Dogpile Redesign Emphasizes Metasearch

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Metasearch engine Dogpile.com redesigned its site, letting users compare results across search engines, and is emphasizing the importance of metasearch to Web users.


The Bellevue, WA, company also plans to increase online marketing spending this year to promote that consumers can search several engines simultaneously.


In its surveys, consumers think metasearch is a great idea but most don't know where to find it, said Brian Bowman, vice president of marketing and product management for InfoSpace Search & Directory.


"The challenge is getting the awareness," he said. "Most were not aware of metasearch."


Last month, Dogpile parent company InfoSpace Inc. signed a two-year deal to add results from MSN Search to Dogpile's metasearch offering. Later this year, Dogpile.com will become the only metasearch site that compiles results from all four leading search engines.


Dogpile simultaneously released the results of its new study showing that there is only a 3 percent overlap among the results returned on the first pages by Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves.


Those results prove that entering the same search term on the most popular engines will deliver "wildly differing" outcomes, Dogpile said, resulting in substantial amounts of missing information. This means that for the vast majority of searches conducted on these sites, users won't see results that are deemed highly relevant by the other sites, according to the company.


Conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University, the results "contradict the notion that search engines are alike and that searching one engine is the same as searching them all," said Jim Jansen, assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University.


In its additions to the site, Dogpile set up a chart that lets users see the extent to which the first page of results for any single keyword differs among the top three engines: Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves.


"It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, that if you use one search engine, you're good enough," Bowman said. "No single company can keep the Web updated all the time."


In Dogpile's comparison view, its search results are displayed on the left, while those from Google -- or the engine the user chooses -- are displayed on the right.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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