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'Careful with fire'
is good advice, we know
'Careful with words'
is ten times doubly so.
Will Carleton
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May, 2004

From the Editor

Regular readers of will have noticed a hiatus in search industry updates for both New Zealand and the wider search community. Due to on-going commitments in other areas, the editor (that would be me), has not had the time to continue with regular posts. Watch this space as they are likely to return soon in an updated format.

Gary Jensen
Editor - Search Engine Marketing, New Zealand Style.

January 30th, 2004

Here's what you've been missing:

  • Google has swung from an imminent ipo to a delay to a doubt : 'An IPO is not on my agenda right now' - Eric Schmidt (Google CEO).
  • Yahoo announce dropping Google sometime soon. Maybe to justify spending $2b on Inktomi...
  • Looksmart lose the plot (or at least MSN) and have thrown in the towel.
  • DMOZ add Thumbshots.

December 19th, 2003

Adwords and New Zealand DNC...

Google goes global on Adwords languages:

'This expansion includes dedicated email support and account pages in French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.'

The latest newsletter for the Office of the Domain Name Commissioner in New Zealand is released. Some interesting domain name statistics are included.

December 15th, 2003


The ever helpful CJ machine has informed me that have changed their name to Enhance Interactive. Relaunch as Enhance Interactive

December 4th, 2003

New Zealand Technology Law...

If you're involved in the New Zealand internet space then having a scan over the latest Chapman Tripp Tech Law Update December 2003 is worth the time...

December 1st, 2003

Florida hits the SEO world...

Barry Lloyd (MakeMeTop) writes an article in his latest newsletter covering various ideas behind the "Florida" update in Google that has affected large numbers of websites with artificially high levels of optimisation.

See: MakeMeTop - Trying to make Sense of the "Florida" Update!

November 21st, 2003

Google and Microsoft...

Danny Sullivan puts together an insightful (albeit lengthy) set of views on why he sees Google and Microsoft as heading towards co-operation rather than the possible buyout Microsoft has been pitching.

See: Clickz - Google and Microsoft: Partners?

November 13th, 2003

Corporate web usability...

The ever vigilant Jakob Nielsen puts together a scathing review as a Top Ten list on why coporate web sites fail in usability tests. Thanks to Pete for the link.

October 31st, 2003

Paid Search Engine Listings Research

Jupiter Research's Paid Listings Vendor Rankings finds Overture outscoring Google overall.

"Twelve to 15% of paid listings revenues come from marketers that control media budgets of $1 million or more."

Interesting but not exactly startling information in the industry. You can read more on the findings here (the full report is only available to subscribers).

October 30th, 2003

Google buy Sprinks

Google buy-out Sprinks the PPC search engine running the listings for

"Under the terms of this partnership, Sprinks, a division of PRIMEDIA, was acquired by Google. As a result, the Sprinks advertising program will be replaced by Google AdWords over the next 30-40 days. In order to continue driving qualified traffic to your website, you will need to create a Google online advertising account with Google AdWords" (emphasis added).

If you're a regular reader here you will have seen in the past the editor's scathing review on Sprinks following some serious customer services errors, lack of conversions and general all-round dodgy tactics by the Sprinks team. It will be good to see Sprinks leave but it may be questionable what the use of as a contextual advertising portal will do to the conversion levels for Google Adwords.

You can see a copy of the Sprinks newsletter to advertisers here.

October 24th, 2003

New Zealand Commerce Commission working away...

It's refreshing to see that part of the seedier side of the internet domain name registration industry is getting a lashing as the Commission issues a warning to Domain Names NZ (an Australian company) - .net offer liable to mislead.

October 24th, 2003

Google IPO rumours increase...

The rumours of the much awaited Google IPO appear to be taking on a tad more substance:

Forbes: Google searching for banks to lead IPO -sources

Financial Times: Google considers online IPO auction

Watch this space...

October 23nd, 2003

...have you ever thought of buying Google?

An interesting quick few questions posed to Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel on a radio show recently... Yahoo! vs. Google vs. Microsoft

October 22nd, 2003

Google get hit...

Google have been fined Euro75,000 by a French court on violating intellectual property laws by linking trademark names on it's Adwords product. They plan to appeal...

See: Google loses out in trademark search case

October 14, 2003

A bit off topic...

You may have noticed another hiatus in the search engine industry reporting. The editor has been under a mighty workload for the last six weeks and apologises for the break in service - transmission will resume soon ...

September 12, 2003

BloggerPro Free...

Google-owned Web log-creation site Blogger is eliminating its paid version and folding premium functions into its free service, bucking a trend toward making people pay for Web site extras.

See: - Blogger bucks premium-services trend

September 4, 2003

Pay-per-click (PPC) buyout wins US antitrust OK...

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the plan for Yahoo! to acquire Overture. Stockholder approval is the only condition left to be satisfied in the $1.63 billion deal. Overture shareholders will vote on the proposed buyout on Oct. 7.

See : Overture-Yahoo deal wins antitrust OK

September 3, 2003

Mines bigger than yours...

If you've been reading some of the reports recently you would have heard that the search engines are having a shouting contest over who has the largest index. Of course everyone should know it's not the size of your index but how you use it that really counts.

Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Watch) has put together a good listing of the bragging wars over the past few years.

August 25, 2003

Search engine articles...

There's bumper activity in the search engine industry this week with articles popping up everywhere. One would almost think there's been a large gathering going on.

  • Google co-founder Sergey Brin says he never imagined how popular and widespread his search engine would become - Google Wild About Commoditizing Search.
  • Today’s search environment enables multiple paid results from multiple providers for the same query to appear on the top five search sites. Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? - Interpreting the Redundancy Nightmare.
  • Search Engine Marketing Professional Organisation (SEMPO) launches.
  • Online yellow pages provider Switchboard are offering to insert Web site links on their own listings or on non-commercial listings - Switchboard Rolls Out Paid Link Program.

On the New Zealand domain registration scene there's bound to be some interesting activity today at 11am NZST when the second level domain goes live for registrations. You can register a domain here.

August 21, 2003

Is Yahoo! shifting it's search engine services to Inktomi?

"Yahoo! Australia, search producer, Peter Crowe today revealed that the company had started testing Inktomi's search engine in parallel with projects at a number of the company's regional portals to see if it provides a viable alternative to Google's crawler-based search engine." - Yahoo! ready to ditch Google

August 19, 2003

Looksmart under threat in the UK

In its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, LookSmart said MSN recently tested a new search results layout in the United Kingdom that eliminated the directory layer of listings provided by LookSmart

"LookSmart would be crippled by the loss of its Microsoft business, which accounted for 68 percent of its revenues in the last quarter. Their contract expires on Dec. 3, 2003." - MSN Search Tests Worrisome for LookSmart

August 18, 2003

What will Yahoo! hold on to?

Interesting questions will be answered over the next year as the completion of the acqusition by Yahoo! of Overture takes place. In the past year Overture have acquired both AltaVista and the FAST Web Search Unit which includes AllTheWeb.

Yahoo! News have reported that Yahoo! may keep AltaVista running as a niche site servicing advanced search functions.

"We believe that the AltaVista brand is still very strong, and has come to attract a particular type of user, and it is entirely possible that we may keep the AltaVista site to serve a particular niche of users," - Phu Hoang, Yahoo's senior vice president for engineering.

This was also the function of AllTheWeb for the FAST search technologies so the question is left open whether AllTheWeb will be thrown on the scrap heap or not. To further complicate the scenario Yahoo! already own the search technology provider Inktomi which can be seen as a direct competitor to the FAST search services.

All-in-all this leaves for an interesting consolidation period in search over the next year as Yahoo! pick up the pieces.

See Yahoo! News for more information.

August 13, 2003

Overture opening into the Australian market

Overture have announced they will launch into the Australian market by the end of 2003. They have appointed a Managing Director, Mel Bohse, the previous VP of AltaVista Asia Pacific.

Having met Mel at one of the previous SES conferences in Sydney it was clear that in her role with AltaVista she was also very familiar with the New Zealand market. It will be interesting to see if this will following on with Overture Australia taking an interest in the New Zealand market as well.

See Yahoo! Financial News for more information.

August 13, 2003

Google enterprise search

Google push further into the enterprise search market by naming heavy weight companies that use its search appliance including Pfizer, the U.S. Army, and the city of San Diego.

See Cnet - Google names enterprise search clients.

August 8, 2003

Google introduce news alerts

Google have added an email alert function to their news service. Options include 'once a day' or 'as it happens'. Now you can add your email to what is probably the fastest growing online database of personal information - News Alerts.

August 4, 2003

Overture to realease tracking systems

Overture have announced the release later in the year of a system designed to tracking online campaigns from multiple sources (including Google). The system may well fill the gap between tracking PPC through tools like the GoToast product compared to the reasonably expensive (for an SME's) Dart system from DoubleClick.

It will be interesting to see to what level the system will provide key metrics. Web tracking products such as the New Zealand based Media Tracker may still have an edge in providing fully rounded solutions for campaign and site analysis.

See: Overture to upgrade analytics software - '[Overture] will launch a completely new system for advertisers to track multiple campaigns on any platform, which would include rival Google. That service will be rebranded and introduced in the fourth quarter of 2003. '

August 3, 2003

DVD Geek launches in New Zealand A new DVD site appears to have launched in New Zealand.

August 1, 2003

Independant reports...

You have to laugh when competitors give up extolling the virtues of their own product and just start chanting 'We're better than you are!' (imagined best when picturing a pre-school child holding a bigger truck than his neighbour).

See this report published by Overture today:
AlltheWeb Rated as Better Search Experience than Google - 'Dr. Jenkins recently published two articles in which he analyzed the user experience of Google and Overture's search engines, and proclaimed AlltheWeb the winner in both cases.'

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