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.”

Right now AskJeeves has a search engine that, in my opinion, is truly impressive. The natural language processing and wealth of quality information in their database has become so good that searching by query actually provides relevant results 90% of the time! This is a vast improvement over the original natural language system that Ask had in place just a year ago. When asked what made AskJeeves so different from its competitors, Jim answered decisively that it was Ask’s search technology that put it in a category all of its own. Why the technology? Read more…

It appears that Yahoo!’s bold and less than brilliant foray into ” Looksmart-like ” paid inclusion may have been the final nudge that AskJeeves needed to shut down their paid inclusion program, Index Express (not Index Connect which is Inktomi). This significant shift of AskJeeves away from their 18 month-old paid inclusion program appears to be a timely distancing from the pending storm coming to Yahoo! after it announced its new Site Match system. Read more…

We’re still calling people and trying to root out the information. Here is a press release forwarded by Ana, a spokesperson for the PR firm Fleishman Heller…

Yahoo! Search Launches New Content Acquisition Program, Providing More Relevant, Comprehensive Online Content For Users Read more…

I am still looking for more information on this one and have been on hold at Yahoo for several minutes now. A major change in pricing and distribution has been announced but, after reading several items relating to these changes, all we know is that we don’t know enough to piece together an informative piece. We’re obsessing on this one today so expect a few more postings and finally a real answer.

As searchers become more sophisticated, the search engines are forced to evolve to keep up with the changing times.

During a session at WebmasterWorld’s Publishers Conference VI, Tim Mayer from Yahoo! Search explained how Yahoo! has improved its abstracts, the presentation of its results pages, and how it has developed a new algorithm designed specifically to focus on longer query searches using more terms. Read more…

ZNet writer Stephanie Olsen has uncovered a terribly interesting story. Why do you think Yahoo spent so much money buying AltaVista, AlltheWeb and Inktomi if it is simply going to develop its own search engine with its own database? For the intellectual properties associated with the patents their acquisitions hold. Read more…