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Lycos: Can't Get There From Here 249

rockville writes "I found this from Robot Wisdom, then I tried it myself: when you search Lycos for Excite, Yahoo, or Infoseek, you get a pretty strange result " I guess I can understand the reasons behind doing that, but it still feels kinda wrong. What do you think?
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Lycos: Can't Get There From Here

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  • Who'd search for infoseek in the first place? But it is also indictive of how they are controlling what the user sees -- and it's so easy for them to say "yeah, your web page can come up first if you give us money" to sponsors. Ethical? I dunno. Fair to the internet surfer? Probably not. Use a different search engine? Good idea.
  • That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Okay, not the stupidest, but pretty close. They're actually getting in the way of your search. There must be a hundred legitimate reasons to do a search for the word "excite" (although not intelligently), so why would they do this? Bah! I never use Lycos anyway - AltaVista and Deja are all I need.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by MillMan ( 85400 )
    Apparently lycos didn't pay itself enough money to get search results on its own page....
  • by plunge ( 27239 ) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @07:39PM (#1584890)
    click here to search for yahoo on lycos [] You get their page asking you to please consider them first. Read through as tears come to your eyes. Then- after they're done pitching to you, they finally say, basically: "Okay, if you still want to search for Yahoo on Lycos, click here []. Guess where this link takes you? Read through again as tears come to your eyes....
  • I've always found it odd that people go to search engines looking for other search engines. Apparently yahoo is one of the most common search terms. If you do the monitor what people are asking on Ask Jeeves, you do notice alot of 'How do I get to the Internet site Yahoo!?'
  • Why doesn't it block out Altavista or Google, or AllTheWeb, or WebCrawler, or About, or... well, you get the idea. That's kind of strange, if you ask me.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • If Lycos didn't include the link, then I can see people complaining about it, but since they do include a direct link to Infoseek/Excite/Yahoo at the bottom of the page, so I don't really see anything wrong with this.

  • That's a juvenile and low tactic by a company against another. It is tantamount to FUD,except that it has none of F, U or D in is just a microsoft-like anti-competition ploy.

    though to give them a little credit, google is properly linked. :)
  • by nicksand ( 28560 ) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @07:44PM (#1584897)
    Why should they feel obligated to send people to their competitors? Remember that these search engines live off advertising. Sending people away to (potentially) better places will be like biting the hand that feeds them.

    Besides, any dip who can't figure out that yahoo is located at, or infoseek at, deserves what they get.

    Conclusion: there is nothing to get your panties in a knot about here. The actions of Lycos aren't harmful or menancing.

  • And it takes you to the same page! Seriously, I'm not going to use a search engine that is so insecure that it has to plead you not to use the competition. A manly search engine would bravely give you the link, content with its superiority over it's competitors.

  • by RobertGraham ( 28990 ) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @07:45PM (#1584899) Homepage
    From their page: "And we guarantee that you'll like us."

    Um, what if I don't? Do I get my money back?

  • Every dollar of it :)
  • Kinda reminds me of the Google search for 'More evil than satan himself'... anyway, how many times have you seen some clueless newbie go to Yahoo and type '' or something in the search field? I guess lycos' move only makes sense... search engines trying to second guess the user is nothing new, this is just a vivid example.
  • A study of AltaVista's logs for August 1998 showed that "yahoo" was the 7th most popular query over a period of a few weeks. It seems kind of dumb for Lycos to do that, but on the other hand they are probably catching a lot of hits that way. There are quite a few people new to the web who don't know any better.

    - Russ
  • Lycos is a cheap rip-off of Google?? That's like saying Macintosh is a cheap rip off of Windows.
  • Altavista gets my vote, hands down, for the most powerful search engine. Even if it has a dumb new portal interface, it can still get you exactly what you need, quickly and precisely (with a little practice, anyway). I say, why even use Lycos?
  • eh?

    Lycos' been around a lot longer then google.

    Doesn't stop google from owning you, though :)
  • When searching for Keyword:"Infoseek"

    Are you looking for Infoseek?

    We know you've been looking for Infoseek but if you really want to search the Web for the coolest, newest, best quality Web sites we hope you'll try us, Lycos: Your Personal Internet Guide. We're the world's best Internet search and directory. And we guarantee that you'll like us. You'll find the highest quality sites fast, and without a fuss. Just type what you're looking for into the search box found at the top of almost every page on Lycos and click on the Go Get It! button. It's that easy. If you're not sure of what you're looking for, we offer a comprehensive Open Directory and critically-acclaimed Web Guides.

    Unbelievable! . .


    Overgrown link farms with blipverty interfaces like this. . .they should just change the prompt in front of the SEARH textbox to: PLEASE SELECT YOUR BLIPVERT

  • What's even more odd is that if you search for Hotbot, it takes you directly to Hotbot's webpage. What's up with that?
  • They've got the whole site structured if you poke around a little -- do a search for search engine [] you get a list of awfully generic results, no Yahoo, Alta Vista, Northern Lights, ...I see Google! [] wayyy down on the list, buried among a few hundred other anonymous engines.

    I suppose it is in a company's interest to not support their competition, but this is a bit much. Or is it? Would it be reasonable for, say, the New York Times to write about the New York Post? Does that ever happen? (I can't say, I live in Alabama...). Or does the phone book mention competing phone companies? I would think so.

    I wonder if such directory services are legally bound to represent information like this accurately -- clearly they aren't here, and it's easy to understand why, but how far can they carry it? If one advertiser doesn't like site so and so, will they block it from listings? This starts butting up on some important issues pretty quickly when you get into such matters. Is blocking access to a document a suppression of first amendment free speech rights? Good question...

    Of course if we all just used Google [] to begin with, this problem might not happen in the first place. But that's just my unofficial, third-party, no-name endorsement of their fine service...

  • ...Or Northern Light. And if you enter "more evil than satan himself" you (more likely than not) get a hit for an article about Google's unusual search result.

    Not only is this contrived, it's rather boring. :P
  • For the record, it only seems to trip if you search for just "excite." Anything more to the query and you get real results (ie. "lasers excite atoms" will pass normally).

    Oddly enough, seaching for just "google" gives you a link to Google. Go figure.

  • Doesn't it seem odd that people would be able to figure out where AltaVista was, but not Yahoo?

  • Search engines are such a part of the fabric of the internet that they've become taken for granted; you use them without really thinking about them. I for one have always assumed that they were agnostic in that they only analzyed your request in terms of finding matching pages. What's actually revealed here is they are analyzing the content of your request as well. This is chilling.

    What other keywords are they looking for? What are they doing behind the scenes when presented with these keywords? I don't consider myself to be a privacy zealot but things like this make me wonder whether we truly know the internet as much as we think we do.
  • I work in a computer lab and we use (blech) ie5. You'd be amazed how many people open up the search frame and type in yahoo, or just type in some random url, in the search engine box...
  • by MillMan ( 85400 )
    ignore my other dumb post, I misread a 4 sentance article somehow...

    So basically this page that should be a service is more of a self-promoting marketing device. Suprising? No. Unethical? Probably.

    *sigh* I suppose you could say that they have to make money, blah blah blah...but hasn't lowest-common-denomonator-carpet-bombing marketing gone far enough? Crap like this gets drilled into your head every day. I can hardly watch TV without my mind going numb. The web has become almost the same. Fortunatly I know where to go on the web where crap like this doesn't exist. Thats a Good Thing. The web can't be totally controlled with marketing like most other media outlets.
  • But don't you think this could a disturbing precedent? Part of the appeal of the web is the "you CAN get there from here" mentality. And you should be able to do it without getting preached at. Sure, this is probably harmless- but think about the way media companies tend to operate- I bet that within a decade or so, if major regulatory efforts aren't made (and they probably wont be) most major search engines will have parent company owners. Lycos could easily end up part of Viacom. When searching for another media company on Lycos, would you really want a sales pitch thrown back at you, and a long maze to navigate before finding your link? This is another rumble of something big- will the ethos of the web survive under corporate ownership? If the journalistic integrity of most modern multinational/subsidiary/commercial press orgs is any indication- it'll definately suffer FAIR ain't the best themselves, but they have the right idea... []
  • I don't get it. If your not smart enuf to type in the address bar, you'll probably have trouble finding it in any search engine. Just go to google, and don't sweat the small stuff from the like of lycos or whomever...
  • Can you see, months or years from now, "We know you're looking for, but has offered a large sum of cash to beg, prod, and, if need be, insist that you consider them first."

    It seems to me that this is the next logical step from search engines charging for preferential listings. It could get ugly.


  • What do you really think of Google then? I've personally always had much better success with google, mostly because it don't get as much "the same damn site 50 times in a row" problem. But anecdotal evidence is not useful- what's the stats: alta or google? Or are they each better for different sorts of searches?
  • Kinda reminds me of the Google search for 'More evil than satan himself'...
    Except that with Google that is a by-product of how they index, not a special case, (or at least that's my understandaing). You can search on Google for simply "more evil" and get MicroSoft. IIRC, this is becuase Google searches not only the page but the pages that link to the page you are looking for. Therefore, becuase so many people have linked to MicroSoft near the word evil, it comes up when you search.
  • We're the world's best Internet search and directory. And we guarantee that you'll like us.
    If I don't like them does that mean I can sue them for false advertisement?
  • What other keywords are they looking for?

    Any keyword they can sell. Most allow companies to buy 'favorable placment' in your search.

  • Contrast Lycos's behavior with Altivista, which, when confronted with a search for "Yahoo", comes up with a bunch of search results, and even has the statement "Could you please direct me to the Internet search engine", and a pop-up menu that has every search engine I can think of, and a number I've never heard of...

    Their new look will take some getting used to, but think I'm sticking with them... (Though I'll definately flip though some of these ones I haven't seen...)
  • I use GOOGLE and AltaVista and I tried both and they don't use this FUD.
  • "Hey, this page is the same as the last page . . I think that paper clip is staring at me"

  • > But anecdotal evidence is not useful- what's the stats: alta or google?
    > Or are they each better for different sorts of searches?

    More anecdotal evidence, really, but I've found that Google is much better for "popular" subjects and pages, and Altavista is better for the more obscure ones. Google is my primary search engine -- I love the nice clean interface, and hope they never change it -- but if Google doesn't find anything, I go to Altavista -- with images /off/.
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @08:21PM (#1584928) Homepage
    In philosophy and law, there's the concept of "content neutrality". To condense it down to its core, it basically means that busineses and structures don't care *what* they're working with; they merely work with whatever the customer provides.

    In computing terms, most processes that take data in from a pipe are content neutral--it doesn't matter what you toss into mmencode, or tr, or mail. The apps perform a function on content--whatever that content happens to be is irrelevant.

    The key to Content Neutrality is consistency. It's not enough to merely be "sometimes" or "usually" neutral.

    Content Neutrality forms the protective construct in law that insulates from liability, for example, web site providers for the contents of their customer's web pages, email providers for the words and possible contraband relayed blindly over their networks, and telephone companies from being liable for bomb threats made over their lines.

    If web site providers constantly monitor any of their sites, they're liable to constantly monitor all of them. The same goes for voice and email providers, who would quickly go out of business if they had to make sure no contraband speech passed over their lines. Telephone providers do not monitor any lines for contraband--that's not their job. Making sure a line exists is.

    Content Neutrality gives the information industry it's primary shield against those who would exploit their infrastructure to blindly suppress both the criminal and the innocent.

    Content Neutrality is also the only thing protecting the entire search engine industry from instant extinction.

    What happens if I find a kiddie porn site through Google(as far as I can tell, it can find anything)?) What happens when some 12 year old kid at the local library finds off Yahoo? Or when anyone picks a song off of (Half of the Lycos employees who are reading this just went ghost pale.)

    By preventing searches for site competitors from bringing up standard spider results, Lycos is accepting the role of gatekeeper, verifying that users aren't going to be led anywhere they shouldn't be led.

    This Is Not A Position Lycos Wants To Be In!!!

    Such a precedent means that Lycos would have to proactively verify the age of those who find sex sites through their search engine--after all, young children shouldn't be led to X rated sites. It means that Lycos could be held responsible for guiding people to fan sites--after all, illicit photography scanned from magazines should not be republished. Anything and everything Lycos does would have to go through an insurmountable gauntlet of legal checks before a return could be allowed, all because Lycos chose to sacrifice their content neutrality for the sirens of market share and myopia.

    This is no joke. Content Neutrality is the reason why you can call MCI via AT&T Long Distance and ask them to change your service, rather then having your call redirected to a Ma Bell hard sell sales associate.

    Somebody needs to slap Lycos's lawyers around a bit--someone fell asleep at the wheel.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

  • That's been done for years, It's common practice for search engines to sell off words to the highest bidder, and when someone searches for that word, it comes up with the highest bidder first, this method is less blatant, but it still amounts to the same thing.
  • You are all worked up that you cant find Yahoo in Excite and vise versa with all the serch engines. I ask this, whats the big deal? If you are typing "Yahoo" in Exite your plain slow, just type "WWW.Yahoo.Com" in your adress bar. The URL is self named, that applies to all the search engines. "WWW.Excite.Com" If you know where your trying to go, just type it in the adress bar.
  • I believe that Hotbot is owned by Lycos> I'm not sure why one company would want two search engines, but the fact that the the "if you really want to continue" links goes back to the same page is weird too. And what if I just want to learn about hotbot's. How can I find a page just about hotbot's if it just takes me away. Oh well.
  • After not noticing that I'd been automatically redirected to the German Lycos site [], and finding that I could find German Yahoo, Infoseek and so on, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

    I then confirmed the "humorous messages" effect by going here US Lycos [].

    Are the people in America having fun, or are they being misguided.

  • I use Google for everything anyway...who needs Lycos? :-)
  • Hotbot is part of the Lycos network. There are several other sites including Sonique, Tripod, Angelfire, Wired, Hotwired, etc. Take a gander [].
  • The thing is that the search engine would normally undoubtedly turn up the right page -- its censorship!
  • <RANT>
    Seriously, if you don't know where to find Yahoo, it's time to pull the friggin' plug. I'm not one of those hardliners, either. I'm all for newbie accessibility. But you've gotta start somewhere. If you can't get to, forget it.

    Oh, BTW, we've all seen people put hostnames in search engines, haven't we? Isn't that the funniest thing? I remember seeing my wife typing "" in a Yahoo! search box...


  • "You'll find the highest quality sites fast, and without a fuss." I'd call this garbage a fuss. What else could anyone possibly call it? Again- not a big deal at all- but possibily portentious of policy to come.
  • But try searching for altavista on lycos.
    A whole bunch of results pop up. Granted, the
    first result is "AltaVista Firewall 98", but see
    what it has to say about the search engine:
    Renowned search engine also sports news provided by, free e-mail, services, and Usenet search.

    BTW, the link is to the old

    I'm not sure what this all means...secret alliances between web portals?
  • by RSevrinsky ( 10305 ) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @08:34PM (#1584944) Homepage
    Besides, any dip who can't figure out that yahoo is located at, or infoseek at, deserves what they get.

    Actually, I had a good reason for using one search engine to find another just last week.

    I was at a branch of the New York Public Library []. They've been switching over from dumb terminals (which you can use from home - just telnet to and login as "leo") to a Windows-based GUI, hybridized with a Netscape browser. However, to prevent the average user from surfing the Web on machines obstensibly set up for searching the library catalog, URLs cannot be entered into the Location field and the Open Page dialog is disabled.

    As I was on the road during my lunch hour, and needed to check an address for my next stop, I spent about 5 minutes coming to the realization I have described above. Fortunately, the NYPL GUI helpfully links you to "approved" or "recommended" web resources, such as other libraries and literary sites. It took me about another minute to find an "approved" site that got me to Yahoo. From there, I went to AltaVista. From there, I could have gone anywhere -- with or without the ability to explicitly enter the URL.

    WRT to the library, this whole incident demonstrates the idiocy of the library's effort to disable normal browser usage. The web is too interconnected to give a user a tiny subsection, short of not actually connecting to the Internet and using cached/offline versions of the "accepted" pages.

    But, much more importantly, WRT to search engines confusing or removing their competitors from their search databases, it runs contrary to the spirit of the web and their entire raison d'etre. You want to find out about Yahoo on Lycos? No problem! Here's Yahoo itself [], here's a parody site [], here's a testimonial for Oracle []. Search engines are expected to rate according to relevance, but not to editorialize. It's unprofessional, and confusing as all hell to the newbies.

    If a search engine wants to distinguish itself on technical merits (like Google) or excellent design, it shouldn't act like a sleazy appliance salesman ("you don't wanna shop there, buddy...I gotta great deal for you right here....")

    - Richie

  • well i was logged in when i sent "why not?" but it still registered me as an AC. anyway, my nick is Bastian for all those who would be annoyed by AC status.
  • That's probably because Hotwired owns Hotbot, and Hotwired was recently bought and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Lycos.
  • try a search for "the source of evil" on google.

    despite what all you naysayers claim, I still think google is the best search engine around =)
  • Searching for Google still works, though, and the top couple links are even to the right site []. And who needs those other engines when you've got google, anyways?

    I used to like metacrawler [] but then they went too commercial.

  • They drop you right off at, no questions asked. Weirdness.
  • I do not care about Yahoo...

  • Deja? Really? I stopped using it because I got so tired of waiting 25-30 seconds for *each message* to appear, while waiting for all the crap to download that makes up a typical Deja web page. For people with access to a high-speed connection, it's no big deal, but for everyone else, it's infuriating. Now I use Infoseek - not quite as robust as Deja, but very functional, and MUCH faster.
  • Well, I'm sure you all know that if you search for "More evil than Satan" on Google, you will get this place [] as the top hit. But did you know that searching for The best porn on the Internet [] will list these guys [] as the top hit, and their friends [] as the third hit. Well it amused me, in any case.
  • Try searching for the phrase infoseek. I.e.,
    enter "infoseek" with the quotes. Works like
    a charm.

    Thomas S. Howard
  • Long long ago, in a different job, I used FrameMaker. It marked "InterLeaf" and "PageMaker" (competing DP software) as spelling mistakes and offered "FrameMaker" as the "correct" alternative. I believe that at least one of the other two also did this.
  • Maybe so, but they also offer a direct link to Yahoo...
  • I of this practice... what I meant is to be worried about the danger of search engines actually blocking search results that would lead to the competitors of those companies who have paid them for a prominent position.
  • Keep in mind that AltaVista is owned by Compaq now, and many Compaq machines default the preinstalled browser(s) to an AltaVista portal page customized for the user. They're probably counting all the searches done through the portal pages too. And consider, also, that most of the machines that HAVE that on them (their Presario line - aimed at the "common joe" (read: moron)) are bought by people who've probably not had a lot of computer exposure (read: morons). Therefore, AltaVista's gonna see a lot of that. (Remember that Compaq got AltaVista as part of the purchase of Digital...)
  • As someone else commented, hijacking searches based on keywords can lead down a road that Lycos probably should not go down. Once they start controlling content of searches in that fashion, what's the next step from there?

    Just be careful what you wish for.
  • The whole purpose of Lycos is that they're the first place you go to get somewhere else, with a few vanilla web tools like chat and e-mail to keep you around and show you a few more ads.

    You gotta figure most websites compete with Lycos directly or indirectly for features and/or eyeballs one way or another. So why send users ANYWHERE without a strong warning that they're leaving your beautiful

    Because it'd be a pretty effing stupid portal, that's why.
  • Many months ago, I went to the trouble of submitting my Web site (the same URL as above) to all the major search engines, including Lycos. Several months later, I decided to see which engines could find me. I typed in the fairly unique keyword ewhac and waited to see what happened. All of them turned up reasonable results.

    ...Except Lycos. After typing in a few other phrases unique to my Web pages, I determined that Lycos somehow failed to index my site after several months. I went to their "Add Your Site" page to re-submit it, and found they have a feature to determine if your page is already indexed. I entered my URL, and Lycos replied, "Yeah, sure, we know about your site," and displayed the correct <TITLE> of the page.

    I see. So Lycos will collect URLs, but not actually do anything with them. Cute.

    As I was writing this message, I decided to see if anything had changed. I did some keyword searches, but my Web site still didn't turn up. So I returned to the "Add Your Site" page, and checked to see if they still knew about my site. Here's the response I received:

    URL: is in the catalog.

    record doesn't meet index criteria

    Nowhere on Lycos could I find a description of their index criteria. My cynical nature suspects that their criteria involve money. Who knows how many other useful or interesting pages they have deliberately failed to index?

    Lycos is a bullshit scam. Avoid it. Google has always worked better for me, anyway.


  • I don't think there's any alternative. Infoseek merely uses a cleaner version of dejaNEWS. After they shut down the dejaView, I had to download lynx win32 for dejaNEWS, go figure.

  • I second that vote for Google. I was a die-hard Altavista fan, and actually remember being excited when it was launched. Now I hardly use it at all. Its only advantage over Google is the advanced search features that help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

    On the other hand, Google finds what I want quickly. Today I taught someone how to "Search the Web" and showed them Google first. Next up was a trip through Yahoo and a passing mention of AltaVista. Two years ago I had to explain AltaVistas search syntax and do some handholding. Now all that I have to do is point them to Google, bookmark it, and say that it works pretty much like you would think it would. KISS HTH HAND

  • Actually... [] already does this. You can make bids for a higher placement. It works quite well actually, and their site recieves quite a lot of traffic.
  • I can think of many better things to search for than "turned her to stone" (pr0n, sex, get the idea... ;).

    Anyway, I find that I never find what I'm looking for with AltaVista. For all the hits that turn up, greater than 90% of the hits are totally worthless (although I haven't used it recently, because of this experience).

    Google usually turns up with what I am looking for with the first hit. *shrugs*

    Then again my absolute favorite search engine is :)


  • Not that anyone will read down this far, but just FYI: Yahoo! and brethen are listed in their directory under "Computers > Internet > WWW > Web Portals."


    P.S. Last post? ;)

    Why, why are you breaking my heart? If you could spend just a couple pennies a day you could own that album from our Lycos-cdnow store in no time. Its worth it, really. Its just a little money. Please be nice to me. I love you.

    If you really want to get that mp3 just click here.

    Reminds of me the 'Mom' corporation in last week's Futurama.

    Does anyone really expect corporate self-interest to ever be nothing but the epitome of profiteering?

  • Two points:

    1st - hash tables. It doesn't take them any longer to look for a hundred words than it would to look for just one.

    2nd - advertising. They have to check what you're searching for anyway, so they can put up an appropriate banner ad.

    Therefore - they aren't really wasting any time with their little joke, because they had to do the work anyway.

  • More likely to be just a database error. The message above does sonnd very database like.

    Perhaps you should email them reporting the problem instead of blindly attacking them.

    I seriously doubt lycros could convice enough people to give them money to be on the search engine. They would have about 100 sites on the entire database if this was the case.

    What they are doing is probably a bad idea all the same (see content neutrality a few comments back)

    My 5cents (since they got rid of 2c pieces)
  • I just tried searching for Lycos on both Infoseek and Yahoo and guess what I got? I got a page of results with the first link being

    Message to Infoseek and Yahoo responsibles: Please fix that. I do not want to go to Lycos so put a page there whining about why you're the best and try to convince me to stay!

    Just my 2.- LUF ;)
  • I had a really scary experience the other day: I was helping one of marketing guys set up Windows (yep, everyone else but them uses Linux ;) ), and I went to download Netscape so he could use it for mail. Internet Explorer wouldn't let me do it! Even though I could see the rest of the 'Net, I couldn't get through to, or even go to the browser-version form with the Download button on Netscape's main page. I had to get the Windows version myself, move it to a Samba-re- exported NFS share, and grab it from there! Can anyone else confirm this? It sure gave me the willies.

    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Technocrat seems to me like a bad site for
    an intelligent discussion, since the
    maintainer has the right to censor or edit
    your postings. Their copyright policy is also
    highly questionable. is stuff that matters to
    FS/OSS nerds. It has little news in it.
  • Any other suggestions for a good Usenet search engine?

    My current choice is Deja, though I hate what's happened to the site as it's been portalized. I use an alternate [] page. Actually, I've created my own simplified, localhost search pages for the major search engines I frequent -- I don't actually hit the sites until I get results.

    There are also tools like dejasearch [] which provide a command-line interface to search engines, and compile results to a single, local, file for later browsing.

    That said, what alternative Usenet archives are there? I've used Remarq [] on the odd occasion, though it strikes me as too busy and unfriendly as well. Pity.

  • It seems Lycos is filtering stuff out... for example, if you look at Lycos Home > Reference > Education > Directories-n-Resources > Search Engines [] Altavista, Deja, Excite, Yahoo! are not there... ok, maybe the "education" thigie has something to do with it... but Compu ters > Internet > WWW > Searching the Web > Search Engines [] doesn't list them either... they are stuffed in Lycos Home > Computers > Internet > WWW > Searching the Web > Search Engines > General [].

    This is sad, as I remember the first lycos versions, for which source code was available...

  • Are you sure that, for instance, the server (on the Netscape side) wasn't down? I just tried it using IE5 and had no problems what so ever.
    Be carefull no to get paranoid. Although I would expected this kind of behaviour in an Easter egg I don't think anyone would release this commercially.

    #include "whatever.h"
    /* This code does everyting */
  • Brings me such delightful links as "START HERE: Barely Legal Teens".

    After reloading several times my favourite was: "START HERE: for the best free ass pics".

    I hope there aren't any kiddies with fragile little minds using Lycos to find pictures of our four legged friends!

    Searching for "pussy cat" [] brings me a picture of "Spice Girls Kneeling in front of Planet Hollywood" (ahem). I'm not entirely sure the people at Lycos are entirely qualified to be performing word association for the world at large.
    It is good for a laugh though!

  • Use "Deja Classic" format for search. No banners except one for Deja itself.

    There are numerous Deja front ends on the Web. They try to filter out all the crap.

    If you use "My Deja" for reading/posting, use this instead: []

  • This does sound more like an error if anything else, but I don't like using lycos for almost the same reason. It always feels like a scam. The sites I get returned first seem suspiciously like they have some priority other than search criteria. Either lycos has some really screwed up code or maybe they are taking the occasional bribe or, this being the USA and all, might be indexing 'family friendly' first. Just a couple years ago it was one of my search engines of choice, oh well.

    We're all paranoid in our own way.

  • This is not the only exasperating thing with Lycos. Another one is that if you try to access from a computer with domain name ending in .fr they redirect you to (which means you get a page in French; it also means all the links on this /. discussion are broken for me). This is irritating at best. If I wanted a page in French I would put ``fr'' before ``en'' in my Accept-Language header, damn it! At least, Accept-Language is something I can change; not so with my domain name.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @11:26PM (#1585002)
    If he's fucking you in the ass, then technically, he's still filling your cavity.
  • What a disappointment Lycos has become. I remember when it was a project of the CS department at Carnegie-Mellon, when it was without competition as the best place to find information on the Internet. Since they went commercial, they've gone down the tubes. (I don't believe that has to happen when you've gone commercial, but it sure did happen to Lycos.)

    Those of you who are saying that you understand what Lycos is doing don't convince me. Lycos asserts on its "don't go to Infoseek" page that it's the best search engine around. Why don't they just cut the crap and prove it with quality? To me, that means giving the user what he or she asked for.
  • ...that lists geocities sites before others. Because they have more merit? Not exactly... Because they have some affiliation? Mmnhmn.

  • by kuro5hin ( 8501 ) on Wednesday October 27, 1999 @03:15AM (#1585035) Homepage
    Google doesn't seed their results. This has been explained here many many times before. They are not doing the same thing. It's simply a weird emergent behaviour of their search algorithms.

    Morning gray ignites a twisted mass of colors shapes and sounds
  • Google is good for most things. But it isn`t that great if the thing you`re looking for is quite obscure, because it goes by the number of pages linked to it. If it`s obscure, there won`t be that many links, and so it`ll get a lower rating.
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Wednesday October 27, 1999 @03:23AM (#1585037) Homepage
    Someone might also want to inform our good
    friends over at Google about this.

    It is hard to justify "worst operating system"
    coming up with Especially
    when I think only the word operating is on the

    The same is also with "best operating system"
    coming up with

    Also "more evil than satan" also takes you through

    Sure this is funny and all but why is this any
    different to the Lycos case.

    Your post is more unintentionally relevant than you might think.

    According to Google's scans, Microsoft is more closely associated with people writing on their web pages "worst operating system" than anyone else. Similarly, Linux gets the best operating system treatment.

    Google is not a dumb engine--instead of merely rating by what's on the page, it rates by how people refer to the contents *of* the page. This is an incredibly cheap way to "borrow" intelligence from systems that can process complex information neurologically(human brains) and insert it into systems that can only marginally approximate that kind of intelligence.

    Google executes its intelligence gathering in a Content Neutral manner, thus insulating it from any libel/slander that might result from returning certain values. Because Google didn't rig the system to have it return Microsoft as More Evil Than Satan, it's not their fault that that was the top hit.

    If, however, Google removed that response, they'd be responsible for removing every response that could possibly be interpreted as slanderous. Note, this isn't the same as changing the algorithm to be more accurate--this is programming a specific "don't return this".

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • But the point is say I wanted to search for the word yahoo on lycos. I couldn't. Accually you can type 'yahoo' and it will search its database for 'yahoo', note "yahoo" will still return the annoying page.
    So what I think is that the broken link was supposed to send you on to accually search for the word yahoo. But it just returns the same thing.

  • When you ask Google "What the best search engine in the world?", it replies:
    1. Yahoo! []
    2. [] (huh? what's with the old addy?)
    3. []

    Hmmm.. I'll bet that after the next scan, Google comes up first on that list. I'll just say that I've seen a lot of links that look like:

    Google! [] - The best search engine in the world!

  • By preventing searches for site competitors from bringing up standard spider results, Lycos is accepting the role of gatekeeper, verifying that users aren't going to be led anywhere they shouldn't be led.

    That's not what Lycos is doing at all. They are doing the same thing they do with any query, using the information at their disposal to come up with what they think the best solution to the user's query will be.

    In the specified case, Lycos has more context than it normally does, and so it knows that the query specifies a search engine, thus it can provide what it believes to be reasonable answers to the query.

    Lycos is not deciding that given target X, the user should NOT go there. It is deciding that given target X, the best place to go would be lycos (but it doesn't keep you from going to infoseek yourself, and even provides a link).

    To take a quote from your post, they merely work with whatever the customer provides. Lycos takes the query (provided by the customer) and matches it to webpages based on the content of those webpages. I admit that the matching in this case is inconsistent, because it bases its decision on "known content" instead of "content from the webpage context", but it still starts from the user's request for said content.

    Using your definition, there is no way for any search engine to be content neutral, because every result they provide is based on the examined content of the page.

  • If IE ever reaches "critical mass", you'll see Microsoft removing the "use current page as start page".

    Then will be integrated with the OS. They're inseperable. ;)

    It gets worse. Wait till the URL input disappears. You'll only be able to go to URL's using some sort of integrated "meta-URL" junk through a web form.

    And to be fair, I worry about Netscape doing the same thing.

    I'm SO glad Netscape released the Mozilla source when they did. I seriously doubt an inhuman corporation like AOL would ever have done that...

  • Then, what exactly is this link [] for?

    Lycos seems to say, "We know about everything, we just won't tell you!"


  • You have drawn analogies between Lycos and phone companies that are quite inappropriate.

    Lycos will tell you up front that they are NOT simply a conduit of information. They are a content provider. They deliberate and often shape what you see when you are at their site. When you go to Lycos to search for something, they deliberately steer you on the basis of what you are looking for. The ads you see are different, the services they offer change, all because of what you are looking for.

    They have a search engine that runs largely without human intervention, but that is only part of what they do. They absolutely provide content. It definitely is not neutral.

    Lycos is not in the business of coughing up a few links that you might or not click on. They want you to stay, to browse, to buy. That is a far cry from providing copper, fiber, and power.
  • If Lycos filters possible customers from its searches, they run the risk of accepting responsiblity to filter customers from finding contraband results.

    In other words, if they refuse to be "just a conduit to other sites", then they're responsible for where they send people.

    Lycos doesn't need that exposure, considering

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

  • but the fact that it hasn't affected ANY OF YOU in the past year means that it is effectively targeted to newbies.
    Whew. You're right. It only targets NEWBIES. Its not like they're people, after all. I feel much better.

    Now that we've set that precident... I need to get out there and brush up all the old cons and scams.

    "Yes, your Honor, I would like to point out to the court that the scam I was using was obvious and only GULLIBLE people fall for it."
    Judge glares at the DA Attorney. "Yes, yes... you're quite right, young man. I have NO idea why this case was even brought to me. Case dismissed!"

  • Would it have been better if they had impartially listed every known Yahoo page, and relied on the user navigating to Yahoo home from there?
    I've seen this kind of question pop up several times now. The crux of it is "How would YOU have Lycos handle this"?

    Well. I'm not a search engine expert. So I went to some experts to find out. In the interest of brevity, I kept it to two of the affected Lycos competitors: Yahoo [] and Infoseek []. Hit the links and see how THEY handle Lycos.

    Amazing. Its what I would expect of a search engine/ web listing/ portal: easy to follow listings pertaining to the site I was interested in. No sales pitches. No confusing links. Just the info I need.

    How refreshing.

  • Get a clue. Newbies who use the search box to surf the Web need to be educated, and the Lycos interstital page is as good a way as any. If someone is using a search engine to find another search engine, there is something wrong -- especially when they already know the Web address.
    Newbies need a dose of education, agreed. Some need a double-dose. However, at the same time, newbies do wierd things. Otherwise intelligent, logical people will do some amazingly illogical things when put in front of a computer. Using a search engine to find another search engine who's URL is mostly made up of its own name could be one of them. This doesn't automatically provide a moral license to take advantage of that inexperience.

    This is not a SCAM. Nothing is being sold or misrepresented. This is advertising. The Web is a business. Get over yourself.
    OK. Wait. "This is advertising. The Web is a business" and at the same time "Nothing is being sold..." Lycos is indeed a business. Their adverisements claim that they will help you find what you're looking for. "Lycos... go get it!" That is, of course, assuming you're not looking for a competitor. Then their easy-to-use service becomes a muddle of advertising, plea for your patrionage, and a confusing choice of links. One could argue its simply bad design. Considering nothing else they do seems to have this problem - the better argument is that its an intentional ploy to capture the inexperienced newbie.

    But why pick on Lycos? Surely "this is business". Others must be trying to fend of their competitors too, right?

    Go to some of their competitors. Search for Lycos. Both Yahoo and Infoseek gladly give you a link to Lycos' front page... as well as breaking down to specific services Lycos offers. No pleas. No advertisements. No bait-and-switch confusion.

    Lycos is a business - they claim to be an internet guide. Lycos is advertising something - themselves. And Lycos is misrepresenting their product - instead of providing links for the requested site, as their competitors do, they attempt to confuse and re-direct the user back to their own service.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.