put a search engine on their sites. Why can't the BBC recommend sites? After all they have holiday programmes which recommend holidays and tour operators.

Also, the Ink index used seems very fresh. I amended the title of a home page last week and it is now showing up in the BBCi index (home page uses Positiontech Ink 24hr refresh).

1:29 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One of our forums is BBCi recommended for some good keywords (we didn't know it had been done - we found out through chance) and the traffic we recieved through this was about 10% of the traffic from Google.

For this site however, it's just an advice site, i didn't realise they recommended commercial sites...

1:44 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>this is a definite breach by the BBC

I can see that they are on slightly shaky ground, although I can't see that this example breaks their guidelines:

Recommended sites should be:

"the best website to answer your search query"

and not "Sell you things but don't tell you things"

Both sites DO have siginificant free content, although, again, I agree with you that the weighting of commercial vs free content on the first site is not very balanced.

However, my question would be, do the sites recommended provide useful information to a bbci searcher looking for cheap flights, and I feel the answer has to be yes.

But surely the crucial point is that the bbc don't stand to profit from these links. They need to provide high quality, preferably recommended sites to their visitors whether they are looking for cheap flights or homework help.

Also the bbc return recommended sites for a wide variety of commercial areas, cheap flights is by no means the most obvious example.

<unnecessary sarcasm>
>>the Daily Miror...are most interested

Hehe, have they not found any statues of elvis on Mars this week? ;)
</unnecessary sarcasm>

1:57 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Some mixed feeling here, but 1 question I would like answering is: there own guidelines, who says they are allowed to make up there own guidelines? They are accountable to us, the licience fee payers. Someone also said that this has been going on for a while now and is nothing to do with change to INK. Well my answer is this: just because it has been going for a while it does not make it right. I see a conflict of interest and editors who can make changes that can benefit Big Business. On a final point about Holiday Programmes on the BBC, I have never seen them actually reccommend using a company, they make make us aware of good deals available. Slighly different from placing companies at the top of a list.
2:11 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>Some mixed feeling here

Me too - your example is definitely on the borderline of what the bbc should or shouldn't be allowed to do.

>>who says they are allowed to make up there own guidelines

Just thinking of the practicalities, it's not feasible for us (the license payers) to make the regulations. For one thing we don't have the specialised knowledge of either the bbc or broadcasting etc, for another the time involved would make this near impossible without large volunteer groups.

I think it's a case of voting with your feet - if you don't like what they're doing, don't pay the fee. I know it isn't a simple as that (especially considering cases where people simply own a TV and don't watch the beeb and are still forced to pay licenses.)

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

mat

2:21 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Surely NFFC's point is the most relevant - that of a 'non-paid-for' SE? Erm, these days, how else do you get into/do well with Ink?

I'm surprised - this seems an odd decision. And I still think the Ink SERPS are pretty thin beer, at least the ones that Auntie is currently showing.

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