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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…

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Friday, March 12th, 2004

AskJeeves Gets Some Muscle

Further to my AskJeeves Exclusive posted last week there have been some significant changes in the AskJeeves empire. For one thing it doubled in size on March 5th as it bought Interactive Search Holdings, a privately held company in Irvington N.Y. with over $100 million in annual revenues and 200 employees for between $362 million US. Interactive currently owns a family of popular web sites including Excite.com and iWon.com. As of this purchase, Ask owns the “12th-busiest group of Web sites in January, attracting a total of 23.8 million unique visitors, according to comScore Media Metrix, a research firm. Read more…

The search engine marketplace has undergone significant changes over the past 18-months but yesterday’s news from Yahoo! marks a turning point in the industry. Timed to coincide with the New York Search Engine Strategies conference, Yahoo announced a massive increase in paid inclusion fees and distribution of results. While Yahoo! and Overture issued press releases through their public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard, their affiliates and resellers such as Position-Tech and Trellian issued press releases of their own, creating a confusing and at times messy mountain of uninformative information. Read more…

Search provider Ask Jeeves announced today its plans to acquire Interactive Search Holdings, one of the largest privately owned online media and search companies, in a $343 million deal that is part of the company’s efforts to strengthen its grasp on the steadily growing search market.

Last December, comScore Media Metrix reported that Interactive Search Holdings was the ninth most visited United States property on the Internet. The company was launched in 1999 and is commonly known as “the Excite Network.”

Ask Jeeves will double in size with this acquisition, which includes web properties such as the search engine Excite.com and iWon, among others. This news comes after the announcement that Ask Jeeves will drop its paid inclusion program.

“The acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings will be an important step in Ask Jeeves’ growth strategy,” said Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowitz. “This acquisition will enable us to combine Ask Jeeves’ proven strengths in user experience, search technology and brand development with Interactive Search Holdings’ strengths in distribution and direct marketing. By leveraging these two complementary approaches to search, we expect to accelerate Ask Jeeves’ market share gains in 2004 and beyond.”

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