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Interview with AskJeeves--New "Teoma" Search Engine.

Discussion in 'Gold Cafe' started by NamePopper.com, Sep 18, 2002.

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  1. NamePopper.com

    NamePopper.com Gold Member

    Aug 20, 2002
    Local Time:
    2:02 AM
    A Look at Ask Jeeves and Teoma--by Robin Nobles

    Source:www.sitepronews.com | Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists- www.academywebspecialists.com

    Recently, Jim Lanzone, Vice President of Product Management with Ask Jeeves, attended a chat session with students from the Academy, and he answered a lot of very interesting questions about Ask Jeeves' Web properties.

    So, let's look at this interview with Jim, and learn more about
    Ask Jeeves and their relatively new search engine on the block,

    As Vice President of Product Management, Jim overseas the
    strategy, features, Web design, and product development for all
    of Ask Jeeves' properties, including Ask.com, Teoma, and Ask
    Jeeves for Kids at AJKids.com. Ask Jeeves is a top twenty Web
    property and is among the most recognized Internet brands

    Jim began by giving some background information about Ask Jeeves and Teoma.

    "Ask Jeeves is one of the leading search engines on the Web, with more than 16 million unique users per month. We also recently launched a new search engine called Teoma (Gaelic for "expert," in case you were wondering).

    "Both Ask.com and Teoma.com are powered by Teoma's search
    technology. The difference between the two sites lies in the
    design and the features.

    "Here's an easy way to think about it: Ask is for `Passengers'
    (people who want help searching) and Teoma.com is for `Drivers'
    (people who don't).

    "Our company makes money by serving advertisements that are
    triggered by the searches people conduct on our sites. There are
    three main types of advertisements: Graphical (e.g., banner ads),
    Paid Placement (Sponsored Links), and a new program called "Paid Inclusion" (pay to be entered into our search index)."

    Is free submission still an option?

    Question: Can you still submit to Ask Jeeves if you have a site
    that answers questions, like we have been able to do in the past
    for free, or do you have to go through pay inclusion to get into
    either index?

    Jim: "Well, yes, if you want to submit, you need to pay. It takes
    special attention, and therefore resources, for us to take a site
    rather than simply crawl the Web as usual. But there are special
    benefits to paying!

    "Our editorial staff is much smaller than the old days, and the
    `questions' for Jeeves (what we call the `Knowledge Base'
    internally) are not emphasized as much as they used to be, so the
    exposure will be more limited...and it may take our editors quite
    a while to get to your site."

    So, you can still submit your site to Ask Jeeves for free, but it
    will probably take a while for your site to make it into the

    Jim: "For the search index, there is no free submit (for Teoma)."

    Question: Compared to, for example, the free add URL in Google,
    the one for Ask Jeeves makes you jump through hoops.

    Jim: "That's because it's quite an old program that was developed
    for our editors to review."

    Remember that Ask Jeeves was established to answer questions, so you have to "prove" that your site does, in fact, very effectively answer the question you're going after - which is a lot more detailed than a simple submission at Google.

    What about pay inclusion?

    If you submit to Ask Jeeves' and Teoma's pay inclusion program,
    your site will get visibility at both sites. The pay inclusion
    program is now out of beta, so the subscription period is 12

    Benefits of their pay inclusion program include:

    * Your page will be indexed within 7 days.
    * Your page will be refreshed every 7 days.
    * Your page remains in the index for 12 months.


    $30 for the first URL, and $18 each for 2 through 1000 URL's. For
    larger numbers of pages, you can use their batch processing

    Visit http://ask.ineedhits.com/ for more information.

    Question: The Direct Hit site has been taken down, and traffic is
    being redirected to Teoma. What about the Direct Hit results that
    were being shown in engines like HotBot? Are those now Teoma

    Jim: "Yes, we still have Direct Hit on HotBot, as well as
    BellSouth and InfoSpace. DirectHit.com is redirected to Teoma.
    But some partners still have the old DH "pop" (popularity)
    results. MSN still has the Direct Hit results.

    "We will be merging pop into the Teoma technology sometime in the near future, but some partners still want it as a "one-off," and we are open to providing it."

    Question: Teoma does crawl sites on its own? Is that correct?

    Jim: "Yes, that's correct. Its index is currently featured on
    both Ask.com and Teoma.com."

    Question: A Web site with good link popularity then would not
    need the Ask Jeeves/Teoma paid inclusion program?

    Jim: "For a major site, that is probably true. However, for
    smaller sites, or sites that refresh their content frequently (or
    have many dynamic pages that are difficult for search engines to
    crawl), paid inclusion is still a great option if you really want
    the traffic. Paid inclusion sites are spidered weekly. Other
    sites are spidered monthly, currently."

    Question: When paying for inclusion for Ask Jeeves and Teoma, are the results shared with other partners? If so who?

    Jim: "Currently, no. However, we're aggressively pursuing
    partnerships that will extend our reach considerably. Not able to
    say who just yet, but the usual suspects."

    Question: In your FAQ's for Ask Jeeves/Teoma's pay inclusion
    program (http://ask.ineedhits.com/faq.asp), it states that you
    can't change URL's. Why?

    Jim: "Because it's considered a new submission. We're not able to
    put enough resources against it yet."

    Question: So in the future, we'll have the ability to swap out URLs?

    Jim: "We'll see, but I hear you. We are aware of Inktomi's

    Question: What's the difference in traffic between the premium
    listings and the "regular" search results?

    Jim: "Do you mean between Premier Listings (Featured Sponsor) and Paid Inclusion? There are two differences: 1) You are guaranteed that your listing will show up; 2) You are guaranteed that it will show up in a specific location on our page."

    Question: Are Premier Listings twice as likely to be clicked on,
    for example?

    Jim: "Premier Listing is really just an ad. With Paid Inclusion,
    you aren't paying for anything other than being included in the
    index and then being subjected to the same relevance algorithms
    that give us our other results, but with the other benefits that
    I mentioned earlier.

    "In terms of click ratio, I suppose it depends on how relevant
    your site is to a given query. The match rate of a site that buys
    ad space on our site is much more significant than one that
    purchases via paid inclusion for now."

    For more information about Premier Listings, visit:

    continued below...
  2. NamePopper.com

    NamePopper.com Gold Member

    Aug 20, 2002
    Local Time:
    2:02 AM

    Question: Let's say that I have a Web site:
    http://myownwebsite.com, and let's say that my goal is for it to
    become an "authoritative" site in Teoma. Could you give us some
    tips on what we can do to try to be considered by Teoma as an
    authoritative or expert site on a particular subject?

    Jim: "Our recommendations are as follows: 1) you allow people to
    link to you; 2) you offer quality content so that you become
    popular among other sites of the same subject (i.e., experts).
    Basically, that's it. None of our expert sites or authorities are
    manually decided. It's based on our algorithms."

    Question: On Teoma, are Teoma and Ask Jeeves results combined?

    Jim: "Well, there really is no such thing as an Ask Jeeves
    result. There are pre-fab, editorially selected `answers' to
    certain queries that may appear at the top of the page if we have
    a high level of confidence that we have the right answer. But as
    far as the actual search results go, it's all Teoma...and we'll
    layer in the Direct Hit click-pop at some point soon."

    Question: But Teoma results ARE being shown at Ask Jeeves?

    Jim: "That's exactly right. The part of the AJ page that says,
    `You may find these search results helpful' has the Teoma
    results. They were launched in January (and by no coincidence, we immediately saw a 30% increase in picks to those results.)"

    Question: The "Featured Sponsor" section of Ask Jeeves, is that
    the Premier Listings?

    Jim: "Yes it is."

    (End of interview/chat session)

    Let's take a longer look at Teoma

    If you haven't visited Teoma yet and performed a few searches,
    you need to do so (http://www.teoma.com/). It's a really cool
    engine with some very interesting and helpful features.

    For example, it's a no-nonsense engine like Google with one
    purpose only: search.

    When you search at Teoma, you're given three sets of results:

    * Results, which are relevant Web pages from the Teoma index;

    * Refine, which are suggestions for narrowing your search;

    * Resources, which are link collections from experts and

    So with Teoma, if your search results are too broad, you can
    immediately narrow them down by choosing one of the suggestions in the Refine section.

    And, in the Resources area, you'll find "experts" in that
    particular focus area. This is an excellent place to find related
    and important sites that might be good candidates to contact
    about swapping links.

    More on Ask Jeeves

    Ask Jeeves is the "question answering" search engine, which puts
    it into a class of its own. (http://www.askjeeves.com)

    At the top of the search results, you'll see a "featured sponsor"
    section, which is their Premier Listing advertisement that we've
    discussed previously.

    With some searches, you'll see a "sponsored links" section, which
    are results currently being provided by Overture. However, on
    September 3, Ask Jeeves will be switching to Google for their
    paid listings.

    Then, you'll find search results from Teoma, followed by a
    section called, "Other people with your search have also asked:"
    In that section, you'll see additional questions that may help
    answer your initial question, with results coming from Ask.com.

    Like at Teoma, you can narrow your search down by choosing one of the search terms on the right-hand side of the page.

    Ask Jeeves recently entered into an agreement with Google to
    display their Google AdWords in Ask Jeeves results effective
    September 3, 2002. Those results will be shown at both Ask Jeeves and Teoma as "sponsored links." For more information, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Ask-Jeeves-Google.html

    In Conclusion

    Teoma has taken over the old Direct Hit site, and I believe we'll
    see some big things out of this fascinating engine in the future.

    Ask Jeeves is as it's always been: unique - a place where you can
    go and ask a question and be presented with several possible

    If you haven't submitted your site to Ask Jeeves/Teoma, and if
    your site isn't found in the Teoma index, I strongly suggest that
    you consider their pay inclusion program and become a part of
    their index.

    AMERICAR Platinum Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    Down Under
    Local Time:
    3:02 AM
    Thats a very good article .. NamePopper.

    I think that it goes to show that if you don't pay .. you don't get.

    Search engines are changeing the way they list and index a site
    these days it is not easy to get a decent ranking without a lot of modifications and attention to your key words and meta tags.

    I have just been though such an excercise, even to the extent of analyzing the site to opitimse it, gaining top points on the analyzer only to have the site rejected by damoz.org and google.

    I have now stripped the site to the bare bones and had to start it over again, even with all of that there is only one way to get listed quickly .. and that is pay for inclusion .. not that you can do that with google or dmoz.

    Nice thread ... :)

  4. Omni

    Omni Gold Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Local Time:
    4:02 PM
    if you have to pay to be included and your site has been online for more than a short while, you have a problem ;)

    AMERICAR Platinum Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    Down Under
    Local Time:
    3:02 AM
    Hey .. Omni

    I have changed that site .. thx.net for your input.

    Wot you doin up at this time of night .. h?h


  6. NamePopper.com

    NamePopper.com Gold Member

    Aug 20, 2002
    Local Time:
    2:02 AM
    Hi Americar & Omni.

    It's a lot to read--but I learned several things from it. Interesting to hear it straight from the operators of one of the major new search engines. I am still confused about a lot of things. Like you said Americar--they keep changing and re-inventing themselves. Just when you thought you did it the most effective way--BOOM. Very frustrating.
  7. Omni

    Omni Gold Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Local Time:
    4:02 PM
    Americar paid it a visit, some make-up can still be done :)

    NamePopper it makes sense for them to keep re-inventing themselves - they've got Google to beat ;)
  8. NamePopper.com

    NamePopper.com Gold Member

    Aug 20, 2002
    Local Time:
    2:02 AM
    True Omni--good point. ;)

    Have either of you visited www.gigablast.com? I just found it yesterday. A small independent search engine--apparently run by one guy on his own machines--but I was fairly impressed with the speed and returns it gave me.
    I need to go back and see exactly how they work. Go check it out if you haven't already.
  9. Omni

    Omni Gold Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Local Time:
    4:02 PM
    Yup it's still a work in progress I believe, last check that guy was refreshing the database. The SE is suppose to index sites instantly - makes webmasters happy but it's not exactly the right target but we'll see :)
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