MSN has released new information on its forthcoming search technology.

MSN Blogbot & Newsbot

MSN product manager, Karen Redezki told Matt Hicks of eWeek that MSN will be launching a blog and news service to the public before its new algorithmic search engine is released. Read more…

On March 26, 2004, Yahoo! announced the pending purchase of the european comparison shopping portal Kelkoo.com.

According to Terry Semel, chariman and CEO of Yahoo!,”Kelkoo will add depth and breadth to Yahoo!’s integrated network of services for consumers, and adds another set of powerful tools for marketers seeking to reach them.” He also explained the purchase in more detail: “commerce has emerged as a key component of search, and the combination of Web search, product search and comparison shopping will help further Yahoo!’s goal to create the most comprehensive and best user experience on the Web globally. Read more…

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Friday, March 19th, 2004

Google looks local

Google is beta testing an extraordinary new tool, Google Local Search. The test is limited to sites from the United States but, if and when Google introduces this feature internationally, it could pose a serious challenge to the publishers of local Yellow Pages directories.

Results from Google Local Search are divided into three column. The first shows the name and phone number of listings. The second column shows the street address. The third column is the most interesting as it displays the website the listing was culled from along with a link to related sites. As a Canadian and a child of the 1980’s, one of the only US zip codes I know by heart is “90210”. As a 14 hour a day IT worker, one of the most important uses of the Yellow Pages is finding a good pizza delivery. Combining the two produced this list.

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Friday, March 19th, 2004

MSN Inks New LookSmart Deal

MSN has inked a deal with LookSmart to display LookSmart results in place of Inktomi results from time to time. The deal, which was finalized early this week, allows MSN to transfer from results drawn from the Inktomi database to results fed by LookSmart whenever MSN feels it is necessary, for whatever reason.

One of the easiest ways of telling if the results you see on MSN are from LookSmart is to look in the top right hand corner of the results page and see the number of sites associated with the keyword phrase. If the number is smaller, the results are most likely drawn from LookSmart. At this time, it is not known why MSN would want to draw results from LookSmart, however the deal does add much needed revenue to LookSmart’s beleaguered bottom line.

At some point or another we have all heard the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Until very recently site owners, webmasters, SEO’s, and pretty much anyone who had anything to do with the Internet was concerned with marketing on one property: Google. Read more…

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Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Changes Afoot

Moments ago our PPC Expert, Scott Van Achte caught a quick preview of the latest Google rankings; it appears there is a serious Google Dance happening at this very moment. We noticed drastic differences in backlinks (link popularity) and placements. In our case, our links popped from 220 to over 750 in mere moments but then they were back to 220 a few minutes later.

It is clear that Google is updating their datacenters so brace yourself for a new round of havoc… lets hope this one is spam-free.

LookSmart has signed a deal with Microsoft for MSN to display LookSmart search results at times. The recent agreement, which LookSmart announced yesterday, leaves it up to MSN to decide when to use the listings.
Read more…

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Friday, March 12th, 2004

Something's Happening at Google

Check out Google’s directory against the page rank numbers delivered by the Google ToolBar. Something is happening at Google and we should see the effects in the coming days.

About one month ago we noticed that a healthy chunk of our traffic was coming from a search engine in China called Baidu.com. In this case the actual site was mp3.baidu.com and the search engine had honed in on Jim Hedger’s mp3 recorded interview with the BBC regarding Google’s possible IPO. Since StepForth primarily promotes english-oriented search engines, this was the first time we had ever seen Baidu.com. So we decided to do a little digging on this search engine. Now according to an article from Reuters found on ZDNet, Baidu is among a host of Chinese search engines that are looking to make a dent in the search engine industry! In fact, the CEO of an up and coming search property bought by Yahoo! in November (anyone left out there?) said that his job is to “kick Google’s ass.” Read more…

For those that dislike advertising and pop-ups Norton Internet Security 2004 is a dream come true, but for advertisers it could be your worst nightmare…

The newest version of Norton Personal Firewall includes a new web assistant that allows users to block ads and pop-ups, this setting is turned on by default and is stirring up some controversy, but how does this affect the PPC world? Read more…