free html hit counter January 2004 - Page 5 of 12 - John Battelle's Search Blog

The Times Notices Google Bombing

By - January 22, 2004

And does a fine job, noting interesting, lesser known examples. Sheesh, Circuits might actually be getting better – this week anyway they seem to be more focused on culture/policy and less focused on gadgets. Good move.

The piece covers the SEO world, quotes Danny, talks about other engines as well. Apparently some libertarians are hard at work making the IRS the #1 SERP for the phrase “organized crime.” They have a way to go.

An interesting meme in the piece: The growing popularity of Google bombing can’t be a welcome development for a company that is expected to begin selling stock to the public in a few months.

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BizWeek on the Trademark Case

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Nice column by Alex on the trademark controversy that is clear and concise.

Of this much I’m sure: Google will be forced to look a lot harder at its keywords in the near future. Take a Google search for Hallmark. It now returns three AdWords listings. One of them links to, one of Hallmark’s competitors in the greeting-card business. If every trademarked company made its name off-limits for use as a keyword, it would mean significant potential for disruptions in the online-ad marketplace.

I Know I Saw It Somewhere…

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Nice piece in the NYT today, in Circuits no less, about finding stuff you’ve seen online before. The author speaks to researchers working on the cluttered and useless Bookmarks feature found in most browsers. (One researcher compares Bookmarks to a messy closet no one wants to open). Researchers found that “some people try to keep track of Web sites by sending themselves an e-mail message with the link and a note of why it might be useful. Others print pages or use sticky notes. Some people, the researchers found, make no attempt to save a page, counting on being able to find it again with a search engine.” Sound familiar?

The article references the MSFT Research project called Stuff I’ve Seen, which automatically watches sites you’ve been to and recalls them based on keyword searches, regardless of whether you bookmarked it. A good idea, I think. MSFT says it is considering adding it to Longhorn, but will probably not break it out as a separate utility.

PS – Dave Winer points to a new beat application that addresses this problem: Furl. I like the premise: Furl is a new web browsing tool that lets you save and organize thousands of useful web pages (you know, the ones you want to save for future reference but then can never find again) in a personal “web page filing cabinet”.

Once saved, you can effortlessly find any page again later using a powerful full text search tool. With Furl you can forget trying to save and organize dozens of bookmarks, forget saving web pages to your desktop, in fact forget everything except how to find a useful web page again next time you need it.

Talk the Talk?

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Via Search Engine Guide I came across this: SearchLimo. You know how Google employee #1 and supergeek Craig Silverstein used to always say he wanted a search engine to “be like the computer on Star Trek“? Well, this is a step in that direction, though I am in no way qualified to judge if this company has the goods to deliver. So what is it? Simply put, voice-driven search.

Now, I *hate* the metaphor used here – a limo – and they’ve made it worse by beating an already dead horse with the tagline “The Web’s Luxury SE.” Gawd. And it’s damn near impossible to find out who is behind this. All the links and About pages are about…how to advertise. The only reference to who is responsible is this: “(SearchLimo) …was developed and built on a freeware VRU platform designed by a prominent institution of higher education…” OK…so…which one? By whom? Can’t find anything. Anyway, it launches officially on Feb 15.

Eurekster Gets Noticed

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eurekster-logo.gifI wrote about this a month or so ago, but it’s ready for media prime timeEurekster launched today. There’s got to be a better name for socia-networking-driven search (er..Searchster?). What’s news: Eurekster has a deal for search results from Overture, but as MediaPost notes, So far, only the “natural” search results a user clicks on are added to the list of sites recently visited by the user’s community of friends. “The current version of the product offers no re-ranking of sponsored search results,” notes Steven Marder, Chairman, Eurekster Inc.

I’m going to quote liberally from the Eurekster “about” page for you, then ask a question:

See how eurekster personalizes search results
Type in a search term e.g. your name
Click on a search result that you think is best (this can be on any page of the search results). Stay at that website for at least 1 minutes (or we will assume that it wasn’t useful for you). Repeat this as often as you like.
In 3 minutes do the same search again and you will notice that the results you preferred will be at the top of the list of search results (excluding sponsored search results).
We remember the result you liked so you never have to repeat trawling through a long list of search results again!

How this helps other eurekster users
* After you sign up to eurekster and get your friends using it, when one of them does the same search as you then your preferred result will appear higher up their list of results. So everyone can learn from the search activity of people they know and trust.
* eurekster takes care of sharing the quality results around social networks to allow groups of people to learn from each other, while protecting identity and allowing the option for complete privacy.
* If users try to boost poor or inappropriate results they will not be spread to other users. The only people affected by this will be their direct contacts that they have invited to join their personal network. This social network filtering of search results works just like word of mouth that we count on in everyday life.

My question: is search a strong enough attractor to get folks to create new social networks, outside of those they may have already created with LinkedIn or Friendster? Put another way, isn’t it easier for Friendster or LinkedIn to add search, than for search to add Friendster or LinkedIn?

Now that Eurekster has launched, I guess the answer is: we’ll know soon enough. (Let’s not forget the raging rumor some months ago that Google tried to buy Friendster, but was rebuffed…..)

PS – I am not sure that delimiting a site’s usefulness by forcing someone to hang out there for a minute or more is a good idea (though I do like the idea of tracking the path folks take out of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and rearranging subsequent searches based on that input). Many folks who come to blogs, for example, stay for less than a minute. It takes about 35 seconds to read a blog post. Except this one, of course, which has gone on for too long…..

The Standard, Now Blogging

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As I’ve said many times, it’s always good to see something you care about live on, no matter what the form. Matt is now bringing guest bloggers (so far, all were connected to the old Standard in one way or another) to The Standard. Don’t get all excited (or don’t sharpen your knives, whichever works for you), it’s still under the control of IDG.


By - January 20, 2004

On some level, you have to love this: A porn search engine. If only it worked. I crashed it on a search for “sex,” tried again, and got 291 results – 291! Don’t even try more sophisticated fare, there are few results to speak of. It’s a great idea, poorly executed, and with a terrible name – Booble – that’s derivative *and* sophomoric. The lawyers over at Google must be sharpening their knives, because the trade dress ripoffs alone warrant a bigfoot letter, if not more. Booble’s put out a press release, lightheartedly claiming they are parodying Google, but they also claim the engine actually works. It’s a directory of sorts – the release claims they’ve added 6000 sites that are vetted by human editors, but …really. Note to Fleshbot: This is a good idea poorly executed – get on this asap!

(Thanks to the folks at Boing Boing for the pointer).

Yet More RSS-based Innovation

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It keeps coming. PubSub is a RSS-based aggregator that allows you to sign up for search-term-based alerts, then emails you (or updates your RSS reader) when something is posted that matches your search. Signing up is painless, as it should be. It’s Google News Alerts for the RSS-osphere. Cool. Does Feedster or T’rati do this? I am starting to feel like keeping up with this stuff is a full time job. Man, we need a publication covering just this space…thanks to Dave Winer for the pointer.