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Q: Companies that control web search content ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Companies that control web search content
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: ceodan-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 21 Sep 2002 00:19 PDT
Expires: 21 Oct 2002 00:19 PDT
Question ID: 67511
I have learned that there are THREE DATABASES that control the results
of all searches conducted over the world-wide web. I need to know the
identity of these databases, ie: Who owns them, their web addresses,
e-mail addresses or any other valid, working contact information. This
information is vital to the survival of my company.

Request for Question Clarification by fons-ga on 21 Sep 2002 02:06 PDT
Hi Ceodan,

This is a very interesting question, but you seem to haved already
more information. Maybe it is helpful for any researcher who wants to
take on this question when you share that as far as possible.



Clarification of Question by ceodan-ga on 21 Sep 2002 03:59 PDT
Ok, here's the story of a lovely lady who married this guy, Steve, who
fathered a guy named Mike who started a revolutionary internet company
and told me about THREE DATABASES that control all the content on the

I took a job with as a sales agent to procure some
cashflow to grow my own fledgeling company. During the training
session, Mike was explaining to us how his "top listing" on search
engines worked. He explained that he had strategic partnerships with
Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL and that's how he got listed.

He also explained that every search engine out there (there are
literally thousands of them) uses THREE MAIN DATABASES to access their
information. These databases are, according to my knowledge, managed
by three independant entities that basically control all of the
information we access as web-users.

When I asked him to disclose this information to us, he told us that
due to the sensitivity of his business plan, he was not at liberty to
disclose the identity of the entities which control/own/manage these

It would seem that if I'm to build a successful information
procurement company, I need to know what these databases are, who owns
them, who manages them, how to contact these people and how I can GET

Contact information would suffice. I can figure out the "Get In" part.

Now can you help me? Thanks for your interest.

Clarification of Question by ceodan-ga on 21 Sep 2002 03:59 PDT
The first clarification contains a spelling error. 

Subject: Re: Companies that control web search content
Answered By: lot-ga on 21 Sep 2002 11:01 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello ceodan-ga

Here are some findings to highlight the fact that there are more than
3 databases of information that power the World Wide Web's searches:

Search Engine Watch which is one of the respected authorities on the
subject published a list of 8 major providers (there are others)
updated September 12, 2002
1. Google ( :// )
2. Overture ( ) previously know as GoTo
3. Open Directory ( ) Also known as Dmoz
4. Inktomi ( )
5. LookSmart ( )
6. Teoma ( ) previously known as DirectHit
7. AllTheWeb ( ) brand of Fast Search &
Transfer ASA ( )
8. Lycos ( ) also known as Terra Lycos also owns

"Many major search engines get their results by turning to third-party
"search providers" to "power" their listings. To make matters more
confusing, these search providers may run their own search engine
sites, as well...
Search Providers: These are listed at the top of each column. Read
down to see what they power at major search engines. Click on their
names to learn more about them. The most significant providers are
listed first, in terms of the reach Search Engine Watch feels they
have across the major search engines.
Search Engines: These are listed at the beginning of each row, in
order of "search hour" popularity, as explained on the
Nielsen//NetRatings page."
- excerpt from "Who Powers Whom? Search Providers Chart" By Danny
Sullivan Editor, Updated: Sept. 12, 2002

Google ( :// )
About -
"Today's major portals and corporate sites from all over the world,
spanning all Internet platforms, have selected Google search services
for their search technology requirements. Google WebSearch corporate
customers include Yahoo!, and its international properties; the three
largest portals in Japan-Yahoo! Japan, Fujitsu NIFTY and NEC
BIGLOBE-as well as NetEase (China), and (Taiwan) in Asia;
Vodafone Global Platform and Internet Services Group (U.K.),
Retivision (Spain) and Sapo (Portugal) in Europe. Bellwether portal
customers, including AOL/Netscape and the Washington Post in the
United States, and Virgilio in Italy are long-time customers that have
renewed their agreements with Google, while Cisco Systems, Procter &
Gamble, (comprising more than 300 sites), and among others use Google SiteSearch capabilities on
their sites."
excerpt from the Google Press Center  Google Inc. Company Overview
Who owns? -
"Google is a privately held company. Funding partners include Kleiner
Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. Other investors include
Stanford University; Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems
and current vice president at Cisco Systems; and Ram Shriram, who has
held the positions of president of Junglee and vice president of
Business Development at
Contact Information
Google Inc.
2400 Bayshore Parkway; Mountain View, Calif. 94043
Telephone: 650.330.0100
Fax: 650.618.1499
from ://

Overture ( )
About -
"Overture (Nasdaq: OVER) is the world’s leader in Pay-For-Performance
search on the Internet. The company created the market for
Pay-For-Performance search by redefining how businesses market online.
In the second quarter 2002, Overture facilitated 515 million paid
introductions on a worldwide basis between consumers and its more than
67,000 advertisers, who bid for placement on relevant search results
and pay Overture only when a consumer clicks on their listing.
Following a rigorous screening for user relevance by Overture’s
100-person editorial team, the company distributes its search results
to tens of thousands of sites across the Internet, including Yahoo!,
MSN and Lycos, making it the largest Pay-For-Performance search and
advertising network on the Internet. Overture is based in Pasadena,
California, with offices in New York and San Francisco, and subsidiary
offices in the UK, Germany, Ireland, France and Japan."
Who owns? - shareholders
Shareholder Information 
Exchange NASDAQ 
Stock Quote (OVER) 
Minimum 20 minutes delayed 
Listed Security OVER Common Stock
Transfer Agent Mellon Investor Services 
South Hackensack, NJ 07606  
Phone 1 (800) 356-2017 
Independent Accountants  Ernst & Young LLP 
Contact details -

Open Directory ( )
About -
"The Open Directory is the most widely distributed data base of Web
content classified by humans. Its editorial standards body of
net-citizens provide the collective brain behind resource discovery on
the Web. The Open Directory powers the core directory services for the
Web's largest and most popular search engines and portals, including
Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and
hundreds of others."
Excerpt from dmoz about page
Sites using Open Directory data are listed here:
Who owns? -
Netscape Communications Corporation (`Netscape')
referenced from
"Netscape Communications Corporation hosts and administers the Open
Directory Project (ODP), and has discretion over its content, use, and
operation as described in the ODP's Terms of Use. The ODP is an Open
Source inspired initiative created and maintained by a vast, global
community of volunteer editors. The following is a social contract
that we created to reflect Netscape's commitment to the Web community
to keep the ODP a free and open resource. It has been inspired by,
derived from, the Debian Social Contract."
Contact details -
The only contact details I could find were one the newsletter
Please send all comments, questions or suggestions to the newsletter
editor, or

Inktomi ( )
About -
"Inktomi's worldwide base of more than 2,500 enterprise customers
includes eight of the top ten Fortune 500; nine of the top ten U.S.
universities; seven of the top ten pharmaceutical companies; as well
as leading banks and insurers, manufacturers, government organizations
and technology companies worldwide. The company that pioneered Web
search, Inktomi is also the market-leading OEM provider of search
services, providing highly relevant search capabilities for leading
consumer portals, Internet destinations and e-commerce sites
Who owns? - shareholders
Exchange NASDAQ 
Ticker  INKT 
Transfer Agent 
Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota
P.O. Box 64854
161 North Concord Exchange
St. Paul, MN 55075
Phone: 800-468-9716
Fax: 651-450-4033
Independent Accountants 
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Contact details -

LookSmart ( )
About -
"LookSmart helps more than 80,000 businesses harness the power of
Search Targeted Marketing to generate qualified leads. LookSmart
commercial search listings enable businesses to reach 77 percent* or
nearly four out of five U.S. Internet users, through top portals and
ISPs including Microsoft's MSN, AltaVista, Netscape Netcenter,
Inktomi, Prodigy, Juno, CNN, Road Runner, Cox Interactive Media,
InfoSpace (Go2Net, Dogpile, MetaCrawler) and Ask Jeeves. As publisher
of the world's most widely distributed search directory, LookSmart is
the only company that provides both pay-for-placement and paid
inclusion search listing platforms, to meet the needs of medium and
large advertisers. BTLookSmart, LookSmart's joint venture with BT,
deploys LookSmart directories and provides Search Targeted Marketing
solutions in the U.K., France and Asia-Pacific. LookSmart is based in
San Francisco, California, with offices in Los Angeles, New York,
Detroit, Montreal, London, Melbourne and Sydney."
Who owns? - shareholders
(with contact information)

Teoma ( )
Who owns?
Ask Jeeves, Inc. 
5858 Horton Street, Suite 350
Emeryville, CA 94608
Stock Symbol: ASKJ
Exchange: Nasdaq NM
About -
"Through advanced technologies, Ask Jeeves Web Properties provide
consumers with authoritative and fast ways to find relevant answers to
their everyday searches. Ask Jeeves delivers its search technologies
and services through its own Web sites at Ask Jeeves ( and
Teoma ( The Ask Jeeves Keyword NetworkSM, the Company's
advertising services network, provides advertisers with innovative,
targeted and effective tools for reaching a broad base of highly
valuable customers. Ask Jeeves Web Properties also syndicates its
technologies to portals, infomediaries, and content and destination
sites to help companies increase e-commerce and advertising revenue
through powerful search."
Contact details -

AllTheWeb is a brand of Fast Search & Transfer ASA ( )
About -
"The FAST Web Search index powers portals that reach the majority of
European searches and over a quarter of all US searches--over 70
million users worldwide.
Unlike other search engines, every query we receive is submitted
across the entire catalog and results are returned in less than half a
second. In addition to our industry-leading relevancy algorithms, we
are committed to providing our users with the largest and freshest
catalog on the Net. "
Who owns? -
Contact details -

Apart from the major data sources above, 
other search concerns compile their own content e.g. Yahoo!, which is
one of the largest human compiled directories on the web.
There are many smaller search solutions like
A. Techno Trade's Web Directory SQL search engine
( )
that power Florida Y'all ( )
with it's own unique content and ( ) these search sites do not rely on
external databases and individual sites gather their own content.
B. Macurious Spider Search Engine ( )
that allow websites to spider and gather their own content forming
their own databases.
Also engines from China e.g. ( ) and ( ) I believe do not rely on western
databases, the same can be said of some Korean, and Taiwanese search

I would suggest to 'get in' to the major search engines, you submit
via the official channels which will give you the most coverage due to
their content being used on partner sites, and read this resourceful
guide "Search Engine Submission Tips" as a starting point.
Here are some statistics on search engine usage
"Nielsen//NetRatings Search Engine Ratings" By Danny Sullivan, Editor, Sept. 17, 2002
Jupiter Media Metrix Search Engine Ratings	 By Danny Sullivan, Editor, April 29, 2002

Some submission links are listed below, some are paid services, some
Google - :// (free)
Overture -
Open Directory - (free)
4. Inktomi -
5. LookSmart -
6. Teoma - (paid)
7. AllTheWeb -
(free and paid)
8. Lycos - (paid)

There are of course many other search engines you can submit too, e.g.
Yahoo directory ( ) Sprinks ( ) Splut ( )
etc, which in itself implies more than 3 databases.

If you need to 'get in' on a larger scale on an information
procurement level, I would suggest you go through the corporate /
business development channels and negotiate a deal to supply content
as a partner.

Although the theory of 3 databases controlling the World Wide Web's
search content is an interesting one, the factual information proves
otherwise, particularly if you take into account foreign search engine
However the search engine scene has seen large rationalizations, and
the search content to the western world is beginning to look like you
can count the major content providers on one hand. If there were 3
databases it would make life easier for webmasters who submit their

To ensure your company gets maximum exposure to generate new leads, I
would submit to the major search content providers above. Basically
there are two types of model to be found (once you have your site
successfully submitted).
Pay per click (like Overture) - the more you pay the higher you will
be ranked, money talks in this situation. Then there is traditional
ranking where the content, structure and popularity of your page
determine your ranking... this can be a fine art and there are search
engine optimization experts that focus on this. Pay per click
guarantees a fast entry and high ranking (at a price) and you only pay
for results i.e. when somebody clicks your link.

As to your friend's mention of strategic partnerships with Google,
Yahoo, MSN.. here is a search for the keywords 'contax t3' which is a
point and shoot camera.
Search on Google:
Search on Yahoo:
Search on AOL:
- Notice the similarities of the rankings? - they are the same. 
So if you rank in Google you will also rank in Yahoo (secondary
results) and AOL.
The ranking however on MSN is different:
as the results are served by Inktomi, but a ranking on Inktomi would
also show his site in Overture's secondary results with are displayed
in turn on Lycos, AltaVista, InfoSpace, Netscape, CNET and Netzero.
(Not bad coverage for being listed at Google and Inktomi)

Search Strategy:

I hope that explains the search engine content situation.
If you need any clarification of the answer, just ask.
Kind regards
ceodan-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
This is a great answer... it really sheds some light on the whole
scene surrounding my question... however, it would seem upon closer
analysis, that a lot of these "major search engines" share a lot of
information with eachother. This, again, points to the possibility of
a central core of databases catagorizing all content on the web.

Subject: Re: Companies that control web search content
From: lot-ga on 21 Sep 2002 04:44 PDT
I know some smaller search engines that use their own database and
spiders that are independant of any external databases. So the
information that 'all' searches conducted over the WWW uses these 3
databases is slightly misleading. uses it's own database which is open source which many sites
use including Google, Inktomi has it's own data which it shares,
Overture (GoTo) shares it's contents with various sites including
Yahoo,  Teoma (Direct Hit) provides some results sites such as HotBot,
All the Web (Fast) also shares its contents with Lycos and others, so
there appears to be more than 3 databases. Unless these 3 databases is
referring to the 'type' of database e.g. mySQL and msSQL?
Subject: Re: Companies that control web search content
From: cheese-ga on 22 Sep 2002 08:22 PDT
The major search engines don't really share information as you
speculated. Several major databases (Google, Fast Search & Transfer
ASA, Inktomi, Overture, others) supply many other search tools with
their data. However, three databases would definitely not count for
all searches. Even several hundered wouldn't, because there are many,
many smaller databases.

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