InfoSpace Web Site Optimization Information

InfoSpace was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employee Naveen Jain, and is based out of Bellevue, Washington. It is a search engine and directory service (considers itself the third largest directory on the web), with offices in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In October 2001, InfoSpace merged with Go2Net. InfoSpace is affiliated with Overture, LookSmart, Google and FindWhat. Most of InfoSpace’s business is based on technology and business development.

InfoSpace is made up of two distinct divisions Search and Directory, and Mobile. Their Search and Directory division offers World Wide Web search and directory services, while their Mobile division caters to wireless technologies.

The Search and Directory division contains three separate units. These include: Branded Search Sites; Private-Label Search Services; and Online Directory Brands.

Branded Search Sites:

At its core, InfoSpace utilizes its own branded meta search function. This is made up of four primary meta search engines, which include: Dogpile, Webcrawler, Metacrawler and Webfetch.

Brief history of the Engines:
Dogpile was created in 1996 by research attorney Aaron Flin. It was purchased by LookSmart in 2000, and is InfoSpace’s flagship search engine.

Webcrawler was developed in 1994 by University of Washington student Brian Pinkerton. It went live April 20, 1994, and after a series of acquisitions by various companies, it was finally acquired by InfoSpace in 2001.

Metacrawler was produced in 1994 by Erik Selberg and Associate Professor Oren Etzioni at the University of Washington. It was purchased by InfoSpace in 2000.

Webfetch is the European equivalent to Dogpile.

All four meta search engines pull results from Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, FindWhat, MSN, LookSmart and Inktomi. InfoSpace combines the results obtained from the above meta search engines and weighs them, displaying results based on the relevancy to the search.

*Note Sponsored listings are listed among the search results, but are well labeled, separating them from organic algorithm searches. Listings for paid results are supplied by Overture.

The four meta search engines maintain similar layouts. For example, each has the following search categories: Web, Images, Audio, Video, News, Yellow Pages and White Pages. Dogpile is InfoSpace’s flagship search engine; therefore more detailed information about this engine will be discussed within this article.

Dogpile’s mascot, known as Arfie, gathers its results from Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask Jeeves, About, FindWhat, and LookSmart. Results can be displayed by order of relevance or source, and there is a comparison view feature that allows you to compare results from the various engines searched. Results can also be grouped. Dogpile utilizes Vivisimo’s clustering technology, which pulls results and organizes them into categories.

Dogpile also has a Search Spy feature that lets you view the current search trends. Like a fine beer, this can be set to filtered or unfiltered. Results can also be viewed in a number of languages.

Private-Label Search Services:

Private-Label Search Services provides back end services to paid partners, handing over search engine results for businesses via both algorithmic and paid results. Paid members who utilize this service can provide content found from InfoSpace to their users under their own brand names. InfoSpace claims their proprietary technology allows them to aggregate content from multiple sources as though it comes from one provider.

Online Directory Brands:

Found at InfoSpace and Switchboard, the Online Directory Brands presents users with directory listings, such as white pages, yellow pages, web listings, maps, directions and weather, etc. Information supplied to the online directory service comes from various businesses as well as users.

Mobile Directory:

The Mobile Directory provides wireless device users with access to white and yellow page services, maps, directions etc.

InfoSpace goes blog:

On a final note, InfoSpace now lets you access RSS feeds, through the RSS Ticker in the toolbar.