Time to Rate Last Year's Search Engine Predictions
By Kalena Jordan of Web Rank Ltd
Those of you who are long time subscribers to this
newsletter will remember my article
from way back in December 2001 titled
Search Engine Predictions for 2002.
It's time to take a look at that article and the grand
predictions I made for the search industry to determine
whether I'm a "Nostradamus" or a "NoSuchLuckus". Here
were my personal predictions for 2002:
1. Increase in Pay For Performance (PFP) Options
My first prediction for the year 2002 related to pay for
performance options: "I see this trend increasing,
with the major engines and directories expanding on the
range of PFP options they provide, whether in-house or
Looks like I was right on the money with this one. By
the end of 2002, all but one of the major search
engines and directories had a pay for performance
option available. Paid inclusion services in particular
proved to be a popular addition to search engines in
2002, with Lycos, FAST / AllTheWeb and Ask Jeeves /
Teoma each introducing a paid inclusion product for the
Pay per click services also gained in
popularity in 2002, with Google introducing their
AdWords Select Pay Per Click product in February 2002
(that recently!) and Overture spreading their market
reach via major partnerships with AOL Europe in
January, MSN in February and September, InfoSeek in
March, Yahoo in April, CNET and AltaVista in May,
Lycos Europe in June, Yahoo Japan in November, CNN
and Freeserve in December.
The popularity of Google's AdWords grew quickly
throughout the year, with AdWords becoming a major
competitor to Overture, helped along by new
partnerships with Earthlink in February, AOL in May, Ask
Jeeves / Teoma and AT&T in July, InfoSpace in
September and Yahoo Japan in November. In fact,
AdWords became such a threat to Overture that they
filed a files patent infringement lawsuit against Google
in April 2002. I believe the outcome is still pending on
that one. Smaller PPC engines began to gain more
market share in 2002, with eSpotting, FindWhat,
Kanoodle and Ah-Ha each finding a market niche.
And who could forget LookSmart's disastrous entry to
the realm of pay per click in April 2002? The deceptive
nature of LookSmart's announcement and their decision
to force existing Express Directory Submission
customers to rollover into the new PPC system instead
of "grandfathering" their listings demonstrated a
complete lack of market understanding and for some,
forever etched the LookSmart brand with the
word "untrustworthy". It seems LookSmart are still
paying for their mistake months later, with a reduced
market share and a devastated reputation.
As predicted, search engine optimizers have had to
embrace this trend towards Pay for Performance and
integrate it within their traditional site optimization
services in order to offer clients balanced, measurable
and successful search engine marketing campaigns. As
a result, the term SEO has become increasingly eroded
by the more logical term SEM (Search Engine Marketer).
2. Increase in Paid Submissions
My original article predicted: "I believe we'll see other
engines and directories introduce a fee for submission
to their commercial categories. I think Google could be
the first of these".
While the fairly new JoeAnt and GoGuides directories
both introduced paid submission services late in 2002,
they don't really counteract the fact that LookSmart
dropped their directory submission option in favor of
PPC and (thankfully), Google have refrained from
introducing a Paid Submission service. So much for
Here we are being dragged kicking and screaming into
another New Year. Can you believe it? As it's the time
of year we promise to kick bad habits and plan future
goals, I thought it was a fitting time to revisit our old
search engine predictions for 2002 and see just how
rusty my crystal ball was. Have a read of this month's
feature article to see how well I did.
I learned a hard lesson over the holidays. I learned that
not everyone enjoys reading HTML newsletters,
especially those with links to the remainder of articles.
One of my subscribers revealed that she actually
prefers to print out all email newsletters and read them
at a later time, something she could not do with The
Search Light in its current format.
So for Wendy and all of you readers who prefer to
download or print newsletters in their full text glory,
I've created a
version especially for you! All future issues will
also have a link to the printable version. Enjoy this
issue and remember to visit our daily
Search Engine News Blog for the latest industry
news and gossip.
Till next time - wishing you high
- Google Launches "Down Under"
After resolving a domain dispute with the owners of
Google.com.au, Google has quietly launched an
Australian version of their search engine.
awaited Google Australia
went live on December 18 and is already showing
enormous popularity amongst Aussie searchers. It is
expected that Google will be making the launch more
In the meantime, you can read my
interview with David
Krane, Google's Director of Corporate Communications
about their plans for Google Australia.
|Yahoo Puts Inktomi Under Their Christmas Tree
| ||Yahoo surprised
everyone on Christmas Eve by announcing that they plan
to purchase troubled search company Inktomi.
The two firms have signed an agreement that will see
Yahoo acquire Inktomi for a price of $1.65 per share in
cash, making a total purchase price of approximately
$235 million, adjusted for Inktomi's expected debt
balance at the end of the calendar year.
|HotBot Comes in From the Cold
| ||If you can't beat em, join em. That's the position Terra
Lycos appear to have taken with last month's unveiling
of their new version of the HotBot search engine, which
provides users with an interface from which to search
FAST, Google, Inktomi and Teoma.|
After losing ground in the search market, HotBot
owners Terra Lycos decided the best use of the search
portal, (which hasn't been updated in many months),
would be to provide a new tool for the increasingly
|Google Responds to Search King Lawsuit
| ||Back in October of 2002, we
reported how portal developer
Bob Massa of Search King filed a lawsuit against
Google, claiming the search engine "arbitrarily and
purposefully devalued his companies' and his customers'
web sites, causing his business to suffer financially".
Well Google has finally lodged an official response to
the filing, which can be read
here (PDF document).
|Teoma Launches Version 2.0
| ||Popular search site Teoma has
re-invented itself this week,
launching an advanced version of its technology called
Version 2.0. Changes to Teoma (which incidentally,
means "expert" in Gaelic), include improved relevance,
new search tools and advanced functionality.|
|FAST Reveals Fresh New Features
| ||This week, FAST
unveiled several new features to
further improve the end-user search experience for
users of AllTheWeb.com.
The new features are outlined below and include
automatic language mapping, browser integration
shortcuts, Boolean search, and an enhanced query
Full story and more search engine news...