Web Search Engines "Made Simple"

Bill Thayer petworth at suba.com
Thu Nov 6 15:10:35 EST 1997

> A search on HotBot using the query
> 	date rape
> produced the same set of 142,000+ hits regardless of whether I told it to
> look for "any of the words," "all the words," or "the exact phrase." When I
> added a third term (drugs) the engine performed as *expected*

This illustrates the basic problem; each engine operates under its own
semi-concealed rules; the rules have to be semi-concealed to prevent
spammers from hijacking the engine.
  I actually *did* get an answer from Hotbot a few months ago, to a very
similar query "Roman sites". The concealed rule is that one of the words is
reserved: in my case "sites", in yours almost certainly "date" (I should

Short of hacking into the concealed criteria and logic, no book on search
engines will be terribly good; and if it is, it will be obsolete very soon!

Bill Thayer


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