The Open Directory Project was grown out of frustration webmasters faced waiting to be included in the Yahoo! Netscape bought the Open Directory Project in November, DMOZ closed on March 17, When the directory shut down it had 3,, active listings in 90 languages.
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Numerous online mirrors of the directory have been published at DMOZtools. Google offers a librarian newsletter to help librarians and other web editors help make information more accessible and categorize the web. The second Google librarian newsletter came from Karen G. Schneider, who was the director of Librarians' Internet Index. LII was a high quality directory aimed at librarians. Her article explains what she and her staff look for when looking for quality credible resources to add to the LII. Most other directories, especially those which have a paid inclusion option, hold lower standards than selected limited catalogs created by librarians.
The LII was later merged into the Internet Public Library , which was another well kept directory of websites that went into archive-only mode after 20 years of service. Due to the time intensive nature of running a directory, and the general lack of scalability of a business model the quality and size of directories sharply drops off after you get past the first half dozen or so general directories.
There are also numerous smaller industry, vertically, or locally oriented directories. Donnelley, which let them to sell the Business. The Google Panda algorithm hit Business. Looksmart was founded in They competed with the Yahoo! Directory by frequently increasing their inclusion rates back and forth. In Looksmart transitioned into a pay per click provider, which charged listed sites a flat fee per click. That caused the demise of any good faith or loyalty they had built up, although it allowed them to profit by syndicating those paid listings to some major portals like MSN.
The problem was that Looksmart became too dependant on MSN, and in , when Microsoft announced they were dumping Looksmart that basically killed their business model. In March of , Looksmart bought a search engine by the name of WiseNut , but it never gained traction. Looksmart also owns a catalog of content articles organized in vertical sites, but due to limited relevancy Looksmart has lost most if not all of their momentum. All major search engines have some limited editorial review process, but the bulk of relevancy at major search engines is driven by automated search algorithms which harness the power of the link graph on the web.
In fact, some algorithms, such as TrustRank , bias the web graph toward trusted seed sites without requiring a search engine to take on much of an editorial review staff. Thus, some of the more elegant search engines allow those who link to other sites to in essence vote with their links as the editorial reviewers. Unlike highly automated search engines, directories are manually compiled taxonomies of websites.
Directories are far more cost and time intensive to maintain due to their lack of scalability and the necessary human input to create each listing and periodically check the quality of the listed websites. General directories are largely giving way to expert vertical directories, temporal news sites like blogs , and social bookmarking sites like del.
In addition, each of those three publishing formats I just mentioned also aid in improving the relevancy of major search engines, which further cuts at the need for and profitability of general directories. It was the first crawler which indexed entire pages. Soon it became so popular that during daytime hours it could not be used. AOL eventually purchased WebCrawler and ran it on their network. WebCrawler opened the door for many other services to follow suit. Within 1 year of its debuted came Lycos, Infoseek, and OpenText.
Lycos was the next major search development, having been design at Carnegie Mellon University around July of Michale Mauldin was responsible for this search engine and remains to be the chief scientist at Lycos Inc. On July 20, , Lycos went public with a catalog of 54, documents. In addition to providing ranked relevance retrieval, Lycos provided prefix matching and word proximity bonuses.
But Lycos' main difference was the sheer size of its catalog: by August , Lycos had identified , documents; by January , the catalog had reached 1. Infoseek also started out in , claiming to have been founded in January. They really did not bring a whole lot of innovation to the table, but they offered a few add on's, and in December they convinced Netscape to use them as their default search, which gave them major exposure.
One popular feature of Infoseek was allowing webmasters to submit a page to the search index in real time, which was a search spammer's paradise. AltaVista debut online came during this same month.
AltaVista brought many important features to the web scene. They had nearly unlimited bandwidth for that time , they were the first to allow natural language queries, advanced searching techniques and they allowed users to add or delete their own URL within 24 hours. They even allowed inbound link checking. AltaVista also provided numerous search tips and advanced search features. Due to poor mismanagement, a fear of result manipulation, and portal related clutter AltaVista was largely driven into irrelevancy around the time Inktomi and Google started becoming popular.
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Search, and occasionally use AltaVista as a testing platform. The Inktomi Corporation came about on May 20, with its search engine Hotbot. Two Cal Berkeley cohorts created Inktomi from the improved technology gained from their research. Hotwire listed this site and it became hugely popular quickly. Although Inktomi pioneered the paid inclusion model it was nowhere near as efficient as the pay per click auction model developed by Overture. Licensing their search results also was not profitable enough to pay for their scaling costs.
They failed to develop a profitable business model, and sold out to Yahoo!
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In April of Ask Jeeves was launched as a natural language search engine. Ask Jeeves used human editors to try to match search queries. Ask was powered by DirectHit for a while, which aimed to rank results based on their popularity, but that technology proved to easy to spam as the core algorithm component. In the Teoma search engine was released, which uses clustering to organize sites by Subject Specific Popularity, which is another way of saying they tried to find local web communities.
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Jon Kleinberg's Authoritative sources in a hyperlinked environment [PDF] was a source of inspiration what lead to the eventual creation of Teoma. IAC owns many popular websites like Match. In Ask Jeeves was renamed to Ask, and they killed the separate Teoma brand. AllTheWeb was a search technology platform launched in May of to showcase Fast's search technologies. Search, and occasionally use AllTheWeb as a testing platform. Most meta search engines draw their search results from multiple other search engines, then combine and rerank those results.
This was a useful feature back when search engines were less savvy at crawling the web and each engine had a significantly unique index. As search has improved the need for meta search engines has been reduced.
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Hotbot was owned by Wired, had funky colors, fast results, and a cool name that sounded geeky, but died off not long after Lycos bought it and ignored it. Upon rebirth it was born as a meta search engine. Unlike most meta search engines, Hotbot only pulls results from one search engine at a time, but it allows searchers to select amongst a few of the more popular search engines on the web. Currently Dogpile , owned by Infospace , is probably the most popular meta search engine on the market, but like all other meta search engines, it has limited market share.
I also created Myriad Search , which is a free open source meta search engine without ads. The major search engines are fighting for content and marketshare in verticals outside of the core algorithmic search product. For example, both Yahoo and MSN have question answering services where humans answer each other's questions for free. Google has a similar offering, but question answerers are paid for their work. Google, Yahoo, and MSN are also fighting to become the default video platform on the web, which is a vertical where an upstart named YouTube also has a strong position.
Yahoo and Microsoft are aligned on book search in a group called the Open Content Alliance. Google, going it alone in that vertical, offers a proprietary Google Book search. All three major search engines provide a news search service.
Google has partnered with the AP and a number of other news sources to extend their news database back over years. And Topix. Thousands of weblogs are updated daily reporting the news, some of which are competing with and beating out the mainstream media. If that were not enough options for news, social bookmarking sites like Del. Google also has a Scholar search program which aims to make scholarly research easier to do. In some verticals, like shopping search, other third party players may have significant marketshare, gained through offline distribution and branding for example, yellow pages companies , or gained largely through arbitraging traffic streams from the major search engines.
On November 15, Google launched a product called Google Base , which is a database of just about anything imaginable. Users can upload items and title, describe, and tag them as they see fit. Based on usage statistics this tool can help Google understand which vertical search products they should create or place more emphasis on. They believe that owning other verticals will allow them to drive more traffic back to their core search service. They also believe that targeted measured advertising associated with search can be carried over to other mediums. For example, Google bought dMarc , a radio ad placement firm.
After a couple years of testing, on May 5th, Google unveiled a 3 column search result layout which highlights many vertical search options in the left rail. Google shut down their financial services comparison search tool Google Comparison on March 23, When Google shut down their financial comparison search tool they shifted from showing a maximum of 3 ads at the top of the search results to showing a maximum of 4 ads above the organic search results. By mobile accounted for more than half of digital ad spending.
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