Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

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Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
Lighten Up 5 April 2002 Edition
Previous Edition

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
Let's end the week on a high note...

Worst User Manuals
Technical Standards Inc recently ran a contest to find the worst user manuals -- here are the results.

Microsoft Creates GOD
The MSNŽ network of Internet services, with more than 270 billion unique reboots worldwide, today announced the addition of the Gates Open Directory (GOD).

The Official Ninja Webpage
All you ever wanted to know about Ninjas -- and (unfortunately) a lot more.

EnVaDoR's ToiletPC
It's sure different -- but I don't know that it's going to be to everyone's taste. Yuck!

Aardvark's Web-site Survey Service
If you're launching a new website, upgrading an existing one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then maybe you need an Aardvark Site Survey. Read more...

How Dumb Is This?
Google is the undisputed king of the search engines. It alone accounts for 58% of all search-engine sourced hits on this website with its nearest competitor (Yahoo) coming in a distant second at just 24%.

Recently a "pretender" to the crown announced its intentions to challenge Google for dominance.

Teoma is claiming that a new and unique ranking system (called "Subject-Specific Popularity") will make its results even more relevant than those of its competitors.

Is this true? Could Google be about to tumble?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
Nothing Yet
Have Your Say

Well I don't think so.

Based on my own little tests, Teoma's ranking technology just doesn't live up to the promises made for it.

In the searches I conducted, the ranking provided by Teoma was almost always inferior to that coughed up by Google -- and Google's database clearly has more depth to it as well.

What's more, Teoma may have spent lots of time and effort in an attempt to improve its ranking algorithms but they still don't have google's killer features: page caching, language translation, and "view as HTML".

However, all these deficiencies pale into insignificance compared to the site's main "how dumb is this" feature...

As far as I can see, there's no way to add your site to its database without paying a fee!

Teoma is not alone in this "we don't want your site unless you're prepared to pay" attitude. LookSmart also switched to a "paid listings only" option quite some time ago.

It's interesting to note how far LookSmart has fallen in terms of its popularity since choosing this path -- and I suspect it's something that's also going to scuttle Teoma's attempt to take on Google.

Let's face it -- people want their chosen search engine to be as comprehensive as possible and this is where Google scores big-time. Why even bother with a search engine that, by charging for listing, restricts itself to just a subset of Google's content -- even if it might produce more accurately ranked results (which it doesn't).

The need for a comprehensive and up to date database has been demonstrated by the very rapid demise of AltaVista which stopped updating its database about a year ago and now produces just 5% of search-engine referrals to this site.

Even Yahoo, which also used to carry the search-engine/directory crown at one time has suffered from its "pay up to list" attitude. Although Yahoo will accept unpaid listings, it seems as if it might deliberately delay or ignore such submissions in favour of those who are prepared to cough up several hundred dollars to get "priority consideration."

What's your favourite search engine and why?

Do you even bother with the has-beens like AltaVista or the pretenders such as Teoma?

Have your say.

Oh yes, I'm thinking of updating my little series on how to promote and build traffic to your website. I last published this well over a year ago and, given the changes that have taken place since then, I thought it might be worth revising and republishing. Should I bother?

Aardvark's Garage Sale
It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export oriented) market. I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing "waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.

Anyone interested in any of these things should drop me a line.

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