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Thursday, October 10, 2002

Search Results Everywhere!

Grabby, grabby, grabby. There must be an awful lot of money up for grabs all of a sudden in the pay-per-click advertising space. I did a search for "No Doubt" while enjoying Yahoo Radio. I was only a little bit surprised to see the page of different items include a sponsor matches section at the bottom - with the usual Overture results. I was considerably more surprised to see a popup of Lycos Search results - which also contain Overture search results as well as the regular Lycos (FAST) index - appear in a new window. These were generated by Gator. It seems that Gator and Overture are working overtime to ensure that consumers typing keyword searches get to see as many sponsored listings as possible. Dueling pay-per-click search results! What will they think of next? Anyway, back to listening to the tunes.

Posted by Andrew
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"Concern" Over Yahoo is Wall Street Hooey

Today Yahoo stock is up significantly on news of surging revenues and profitability. One analyst says that as far as he is concerned, Yahoo is restored to full health.

But other analysts remain very, very concerned about Yahoo's future. After all, Yahoo isn't allowed to turn a profit. Yahoo is evil (hey, I even wrote that myself). Haven't we all learned that companies like this are stupid? (We never bought that line, but that doesn't stop the Wall Street pundits and their journalistic handmaidens from selling this orthodoxy.)

Here's a good one: one of the concerns about Yahoo - which has now driven advertising down to only 60% of its total revenue base with the introduction of a raft of fee-based services - is that most of this growth in revenue is coming from "new business areas."

Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Find new business areas? And if they're so new, aren't these the types of areas that can sustain 50-100% growth rates for the first two or three years?

Who knows why analysts say the things they do. No doubt there are a few firms caught with nasty short positions in Yahoo. Good luck!

Posted by Andrew
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Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Yahoo Renews with Google

It seems that Yahoo has decided to stay with Google to provide search results, but it has made substantial changes to the way it presents results.

It's also the case that the partnership is non-exclusive. Inktomi claims they are still in talks with Yahoo.

Posted by Andrew
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Yahoo! Confounds Analysts by Turning a Profit

Yahoo? Profitable? Upping guidance for 2003? How is this possible?

Who cares, as long as it's possible.

Shareholders, at the very least, are happy they won't have to wallpaper their homes with Yahoo! shares.

$1 billion a year in revenue is a big number by any measure. It becomes a much more impressive number when it's accompanied by solid profitability.

Posted by Andrew
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Tuesday, October 08, 2002

LookSmart News

LookSmart's Wisenut is back on Infospace's metasearch properties. They had been temporarily been removed, reportedly because Wisenut could not adequately handle the search volume generated by the partnership. In short, if you have a small business listing on LookSmart, it means your result is likely to show up on Metacrawler, Dogpile, Excite Search, and Webcrawler.

Posted by Andrew
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Monday, October 07, 2002

Paid Inclusion Annoyances

So, I finally emerged from my state of denial about having to pay to get into many search engines, and I bit the bullet. I paid for inclusion for Vino.com, the fine wine portal that I co-created, in the following engines:

1. Ask Jeeves (Supposedly the No. 2 search engine now?)

2. Inktomi (Not as important as it once was, but still worth doing thanks to its MSN connection)

3. AltaVista (Egads, does anyone use AV anymore? My server logs say no, but that could just be due to the way outdated listing that Vino.com had)

All of these services, except Jeeves, say that your site will be indexed within 24-72 hours of payment, but I'm certain it took longer than that for all of them. Inktomi was nice enough to notify me when the site was indexed, but I didn't hear a peep from AltaVista.

AltaVista's registration process is annoying, too, for many reasons mainly related to billing procedures. I chose to use the ineedhits.com service for Jeeves and Inktomi since they manage the programs for both engines, and it's nice to be consistent for ease of maintenance.

There seems to be a lag time between the moment a site is included in its index and the time that the site shows up in MSN, HotBot, etc. And speaking of HotBot, I don't even think Inktomi is feeding them at all. I can find Vino.com in it, but other sites that I paid for are nowhere to be found there. Is Inktomi still supplying listings to HotBot? If not, Inktomi had better remove them from their partners page.

The ineedhits.com reporting system seems OK, but I'll be damned if I could find traffic reporting figures in the AltaVista program. Also, it would be nice to get e-mail notifications from all of the engines when a newly indexed site is successfully syndicated on partner sites.

All in all, I'm fairly disappointed with these paid inclusion programs. They just don't seem to be ready for prime time. But, if the results are good, I won't complain too much. The costs are relatively cheap, and you pretty much have to buck up if you want to keep pace with your competitors. But, then there's the annual fees! Argh.....

Posted by Cory
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I Went on Down to the Google Store, and...

I'm crying the blues tonight after trying to buy green, yellow, and yes, blue Google pens online at the Google Store. You know, the ones shaped like lava lamps that all my family want to receive as stocking stuffers this year. Seems they've outsourced the order fulfilment to UPS - nothing wrong with that of course. Unfortunately, I found out that to ship three pens ($9.95 each) would cost $40 because I'm an "international" customer and UPS super-fast delivery is mandatory for "international" customers. Hey Google/UPS, you know it really doesn't take a lot of effort to ship stuff to Canada via regular mail for about two bucks. They're pens! This $30 order just turned into a $70 order.

Not to worry, though, I plan to sidle down to the Google Canada sales office on King Street here in Toronto and ask for a "tour of the office supplies area."

Of course, it's international shipping issues such as this that caused Amazon to finally open Amazon.ca, which will make some serious waves in the local bookseller market in the next five years. Amazon.ca has all of its delivery done by Canada Post Corporation - which it would have done in any case, probably, but they've signed a special partnership of some kind. The formerly plain red and white mail trucks now have huge Amazon.ca ads on the side. Cool! Who said the dotcom halcyon years were over?

Now if Google would just open up a nice "Google.ca store" - complete with, say, a nice partnership with the UPS folks here, everyone would be happy. I think those brown UPS trucks are long overdue for an update - perhaps a nice, big, colorful Google ad...

Or how about this? Google could sell its stuff on Amazon!

Posted by Andrew
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