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Thursday, February 26th, 2004

New Trends in Search Engines and SEO

The past year has been one of major transition in the search engine industry. Changes to the landscape have been enormous with mergers, acquisitions, and the easing of several formerly big-players out of the sector or, in the case of AltaVista, Lycos and LookSmart, into the minor leagues. We’ve seen new technologies and revenue models being tested by search firms, along with fresh promises of personalized ad-delivery through contextual placement. While there is no end in sight for changes in this evolving medium, this is a good time to examine the impact of such upheaval on the state of website marketing and search engine placement. Read more…

Yahoo unleashed the biggest surprise of the year today with the formal introduction of their own search engine. While the vast majority of search engine analysts were expecting Yahoo to simply adopt results from the powerful Inktomi database, Yahoo has been quietly and apparently quite effectively developing their own spider, database and ranking algorithms. Last month, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel announced that Yahoo would be moving away from results licensed from Google’s database by the end of this quarter. Read more…

Just so y’all know, MSN is currently displaying results drawn from the Looksmart database. Looksmart is still supplying results for MSN to use whenever they need to tweak with Inktomi’s feed.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

The search engine war between Google and MSN is generating some nasty tactics reminiscent of the Microsoft vs. Netscape battle of the mid ’90’s. Those who remember that battle will recall the almost surgical methods used by Microsoft to all but destroy Netscape. Read more…

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

Google Email – Google going portal

Google Going Portal? That’s how it looks from the outside as Google announced it is thinking about introducing a Google Email feature along the lines of Yahoo, MSN and Lycos. Google has taken the concept a step further however and will likely use the new offering as a delivery vehicle for paid advertisements. This move might disappoint long-term Google users who have become accustomed to the clean interface that characterizes Google for many. Given the battle between Google, MSN and Yahoo however, it should come as no surprise that Google is looking to ensure brand-loyalty from its users.

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

MSN/Yahoo Shift to Inktomi

For a short time last week, both MSN and Yahoo were displaying results drawn from Inktomi. MSN continues to use results directly from the Inktomi database but it appears that Yahoo has reverted back to results from Google, for the time being. Last Thursday (Jan. 15), MSN dropped results from LookSmart and went pure Inktomi. Yahoo, on the other hand, has announced that by the end of March, they too will have switched over completely from Google to Inktomi generated results. In the meantime, Yahoo seems to be experimenting with results from Inktomi by bleeding them in at different times and in different locations.

Beginning today, more than a dozen Web sites, including MSN, ESPN, Lycos and iVillage, will run full-motion video commercials from Pepsi, AT&T, Honda, Vonage and Warner Brothers, in a six-week test that some analysts and online executives say could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising. While the ads will allow viewers to close the window displaying the 30-second spots, Internet commercials may well herald a new era in online advertising. Chances are, online-video advertisements will be treated the same way folks treat TV commercials. At least geeks will have more time to eat properly from now on.

We’ve all known today was coming, the day MSN drops LookSmart listings in favour of listings from Inktomi. We are starting to see Inktomi listings appearing on MSN. Inktomi is owned by Yahoo! and will also be delivering results to Yahoo! in the coming months. Between MSN and Yahoo!, Inktomi has just become more important than Google as the major traffic driver on the web.

We knew the Google-slayer was coming in the future… With Google’s recent upsets, it appears the future is happening now.

2003 was a watershed year in the search engine industry. Not only was it the year of mergers and acquisitions, it was also the year that the media, business and financial sectors really took notice. It was a very busy year for the SEO sector as well, perhaps marking the maturity of the optimization industry. With so much action and so many changes, one almost required a scorecard to keep up. By the end of 2003 the search world looked remarkably different than it did at the beginning. Some firms were big winners while others were huge losers. Here’s our list to kick off the new year. Read more…

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends in the United States. American Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the end of the previous year and the start of the holiday season. It is the perfect time to kick back, visit family and friends and reminisce about the year gone past. It is also a great time to look forward to the coming year and have a little fun. That’s what our staff wanted to do today so here is our predictions for the State of Search, 2004.

* Google will issue an IPO in March (odds = 99%) via the Dutch Auction format. (odds = 50%) Google will make billions on the IPO and will purchase the financially strapped Calgary Flames Hockey club, move them to the Silicone Valley and rename them the Silicone Flameouts. (odds = 5%)

* We will see a continuance of large mergers, takeovers and buyouts until the end of the first quarter of 2004. More of the smaller players will be absorbed by the larger ones including at least a portion of ASK.Com. (odds = 60%). Jeeves himself will be found drunk in an alley behind the Stardust Lounge on Rodeo Dr. slumped over his friend, that other unemployed mascot from Pets.Com (odds = 5%)

* Yahoo will become the dominant search service in China (odds = 85%) and will become known as the “Portal to the World’s Largest Marketplace” (odds = 65%)

* Terra Lycos will surprise the search world with successful innovations and services. (odds = 99%) Furthermore, Lycos will become one of the top international search tools with a strong focus on European and Spanish Language search technologies. (odds = 55%)

* Contextual Advertising opportunities will expand, allowing more opportunities for the advertiser to become the advertising medium for other ads. (odds = 85%)

* Asian language SEOs will be a driving force of the SEO industry as the focus of the international economy continues to move from North America to Asia. (odds = 75%)

* The Toronto Maple Leafs will finally win the Stanley Cup. (odds = .05%)

* Google will be officially labeled a weapon of mass destruction based on the recent Florida update. (odds = 99%)

* Non-Spammy results will be found at Google very soon. (odds = 10%)

* Every major search engine will introduce their own tool-bars. (odds = 90%)

* MSN will make a major purchase, possibly ASK.Com’s TEOMA (odds = 50%)

* StepForth Placement will expand to double it’s current size and staff (odds = 80%+)

* StepForth Placement will add a new division (details pending, odds = 100%)