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Old 02-08-2005   #1
Lucas Wyrsch
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Who knows Answers.com?

Hi SEO Experts

Yesterday Lisa DiCarlo from Forbes.com introduced a new, revolutionary research engine with the title The Best Internet Innovation In Years and I now would like to know the opinion of some search engine experts about the feasibility of such a title? What do you think about the future potential and vision of answer.com? How to you evaluate the potential of answer.com?

Last edited by dannysullivan : 02-08-2005 at 06:50 AM. Reason: removed extended quotes of the article
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Old 02-08-2005   #2
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Gary Price who runs our blog has background on Answers.com here:

Vertical Search Tools Getting More Attention

GuruNet Becomes Answers.com and Is Now Available Free!

In short, Answers.com is a great service -- but it's one that's been around for years under a different name, as Gary describes.
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Old 02-08-2005   #3
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Thanks Dany for your quick answer.
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Old 02-08-2005   #4
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GuruNet = Answers.com

IMO Answers.com is very usable,
Personnaly I used to approach GuruNet several times a day and I find the new
option of free-browsing to Answers.com wonderful.
The service is very comprehensive, many times I doubt if I'll get any output on the term and guess what... I do...
In addition, as I'm Not fluent in English, I find it very usefull as a dictionary.
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Old 02-13-2005   #5
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Danny, do you see the Gurunet model as a threat to the current search engine model? I see the Answers.com one page results as a threat to this extent. Often times I will click the defintitions link from a Google search and I most often find I have no need to return to Google for further results.

Surely all my searches are not for absolute definitions on a topic and I do need extended references for many searches but I am finding approximately 1/2 of my searching needs are now met using Answers.

If my experience is shared by a significant percentage of searches worldwide is this not a problem for the Google's, Yahoo's, Jeeves etc..?
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Old 02-18-2005   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webvisitor
Danny, do you see the Gurunet model as a threat to the current search engine model? I see the Answers.com one page results as a threat to this extent. Often times I will click the defintitions link from a Google search and I most often find I have no need to return to Google for further results.
Obviously, I'm not Danny, but I hope you don't mind if I throw my 2 cents in.

I wouldn't necessarily call answers.com a threat, but I think it demonstrates that people are looking for different kinds of results from different searches. We already have a variety of different types of search like news, shopping, images, local search, people search, and encyclopedias. I see answers.com as another type of search result that can be more relevant for certain types of searches.

Certainly people will start going to answers.com when the information they seek fits that format, so either the major SEs will have to create something similar or risk losing that nitch of the search market.
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Old 02-19-2005   #7
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Asnwers.com is obviously more convenient, more concise and shorter in content as Highbeam.com and what's more it's free. I started to have the impression, the information being quite poor and elementary but I now like that kind of filter, going only to the essential. It's certainly the heritage of A9.com that was jointly developed by Amazon.com and GuruNet.com. I started to appreciate answers.com as an alternative to the moment where I have no time to search by myself. They really offer good and valuable information if one is under time pressure and needs to have results immediately.
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Old 02-21-2005   #8
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Quote:
Danny, do you see the Gurunet model as a threat to the current search engine model? I see the Answers.com one page results as a threat to this extent. Often times I will click the defintitions link from a Google search and I most often find I have no need to return to Google for further results.
Not really. We've been writing at SEW for ages how search engines themselves have been offering direct answers for some time to certain questions. Type in weather london into Yahoo, and you'll see an example of this. Other majors offer similar things, and it's only been growing. They understand that if they offer direct answers, people will come back to them for those answers and for times with there is no direct answer. As a result, the real challenge is for "direct answer" people like Answers.com to figure out how to do the reverse, provide answers when there isn't a single one. The solution there, of course, is to partner with the major search engines.
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Old 02-21-2005   #9
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Smile

Thank you Danny and PdStein.


Danny, I believe Gurunet has accomplished the feat you suggested and that is to partner with a major search engine. If Google "demotes" Answers from the definitions spot we will know if the majors consider them a threat. Lack of relevancy will not serve as an excuse. If they are dropped it will be because Answers results are so complete the searcher ends their search without returning to the G SERPs. I would love to see Googles study on this.

But here lies the conundrum for the majors. Will they work with someone who can stop a search dead with one page relevancy or turn their backs to such a product? I understand what you mean with the example of Yahoo weather, one page comprehensive analysis with links to other weather sites.
If I type in "London" on Answers I get the weather in addition to everything else I need for a short sketch of the city.
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Old 02-22-2005   #10
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Quote:
If Google "demotes" Answers from the definitions spot we will know if the majors consider them a threat.
Well, Google dumped Dictionary.com in favor of Answers.com but never said why. From my perspective, Answers.com probably provides a better experience. In both cases, the fact that both carry Google AdSense links -- which help Google earn revenue -- also had to be a factor. In short, Answers a threat to Google? How -- if they send you there, you may hit AdSense and make them money. Go there direct, you may again hit AdSense and make them money. Less money than if you went to them directly, but they're still earning.

Quote:
If they are dropped it will be because Answers results are so complete the searcher ends their search without returning to the G SERPs.
But they aren't. You said "london" tells you all you need to know on Answers.com. But it doesn't. I mean, what do you want about London. If it was just a short sketch, great -- you're set. But did you want hotels in london? Do that search and you get nada -- not even some backfill results from a web search engine. Believe me, people search for factual information that an encyclopedia can deliver along with information that simply doesn't exist in an encyclopedia. Answers.com is great for the first; not for the second.

Quote:
Will they work with someone who can stop a search dead with one page relevancy or turn their backs to such a product?
So again, Answers.com doesn't stop a search dead with one page relevancy:

http://www.answers.com/address%20of%...0white%20house
vs
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...oo gle+Search
http://web.ask.com/web?q=address+of+...use&qsrc=0&o=0
http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UT...he+white+house

Three web search engines get me to the right page; Answers.com gives me nothing at all. And that should be an easy one for it. Sure, if I just do white house, I get this article, http://www.answers.com/topic/white-house, with the street address -- but not the full street address or ZIP code.

How about a search for "email spam blocking tools." Answers.com tells us:

Quote:
email spam blocking tools is not one of the 1 million AnswerPages at Answers.com. Answers.com has AnswerPages for most words, phrases, places, famous people, companies, and more.

We suggest that you:

* Check the spelling of your term.
* Try a similar or related word or name.
* Click here to use Google to search for web pages containing the word(s) email spam blocking tools.
Answers.com has some great content of its own, and it leverages content from reference resources as well. But a search engine killer? Nope. It can be a great partner, but if it somehow did start attracting droves of users (something that hasn't happened in the 3+ years it has already been around), it would either get bought by one of the majors or they'd develop their own features to match it -- which wouldn't be difficult to do.
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Old 02-22-2005   #11
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Excellent work Danny!
Nevertheless, your first point regarding answers.com's revenue model with AdSense doesn't convince as Microsoft earned its first money with IBM and now has a much higher market cap of $277.23B (vs. $155.27B for IBM).
But your other points are amazing!
Many thanks for the excellent demonstration.
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Old 02-22-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webvisitor
If they are dropped it will be because Answers results are so complete the searcher ends their search without returning to the G SERPs.

But here lies the conundrum for the majors. Will they work with someone who can stop a search dead with one page relevancy or turn their backs to such a product?
I don't see the information answers.com provides as competition to SERPs. The two are completely different types of information. If a user does a search on Google, clicks through to answers.com, and gets the info they were looking for, then they were looking for specific information and not a list of websites. I just don't see a lot of overlap.

But I do see Answers.com competing with the major SEs desire to be the solution for every type of search. This is why even though they all started as website search tools they developed local search, news search, image search, product search, and this would be knowledge search. I'm surprised Answeres.com hasn't been bought by Google, Yahoo, MSN, or Ask yet.
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Old 02-22-2005   #13
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Much appreciated Danny.

So it won't threaten the giants but should continue to carve out a niche in the "simple" search arena. I see ContextWeb just moved Kanoodle out of a good share of the sponsored ads. It will be interesting to see when AdWords begin to appear. I like the product and am nearly addicted to the Alt-click search from any word.
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Old 03-04-2005   #14
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According to my discussion with the Director of Product Management, Answers.com, they use a collection of various available databases and adds a few entries sporadically.

There isnt too much effort put in to comeup with something like that, except for its visual panache.

I don't intend to defame the service in any manner, but Its that they havent 'created' something, they use other sources/databases just like dictionary.com.

However, I do like their ad-free service and I hope it gets even better over the time.

Last edited by Qal : 03-04-2005 at 01:27 PM.
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