How will Internet Keywords work for the web?
By Rob Cummings
Internet Keywords work for the web?
The answer is yes, but probably not if they're entered in the browser, and
probably not unless there are certain rules to avoid conflicts.
When I first read about
Netscape's internet keywords and their Smart Browser feature, some questions immediately
came to mind.
1) Although it is true that Netscape's Smart Browser internet keyword system has a prime default position in terms of traffic, how long will
it take for people to become frustrated with NetCenter's results knowing they are probably
weighted by Netscape's commercial interests?
2) What about the other +/- 50%
using the Microsoft Browser?
Will they choose NetCenter as their default portal?
3) If Yahoo or Excite sold keyword positions, would they have grown to their present size?
4) Will I still be able
to enter "keyword" and have the browser automatically add the "http:"
and ".com" like it did?
5) Will most people
actually spend time entering "guessed" entries into a browser or would they
prefer to know the "address" in advance?
Maybe the best solution is not in the browser at all
Keyword.com believes the better solution is NOT to incorporate keywords into the browser
at all... (especially if the browser is accepting financial rewards for listings), since
the results of a search will almost undoubtedly be biased. This seems to inhibit the free
exchange of ideas which the internet was built on. Most if not all of these same problems
apply to any in-the-browser keyword system. Keyword.com believes the browser is not an
appropriate place for internet keywords.
The Internet and the telephone have striking similarities
Compare the internet to using the telephone. Do people seeking Ford Automotive randomly
dial various combinations like 1-800-FORDCAR, 1-800-CARFORD, etc. and see who answers
until they get the right one? Why does anyone think entering in the browser will work any
The internet, like the
telephone, contains too many "addresses" to list on the actual instrument
itself. Since it is not practical to list EVERY telephone number on the telephone itself,
phone companies provide white page directories (which list all "addresses" in an
unbiased manner). People want to go to a complete directory, not one that is
"edited" or based on a commercially-biased selection. Using the telephone
analogy, users want to be able to connect to all the numbers, not just the numbers the
phone company "recommends". And, I, for one, would be very upset if the phone
company started redirecting my outgoing calls to a number it "thought" I wanted.
I believe it is the same for the internet.
The white pages seem to
work well. In most cases, people find what they want in the white pages mainly because
everyone is not listed as "sex" (the most popular keyword). Instead people use
their real names, or company names, and in the case of keyword.com, if there are
duplicates, they can modify their name to make it unique, or use their 800 number, or
advertising slogan, or product name, or brand name. In the white pages they might use
their middle initials to identify them from others with the same name.
Remember when phone
numbers in small towns had only four numbers? The phone company simply added more numbers
to accommodate more users. By combining words, names and phrases, there are numerous
possibilities to avoid conflicts.
And here's the key to internet keywords: just like 1-800-FLOWERS is
easier to remember than the actual phone number, an internet keyword can be
easier to remember than the URL address, BUT, IT MUST BE PROMOTED TO WORK
EFFECTIVELY. Internet keywords should be alternates to the URL, similar
to the way one can dial either 1-800-FLOWERS or the actual phone number. How many people
would dial 1-800-FLOWERS if it was not promoted?
Just as most (if not all) people would never consider punching in
randomly guessed numbers in hopes of reaching a specific party on the phone, keyword.com
does not believe experienced internet users will embrace the concept of punching in random
guesses into the smart browser.
Surely new users may initially embrace NetCenter, but as soon as they realize the results
are "weighted" and possibly not comprehensive, they will likely switch to an
unbiased source like Yahoo or Excite... or keyword.com.
I've always been a Netscape proponent, however, NetCenter seems to take away more than it
gives. Although one small step may be eliminated by using its Smart Browser feature,
important features seem to be eliminated. It seems that Netscape (using Smart Browser) no
longer automatically adds the "http" and ".com" in the browser window
(I've seen this referred to as autocanonicalization). This minor downgrade alone may have
(oddly enough) given arch-rival Microsoft Internet Explorer a tremendous boost. It was
nice to be able to enter "keyword" and have the browser fill in the rest! I
liked that autocanonicalization feature. I want it back.
I read recently of Dave
Winer's complaints, when he entered
"scripting", which used to direct users to www.scripting.com, but now, with
Smart Browser, sends users to a Netscape site.
What's wrong with search engines anyway?
keyword.com plans to follow the search engine model and remain autonomous. What's wrong
with using a search engine? Judging by traffic at the major search engines, the numbers
seem to indicate that people don't mind visiting a site to find what they want. And I
believe people eventually will want it all, rather than a commercially filtered or
abridged selection. So keyword.com will remain unbiased (outside of not accepting
pornographic or illegal sites). Users can visit keyword.com as easily as a search engine,
without any browser affiliation, and without any plug-ins.
What's nice about MetaCrawler and keyword.com
With its default to MetaCrawler, keyword.com is BOTH a search engine and an
internet keyword database.
At keyword.com, users
with internet keywords go DIRECTLY to the site they want, and those without internet
keywords SEARCH all 7 popular search engines (AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos,
Thunderstone, Webcrawler and Yahoo ALL AT ONCE).
How we're building a better internet keyword database
keyword.com's policies restrict the use of search-engine-type internet
keywords which would interfere with normal searching, so most if not all users get the
results they want (without being inadvertently redirected to a page they didn't want).
We're working on ways to make the response even more accurate.
For company name
keywords, which will become the hottest issue, Keyword.com requires companies to add one
or two descriptive words along with the company name... so "Sony" is not
allowed, but "Sony Electronics" is.
internet keyword registration is reviewed and evaluated to insure that registered internet
keywords (we call them SuperKeywords) do not interfere with normal searches. We also check
and make a conscientious effort to avoid trademark disputes.
Small Note: You may
notice a few internet keywords at keyword.com which
do interfere with search-engine-type searches and these early registrants have been given
a 90 day grace period to make the transition since our policies became more strict.
Members, please enter POLICIES at keyword.com for more information.
keyword.com internet keywords cannot be bought or sold, so there is no built-in bias. Our
solution is to remain unbiased. If either or both Netscape and Microsoft, or MCI or
AT&T, or WorldNet, or any others wish to incorporate keyword.com into their browsers
as a default, or link to keyword.com at some point in time, that would be fine. We would
welcome any partnership, however we feel that internet keywords should always be free.
Just like the search engines, we feel the increased traffic will generate advertising
To increase traffic,
members are required to place a small keyword.com hyperlink on their site. Additionally,
members must promote/use their SuperKeyword so keyword.com receives a minimum of 6 hits in
any 6-month period.
By giving people free
internet keywords, they use them. This sends more users to their sites via keyword.com.
It's a very simple idea which continues to grow on its own.
In the coming year we
will be offering new and innovative ways to promote sites, and better ways for users to
find sites. Please stay tuned.
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