The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 24 Jan 2003 - Vol 3 Issue #1  

In this issue...

Time to Rate Last Year's Search Engine Predictions

Google Launches "Down Under"

Yahoo Puts Inktomi Under Their Christmas Tree

HotBot Comes in From the Cold

Google Responds to Search King Lawsuit

Teoma Launches Version 2.0

FAST Reveals Fresh New Features

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 outsourced".
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 first time.
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).
Score: Nostradamus
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 THAT prediction!
Score: NoSuchLuckus


   Greetings Readers!

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 print 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 rankings...

  • Google Launches "Down Under"
   After resolving a domain dispute with the owners of, Google has quietly launched an Australian version of their search engine.
The eagerly- 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 official shortly. In the meantime, you can read my interview with David Krane, Google's Director of Corporate Communications about their plans for Google Australia.

Full Story...

  • 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.

    Full Story...

  • 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 search-savvy public.

    Full Story...

  • 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).

    Full Story...

  • 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.

    Full Story...

  • FAST Reveals Fresh New Features
  •   This week, FAST unveiled several new features to further improve the end-user search experience for users of The new features are outlined below and include automatic language mapping, browser integration shortcuts, Boolean search, and an enhanced query language guide.

    Full story and more search engine news...

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