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Famous Stand Alone Search Engines from the Past



*Also See Pay Per Click Search Engines

Northern Light - in the past this was a search engine providing a more academic view of the web. It crawled the web and delievered regular search engine like results from webpages and even had its own private academic library that could be viewed online for a fee. Northern Light is famous for sponsoring Indy Racing for millions of dollars. Originally Northern Light had agree to a $50 million dollar 5 year sponsorship of Indy racing but this was renegotiated and Northern Light ending up only paying for two years of sponsorship for $20 million or so. A search engine sponsoring racing which is not techie at all while not being known by hardly anyone online except people who run websites for money is just plain stupid. In the end Northern Light converted over to more of a pay per use search thing for academic journals exclusively and now they focus more on trying to sell their search solutions to corporations. They are about dead by now. this is an article about Northern Light's departure from providing free search results. this is an article about Northern Light ending their advertising agreement with Indy Racing.

Direct Hit - originally this was supposed to be a service that ranked sites according to how often and how long its searchers spent on sites in response to a given keyword. This sounded really good in theory as a ranking mechanism but in reality those that appeared at the top of results for whatever reason tended to stay at the top, and sites that trapped you with metrefreshing would appear to be popular by this methodology. Directhit also showcased that the sites people actually used on a given keyword were not always the best and that was its major flaw. Direct hit relied on how inexperienced surfers searched around to rank sites themselves. This domain now redirects to Teoma

Infoseek/ - at one point Infoseek was a great engine. It had lots of nice features to narrow ones search. Then Disney purchased Infoseek and took a popular search engine and used it as search. In essence Disney tried to erase a good well known search engine and make a new one. To supplement the search engine Infoseek, Disney created something known as the Go directory. This was a directory maintained by volunteers that could rank and submit sites collaboratively. Sites in the directory appeared above regular sites returned from the Infoseek search engine at one point. Disney got into a lawsuit with the pay per click search engine Goto because their portal was thought too similar in name. Interestingly enough when Disney decided to abandon the whole Go portal thing and let each of its sites stand on its own it choose to no longer maintain Infoseek and instead deliver pure paid advertising search results from Goto which is now known as overture.

Snap/NBCI - Snap began as a directory of the web maintained by Cnet and NBC. When NBC was on its Internet crazy phase they decided to rename the Snap directory as NBCI for NBC interactive. Along with the Snap component, NBCI provided free webpage service via which began forwarding to to help brand the NBCi venture. The Snap directory was different from most directories because it had something known as a live directory. A paid editor would have to review a site before it could be a part of the regular Snap directory, but all sites waiting to be reviewed were part of the "live directory." Whenever the regular directory yielded no results for a given keyword results from the live directory were shown. And only after live directory listings were exhausted were results from a spider based engine, inktomi delivered. Since Snap had so few listings it was easy to win lots of keywords with just a live directory listing which you yourself got to write as you saw fit. So in essence Snap was self service traffic as winning less than super popular keyword phrases was easy. Live Directory listed sites could keep track of their rank on various keywords. The more popular your live directory site was for a given keyword the more likely it was supposed to be reveiwed for a regular listing. Snap/NBCi ultimately was eliminated from the web. The former Snap directory now yields nothing but a selection of overture pay per click search sites and sites from the dogpile meta search engine. The Xoom free home page service was also eliminated. Millions worth of NBC broadcast television time was used promoting NBCI but it still ulitmately was a failure and the directory while different was not very good. The live listings even though spammy were more interesting than regular reviewed Snap sites though.

Deja news - this search site also known as Deja in the past was the premier source to search newsgroup postings with and even post to newsgroups from. The only real alternative to Deja for newsgroup matters was remarq which left the business even before Deja did. At one point Deja News decided to just start calling themselves Deja they attempted to transform themselves into a review site for consumer goods. They kept around their newsgroup stuff but made it hard to find. Google purchased Deja News and has expanded their database and now uses it as their Google Groups. It was great that Deja was preserved by Google as a wealth of knowledge about the early internet is available in newsgroups.

Excite - one of the original search engines that existed in the times when Lycos, Infoseek, and Altavista were the best engines around. Today Excite delivers paid adveritising results from overture with the metasearch engine Dogpile's data thrown into the mix.

Webcrawler - this used to be a stand alone search engine that was owned by Excite. Webcrawler was interesting in that by default it displayed only a site's title, and you could list 100 search results at a time. So you could see some strange and interesting stuff at a glance. Webcrawler towards the end used the same search engine database as excite but still with the titles only display. Webcrawler today uses the Open Directory for its directory portions and overture pay per click results for its search results.

Lycos - maintained their own search engine of relative quality for some time until they decided to abandon it and instead use search services from Alltheweb.

Open Text - this search engine became most popular on Feb 26, 1996 when it was added as the default search engine that Yahoo would use when no category or website matches were brought up for a query. Open Text would remain a search choice for a while via an external link during Yahoo searches even after Open Text was dropped as their search provider.

This is a link mentioning the first use of Open Text on Yahoo

History of Open Text the Company

Old News Report about Open Text and Yahoo

* If the above about dead search engines interested you then you might want to visit this search engine graveyard site for another opinion on dead search engines . The info is somewhat dated but interesting.