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The Search Light Newsletter - Vol. 2 Issue #7


                THE SEARCH LIGHT

          Guiding your web site to the

            top of the search engines...


3 July 2002                        Vol. 2 Issue # 7       

Editor : Kalena Jordan, CEO, Web Rank Ltd


 Welcome to the "THE SEARCH LIGHT".

 You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you
 are one of our clients, you've subscribed, requested
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 If you like this newsletter, please forward a copy of it to any
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 would like to improve their ranking in the search engines.


    =>  Editor’s Message
    =>  Sponsorship Notice
    =>  Feature Article – A Review of WebPosition Gold™ v2.0 BETA
                                     (To be posted within the next few days)
    =>  Industry News News From Search Engine Strategies Sydney
US FTC Slaps Search Engines on the Wrist
Google Adds AT&T to Their Growing Partner List
FAST Boasts Largest Search Index
LookSmart Australia Woos NineMSN & Pacific Access
Google Now Twice as Popular as Yahoo!
Overture Introduces Auto Bidding Tool
Board Rebellion at LookSmart Ltd
Rules Relaxed For AU Domain Registration
XtraMSN Teams Up With LookSmart New Zealand
                                  – New (Free) Search Term Suggestion Tool
        – TopDog Threatened by Pirated Version
                                  – Yahoo! Gets a Nip and Tuck
    =>  Search Engine FAQ's – Should I Submit to or a Regional Version?
    =>  Site Spotlight – Obligation Free SEO Quotation
=>  Subscribe / Unsubscribe information


Hi Readers,

I must be suffering from post-holiday blues. I’ve been
having the hardest time getting back into the swing of
things this month and arriving back at work to a sky
high In-Tray, hundreds of spam emails and a PC with
major technical problems didn’t help. 

I’m still working on my review of WebPosition Gold’s
v2.0 BETA program and I didn’t want to hold up the
newsletter any longer so I’ve provided a link to the future
location of the article. I expect to complete the review
in the next week.

Hopefully, all this explains the lateness of this month’s
newsletter - I call it PHP: Post-Holiday Procrastination.
Actually, so much happened in the search engine space
during my absence that it took me a while to get my
head around it all and prepare this issue. 

But I’ve made up for it with a bumper news edition, our
largest ever! It’s packed full of all the latest search engine
news from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. 

Lastly, I want to say a special hello to Wendy Riley,
winner of our Search Engine Strategies Sydney
Competition last month. Wendy made the most of her
free pass to the Conference, flying over to attend with
her husband from Christchurch, New Zealand. Great
to meet you both Wendy and I hope you and Andrew
didn’t have to make use of those AltaVista stress balls
on the flight back!

Till next month - happy reading,

Kalena J


Sell Your Stuff Here!

That’s right, The Search Light is looking for
sponsors for our next couple of newsletters.

If your product or service is about web site
design, promotion or search engine marketing
and you want to reach a niche market tuned in
to the industry, contact us via the email below
using “newsletter sponsorship” in your subject
line and we’ll send you the details.

But it’s first in, best dressed and we are only
accepting one sponsor per issue. So what are
you waiting for? Get off that butt and email quick!


A Review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 (BETA)
                     by Kalena Jordan

FirstPlace Software™, creators of the popular web site marketing software
WebPosition Gold ™, recently announced the forthcoming release of the
long-awaited version 2 of their product. WPG v2.0 is already available in Beta
format and boasts an impressive number of new features to help web masters
ensure their web sites are spider friendly, ranking highly and submitted to the
most appropriate search engines and directories worldwide.

I decided to review the BETA version of the new software and share my findings
via a detailed article
. I’ll be limiting my review to the new features and
enhancements provided by WPG v2.0, rather than concentrate on all features
of the product. However
the evaluation process is taking longer than I thought,
so rather than rush my findings, I’ve decided to delay the article by a few days. 

[Article now available via the link below]

In the meantime, learn more about WebPosition via the following links: 

More: (home page)
 (outline of features in v2.0)

          (interview with FirstPlace Software President, Brent Winters, about WPG v2.0)


News >From Search Engine Strategies Sydney

Attendees at the Search Engine Strategies Conference held in Sydney
on June 11 & 12 seemed very impressed with the quality of the information
presented and the organization of the event itself. The first search-specific
Conference held in Australia, SES Sydney demonstrated a maturing of
the search industry in the region and paved the way for future similar events.

My sessions went well and I was able to talk to many of the attendees between
events. They all agreed a Conference of this type was long overdue to meet
the burgeoning search market in Australia and New Zealand. Actually I was
pleasantly surprised to see so many attendees from New Zealand – perhaps
organizers will hold a similar Conference across the Tasman soon.

Probably the biggest news that came out of the Conference was the strong
support for Google to establish an Australian version of their search engine.
Currently, Google are in a legal dispute with the existing owners of the domain and have delayed setting up a regional version until the dispute
is resolved. But Google’s International Manager David Lee said he was so
impressed with the support shown by Google fans at the Conference, that he
may lead discussions about the possibility of launching Google Australia on a
temporary domain, ahead of schedule. Google also hinted at the possibility of
rolling out country-specific pricing for their AdWords product, following complaints
by Australian users that the U.S. traffic based pricing did not accurately reflect
the regional markets and out-priced many potential regional clients. (By the
way David, where’s my promised T-shirt? LOL!).

I also got chatting with Kevin Eyres from AltaVista International at the Conference.
Kevin found it interesting that many Australian-based audience members were
choosing to search at, despite the availability of
The reason? A perception that the regional domain would provide a limited number
of relevant results compared to the U.S. version. This just isn’t true, according to
Kevin. In fact he claims that all U.S. AltaVista content is available on each of their
country indices. He also claims that has the most relevant Australian
content of all the regional search engines, with 16 million local pages indexed.
During his presentation, Kevin also mentioned that currently, AltaVista uses over
100 different factors in their ranking algorithm. This, they say, makes it almost
impossible for spammers to manipulate the search results.

The OpenDirectory Project (ODP) representative, Clive Ronneberg, also had some
interesting points to make at the Conference. One tidbit was that ODP only employs
two full time staff, with the rest made up entirely of volunteers. Clive also made a
point to mention that Australian web site owners often make the mistake of thinking
they can only submit to one ODP category, when they can submit to both a topical
category AND a regional category. Of course this applies to web site owners
world-wide – so make use of that extra category if you haven’t already! Clive also
provided a URL that listed all the ODP editors – very handy if you need to follow up: LookSmart Australia announced a number of new
partnerships at the Conference, which have their own news stories featured below.

Also, some revealing facts about search engine use in Australia and New Zealand
were shown during one of the final sessions. According to Gavin Appel of Sinewave,
only 23.2% of Australian searchers actually use regional search engines, with 76.8%
preferring to use international search engines. The figure is even more significant in
New Zealand with only 20.5% using regional search engines and 79.5% using the
international engines, according to Peter McNamara of Internet Marketing Engine.
What makes these figures interesting is the fact that New Zealand has around twice
as many regional search engines as Australia, yet the huge majority of searchers
still use U.S. based engines and directories. Could this be the result of poor
advertising and promotion?

Finally a big thank you to Danny Sullivan for being so friendly, welcoming and
supportive to all the speakers. Thanks also to moderator Detlev Johnson and
Conference organizers for making it run like clockwork. You did a splendid job
and I look forward to taking part next time SES heads Down Under.

If anyone missed the Conference and would like to see my presentations on
Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites and Successful Site Architecture, they are
now available for download from the agenda below. Meanwhile, the next SES
Conference will be held in San Jose, California. Details below.


U.S. Federal Trade Commission Slaps Search Engines on the Wrist

In response to a complaint by consumer watchdog Commercial Alert last year,
the US Federal Trade Commission has released an official reply to search
engines and Commercial Alert, strongly recommending the major search
engines more adequately disclose their paid placement content.

It seems that while some search engines are making a clear delineation between
their regular search results and their paid content, others are muddying the
distinction and others not bothering to make a distinction at all. Culprits include, who label paid ads as “Featured Listings” with no clear
definition of what this means,, who do the same thing using the
heading ”Featured Sites” and the nearly defunct, who apparently
don’t bother distinguishing at all between their paid and free search listings.

This is potentially misleading consumers say the FTC, who believe that search
engines need to make the distinction between paid and regular search results
a lot clearer:

“Clear and conspicuous disclosures would put consumers in a better position
to determine the importance of these practices in their choice of search engines
to use… Factors to be considered in making such a disclosure clear and
conspicuous are prominence, placement, presentation… and proximity to a
claim that it explains and qualifies”.

With search portals such as MSN and offering search results
made up almost entirely of paid listings, significant changes to the way they
structure their indexes are inevitable as a result of this FTC statement. With
up to 60% of consumers interviewed by Consumers Union this year unaware
that search engines accepted fees for prominent positioning in their results,
the impact of clearer listing delegation could seriously erode market share as
searchers begin to recognize the extent of paid advertising and return to
“purer” search providers.

According to Gary Ruskin, Executive Director of Commercial Alert, only Google
appeared to be currently meeting the standards outlined in the trade commission's

Not content to limit their recommendations to Pay Per Click models, the FTC has
suggested Paid Inclusion models incorporate more responsible disclosure as well.
While stopping short at suggesting paid inclusion results be segregated as per
their recommendation for pay per click listings, the FTC has emphasized the need
for better disclosure:

“Consumers should be able to easily locate your explanation of the paid inclusion
program you use, and discern the impact of paid inclusion in search results lists…” 

While the FTC sees no need for further action against search engines at this time,
they make it quite clear that the recommendations outlined in the letter should be
adhered to “so that businesses may avoid possible future Commission action”.

Apart from a few initial knee jerk reactions (linked below), how search engines
will respond to the recommendations is yet to be seen. With nearly all the major
engines and directories offering some type of paid inclusion or paid placement
model these days, the FTC’s announcement is likely to have a huge impact on
the search industry over the next few months. Stay tuned!

          (FTC Letter to Search Engines)

          (FTC Letter to Commercial Alert)

          (Initial reaction to the FTC Letter by the search industry)

          (Other articles about the issue)

Google Adds AT&T To Their Growing Partner List

Yesterday, Google announced a major deal with AT&T Worldnet to
provide their millions of subscribers with access to Google search
results via the AT&T Worldnet Site (

The deal also sees Google AdWords paid advertisements appearing
on the site, adding significantly to Google’s growing audience for their
paid placement product.


FAST Boasts Largest Search Index

The Norwegian search engine FAST (owners of are
once again boasting the largest search engine database, with a total of
2,095,568,809 pages in their index. This sneaks above Google’s database
of 2,073,418,204 pages as of June 17. FAST also claim to have the freshest
search index on the Internet, with a refresh cycle of 7 to 11 days.

While Google claim to have indexed over 3 billion documents, only around
two thirds of these are estimated to be web pages. The FAST announcement
is sure to attract attention, particularly with Yahoo! preparing to award a
contract to either Google or FAST this month to provide secondary search


LookSmart Australia Woos NineMSN & PacificAccess

At the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Sydney, LookSmart Australia
announced a deal with to provide LookListings paid search
results to the Australian MSN portal. The deal is significant in that combined
with recent partnerships with Yahoo Australia, OPTUSnet, GoEureka and
AOL Australia, LookSmart is beginning to dominate the relatively small
Australian search market.

LookSmart also recently announced a five year partnership with Pacific Access,
a subsidiary of Telstra Corporation and provider of the offline and online Yellow
® in Australia. The deal between the two companies kicks off this month
and sees Pacific Access become a reseller of LookSmart Australia’s LookListings
(paid directory listings), to be bundled with Yellow Pages
® Online products.
In return,
LookSmart will add Yellow Pages® OnLine directory listings to their
directory and include a link to the Yellow Pages® OnLine site where appropriate.

With the current lack of local competition, particularly in the paid listings market,
LookSmart Australia are able to demand higher prices for their premium
sponsorships, their LookListings product and their paid directory submission
product. I wonder how long it will be before some enterprising search provider
recognizes a gap in the local market place and gives LookSmart Australia a run
for their money?

          (LookSmart Australia press release regarding NineMSN deal)

          (LookSmart Australia press release regarding PacificAccess deal)
(Interview with LookSmart Australia CEO during SES Sydney)

Google Now Twice as Popular as Yahoo!

According to analysis firm, Google is now the most popular
search engine in the world, taking 51 percent of global usage. This makes
Google twice as popular as Yahoo! who came in at 20 percent and MSN
Search with only 8.4 percent of global usage.

Google also came up trumps in a recent US study comparing the average
number of hours visitors spent searching at the most popular search engines.
US web searches spent nearly 13 million hours searching Google in March
2002, compared with 5.4 million hours spent at Yahoo! and 4.9 million
search hours spent at MSN Search.


Overture Introduces Auto Bidding Tool

Pay Per Click provider has just released a new Auto Bidding
system that allows advertisers to set a maximum bid for each of their listings,
reducing the need for continuous bid checks.

The system then continually compares your maximum bid with those of your
competitors and adjusts the cost so that you pay a cent more than the maximum
bid of the next highest competitor without exceeding the maximum per click
amount you've set.

Auto Bidding also helps you save time by eliminating bid gaps on an ongoing basis, which means you no longer have to continuously update your bids manually. This is an important distinction because previously advertisers had to rely on 3rd party tools such as BidRank if they wanted this functionality. How this will impact Bid Management Software providers will be discussed in a future newsletter.

More :

Board Rebellion at LookSmart Ltd

LookSmart Ltd is experiencing a rebellion of sorts at the heart of their
. Last week three directors resigned en masse following
”irreconcilable differences” between themselves and the rest of the
board regarding future company strategy. The outgoing directors are
Robert Ryan, Mariann Byerwalter and James Tananbaum.

With LookSmart’s Chief Executive Evan Thornley already scheduled
to depart office in early October, the future of LookSmart Ltd seems
shaky right now. LookSmart’s Chief Operating Officer, Jason Kellerman,
will take up leadership of LookSmart on October 1, with Thornley
remaining on as Chairman.

In a recent conference call, Mr Thornley stressed the departing
directors’ decision was in no way based on financial or accounting
irregularities. He did concede that his decision to remain as Chairman
was opposed by some directors. No mention was made about whether
the public outcry over the controversial introduction of their pay-per-click
listings had any bearing on the matter.

Meanwhile, LOOK stock continues to plummet, dropping to a three month
low of USD 1.37 last week.

More :

            (SF Gate article about the resignations)
            (LookSmart’s official announcement)
            (Forum hype about the issue)

Rules Relaxed for AU Domain Registration

Melbourne IT, the official Australian Registrar for the domain space has
introduced a new Domain Name Registry System and regulatory environment as
of July 1, 2002.

The biggest change is the implementation of a new policy, which relaxes
the previously strict domain purchasing and management rules. Now companies
are able to register more that one per entity. This means companies no
longer need to register additional business or company names in order to apply
for multiple names. This is great news as it reduces overhead costs for
start-ups and firms requiring multiple web sites.

The previous derivation rule for no longer applies. Now businesses
can apply for domain names that include:

§         the name of their product or service

§         the name of an event they organize or sponser

§         the name of an activity which the registrant provides (e.g. training)

§         the name of a venue operated by the registrant

§         the name of a profession practiced by the registrant

§         the name of a trademark or pending trademark of the registrant

Also good news is that generic names (such as which
were previously off limits via the old system may now become available for

Under the new system, each domain name has a Registrar of Record
entered in the database. Now when your domain name licence expires you can
renew it through your Registrar of Record or you may decide to transfer to another
auDA Accredited Registrar, in which case they will become your new Registrar
of Record.

          (PDF document outlining new rules and regulations)

XtraMSN Teams Up With LookSmart New Zealand

Using their strong alliance with MSN, LookSmart Australia & New Zealand
have teamed up with MSN’s New Zealand arm – XtraMSN - for the launch of
LookListings New Zealand.

If you submit your Web site to LookSmart’s New Zealand directory using
LookListings and it is accepted, it will now appear in the search results of as well. Submission costs NZD400 per URL, with
the ability to submit up to 3 URL’s from each domain.

With the launch comes the long-awaited ability to submit a site to LookSmart’s
New Zealand directory located at to submit a site
to this directory in the past has been something of a nightmare, with broken links,
submission forms leading to dead-ends and un-returned emails. When I asked
LookSmart Australia CEO Damian Smith about this at the recent Search Engine
Strategies Conference, he suggested that the NZ Directory “has not been a very
high priority” for them due to the relatively low volume of traffic it provided.

I for one am very glad to see LookSmart finally providing a reliable way to submit
URL’s to their regional New Zealand directory, albeit at a price. Perhaps this will
signal a growth in New Zealand traffic for the directory. Certainly the ability to
piggyback a listing into the popular XtraMSN portal should make a huge difference.

          (Product Offering from LookSmart New Zealand)           
          (XtraMSN Search Home Page)

New (Free) Search Term Suggestion Tool

A San Francisco based search company S.L.I. Systems, Inc. has made available
a revolutionary new keyword suggestion tool free of charge.

The tool appears to be along the lines of the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool.
The company says their tool will help advertisers ensure they're buying the right
keywords online for campaigns on Google, Overture and others. S.L.I. claims to
have generated more than 25 million relationships between 3 million search terms
using its Learning Search™ technology, software that is apparently able to learn
from actual search behaviour to improve search results.

I haven’t had time to test drive the new tool yet but hope to do so before next
month’s newsletter.

More :
            (Press Release about the tool)            
            (The tool itself)

TopDog Threatened by Pirated Version

A real dog fight has begun between developers of TopDog search engine promotion
software DC Micro Development and former programmer Michael Lange.

It seems Lange had a bone to pick with the company – after leaving he set up a
new version of the software (allegedly using code stolen from DC Micro) called
TopDog Pro version 7. Lange then proceeded to market the software to existing
owners of the real TopDog, recently going so far as to hijack the browsers of
existing TopDog users when they open the original product and redirecting them
to his own URL As well as confusing existing TopDog
users, Lange’s actions have been widely criticized in the search engine forums.

The dispute has escalated to the point where DC Micro has filed a lawsuit against
Lange in Kentucky with Lange responding with a suit against them in Georgia. Lange’s actions have caused Network Solutions to place a hold on the domain name until the dispute is resolved. The Top Dog web site is still accessible by IP address at: but updates to the program are no longer available at the original site. To combat the problem, representatives of DC Micro recommend that existing TopDog users download and install the latest Top Dog program from which will update correctly.

          (Article from Pandia about the controversy)
         (Forum discussions about TopDog)
         (The temporary TopDog site)

Yahoo! Gets a Nip and Tuck

Today Yahoo! revealed a face lift for their home page. They’ve updated their logo
banner and graphics and rearranged the navigation of the site substantially. They’ve also increased the font size, doubled the home page area, and refined the categories.

Yahoo claim that the changes are to ensure their visitors have faster access to a
wider range of content. Let them know what you think!

          (The new version)

          (The old version)

          (explanation of the changes)

*-----------------HOT TIP------------------*

            Need to block on a whole page of
            content with your mouse? Can’t be
            bothered dragging your mouse over
            the whole page? You don’t have to.
            Simply hit Control and the “A” key
            at the same time and the whole page
            is selected for you.

         *-----------------HOT TIP------------------*

 Should I Submit to or a Regional Version?

Web Rank answers your search engine questions.
Please submit your FAQ's

I didn’t receive an FAQ in time for this edition, so I thought
I’d address an issue brought up at the SES Conference
in Sydney: If you own a regional domain and you want to submit
your site to Yahoo!, should you submit to or
the regional version of Yahoo?

Let’s have a look at a hypothetical example. Say you own and and you want to list in
Yahoo. The choice is easy – you should submit the .com
version to and the regional version to
(assuming each site has unique content). However if you only
own and you want to get listed in Yahoo –
which Yahoo version should you submit to?

Well it depends on your target market. If you are only targeting
an Australian audience, then it makes sense to submit to using their Paid Submission option OR their
Basic Submit option. Basic Submit is free but has the disadvantage
of taking a lot longer, with no guarantee of review.

If, however, your web site targets a U.S. or global audience, I would
definitely submit it using Express Submission to the appropriate
Australian regional category in Sure there is no free
submit option for commercial sites on, but if accepted,
your site will be seen by a wider audience and also eventually
appear in anyway.

Hope this helps!


Please submit your FAQ


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Last month we discussed several important topics including:

– WebPosition™ Releases v2.0 Beta & Rejects Reporting Issues
   (Interview with Brent Winters, President of FirstPlace Software™)
– Google, AOL & Dilbert Share the Sheets
– Search Engine Strategies Sydney Update
– Overture Announces 3 Year Deal with Yahoo!
– Open Directory Forum Gets Two
– LookSmart Asks For Feedback – Too Late
– The Feedback LookSmart DIDN’T Ask For
Google’s New Editorial Policies Baffle Advertisers
– Maximizing Your Profits on
Google AdWords Select
– Countdown to Launch of SEO Consultants Directory
– The Ole “Hyphenated Keywords In the Domain” Trick

If you missed these or other key topics, you can find back
issues of The Search Light at:


No part of this newsletter may be copied without permission from
Web Rank, the copyright owners 2002.  You may forward this
newsletter, as long as it's kept in its entirety.


The information presented in The Search Light has been compiled from
various sources for the benefit of our clients. You should not rely on
the information contained within this newsletter as detailed advice.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Web
In providing this information, we make every effort to ensure it is
correct and up to date. However, because of the widespread nature of
our information sources, no guarantee is given for the accuracy of
content throughout this publication. Web Rank disclaim all liability in
the event of inaccuracies found.



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