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

Ink Stained Google Hacks

By - February 18, 2004

A fun piece that ridicules an increasingly common habit: many reporters lean on Google to prove their point, instead of doing real research…

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The Switch Is On

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Seems Yahoo’s switch is now upon us, as most news outlets had been given an embargo of midnight EST last night (a reporter called me and told me as much), and Search Engine Watch is one of the first with a deeper take on the meaning of it all – the story is called “Birth of a New Machine”. In an email to me last night, Chris disagrees with my earlier post that “size matters” and I agree that in the end what matters most is relevance, but…perhaps I should have said “perception matters”. Expect the mainstream media to weigh in soon…

Chris’s take in one line:
Bottom line: I’m impressed with the quality of results that Yahoo is delivering. It’s a very viable alternative to Google and the other “last engine standing,” Ask Jeeves/Teoma.

Yahoo’s press release, issued 4 hours ago, is here.


Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that it has created a more comprehensive and relevant search experience for users through the deployment of its own algorithmic search technology on Yahoo!(R) Search ( Starting today, the company will begin rolling out the new Yahoo! Search Technology (YST) and expects to continue the process on a worldwide basis over the next several weeks. With the completion of the deployment, Yahoo! Search Technology will power nearly half of all online searches in the U.S….

As part of the company’s next steps in customization and personalization, Yahoo! is introducing a new search service that integrates Yahoo! Search with My Yahoo! by adding links to XML/RSS site syndication content in search results. This service enables users to search for millions of sites that support this format and easily add them to their My Yahoo! personal homepage. Once added to their page, users will see instantly updated headlines and links from these sites, keeping them in touch with all of their important information from the Internet in a single place.

Additionally, Yahoo! Search has combined its own proprietary anti-spam technology with the talents of its team of editorial experts and Yahoo! Mail’s leading SpamGuard technology to help filter out irrelevant, redundant or low-quality URLs and links. Taking advantage of the synergies between Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Mail, these two services will share data to reduce spam and further improve the user experience across Yahoo!.

Yahoo: New Index "Highly Competitive"

By - February 17, 2004

In response to Google’s release today, SVP/Search Jeff Weiner told me: “We are extremely confident our index size is highly competitive.” My read on that statement is that when Yahoo unwraps its new search technology, the index will be at least 6 billion strong, if not larger.

Weiner took pains to add that “comprehensiveness” – ie big indexes – is only one piece of the total search quality puzzle. While the arms race to the largest index is something of a perception game, it’s an important one nevertheless. It’s inescapable: size does matter.

Resourceshelf Interviews Dipsie Founder

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Gary interviews Jason Wiener, the CEO of Dipsie. I’ve spoken with Jason a few times, but I’m still waiting to hear confirmation on various aspects of the story before I post. Meantime, Gary’s post is a good overview of the company’s intentions….

Safa Says: No Bubble in 2005

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Piper’s Safa Rashtchy, who gets credit for being an early and avid Wall St. supporter of the paid search market, today released his firm’s outlook for what might be called the “internet economy” sector, and it’s pretty rosy. Note in particular “In our opinion, all of this clearly indicates that fears of a bubble-type valuation are unfounded.”

1. We expect average revenue growth of more than 23% and an EBITDA growth of at least 37%, resulting from margin expansion in nearly all of the companies under our coverage. We also believe that these estimates are mostly on the conservative side and have strong probability of upward revision.
2. With a 37% average EBITDA growth, the coverage companies are trading on an average enterprise value to EBITDA multiple of just over 18x, suggesting a growth multiple of less than 0.5. Similarly, the GAAP ESP, while not as a good and clean a measure of valuation as EBITDA, is still at PEG of 1.0. In our opinion, all of this clearly indicates that fears of a bubble-type valuation are unfounded. The stocks are not heavily undervalued but there is room for multiple expansion and, of course, estimate revisions that can support higher prices.
3. The universe-wide look at the 2005 growth projections underscore the value of our top picks, in particular United Online, trading at 6.8x ’05 EBITDA, a 60% discount to the universe and DoubleClick, trading at 10.3x ’05 EBITDA, a 44% discount to the universe. While the EBITDA growth rates for these two are slower than the 37% average, even growth adjusted multiple for these two companies will be substantially higher than their current valuation. We also believe that our estimates for our other top picks, Yahoo and SINA, are very conservative with a strong upside potential justifying a much higher multiple than current valuation.

Yeah, But The Catch Is…

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The entire publication archive of Time Magazine (1923 onwards) will be soon online, thanks to a partnership with HP. However, archives will only be available to Time subscribers. I wonder how they are going to deal with SERPs – will the archive be crawled? Will searchers find old issues and then be compelled to pay? We’ll see…

Google Index Swells, Yahoo Switch Imminent

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google.gifGoogle put out a press release today noting that its index has swelled to 4.28 billion images, and combined with images and usenet, total pages indexed now reaches past 6 billion. Full text of release is in the extended entry below. Gary’s Resourceshelf has commentary here.

My question: why now? It’s generally considered true that Google can raise its index number pretty much when it feels like it (this isn’t some technical breakthrough or new achievement, a lot of folks claim Google has been underreporting its number to date), so what provoked this timing? Could be the pressure to keep appearance of innovation up, and/or the pressure of new competitors, recently feted in various articles, who promise larger indexes, such as Dipsie, or a response to Yahoo’s new search solution, which is rolling out…well now it seems… as Andy Beal sends word that Yahoo’s switching over to its own technology, even though the announcement has not been made. Here’s Yahoo’s Search page – go check it out. Andy also points to a survey on Yahoo that Webmasterworld folks found about the search experience.

UPDATE: As to the company’s timing, Google PRmeister Nate Tyler says: “We hit the milestone and thought it might be nice to let our users know.” In other words, this is not a reaction to anything…

As for the Yahoo news, I spoke again with Jeff Weiner today, and he is really on fire. He acknowledged that the new Yahoo crawler, Slurp, is out and about, and that changes are afoot….more when I can tell you more…

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