The article "Vertical Search Engines Target New Niches " discusses the recent growing appearance of vertically focused search engines – In a nutshell, vertical search engines serve a specific target audience with specific information needs and they focus their crawling, indexing and content delivery efforts around a specific subject. Still, vertical search engines hide unique strategic posture that can prove as a solid competitive edge in their future competition with general purpose search engines.
A part of the article : "The generalized search engines like Yahoo and Google don't index the individual job pages," Paul Forster, chief executive of Indeed.com, said. "If you search for terms like 'finance job' they will bring up job sites but won't bring up the actual jobs themselves that match your criteria. We index our content in a way that enables people to bring up relevant matching job listings." grabbed my attention and cleared to me an underlying difference between vertically focused search engines and general purpose search engines (SE) and that is the usage of deep web crawling.
Deep web crawling is a technology designed to let search engines index and crawl the dynamic part of websites, the dynamic content that is usually generated on the fly from a back-end database based on users' web-queries (For example a search query on Gap's website for a specific shirt would yield local search results generated from the company's catalog database that would not appear on regular search engine results – At least not in the same level of indexing and presentation provided on the company's website).
A general purpose SE that wishes to integrate deep web indexing can encounter two new problems – dynamic content page relevancy and dynamic content link validity: The two problems occur due to the fact that dynamic content can not be "normally" referenced via common web links and it can be linked and accessed only via web queries. The first problem search engines encounter is the page ranking problem – Thoeretically a catalog item can be a very relevant information piece but still it won't have high ranking because there are no other pages on the web that can point to it. The second problem is the different results that will come up every time a dynamic content query is being submitted (Although the dynamic content's search results may seem as static web pages they are fully generated by the company's back-end database and applications), a fact that makes the SE life harder while trying to maintain a relevant index of web pages.
Still, it is tempting for search engines to index this un-touched bulk of information for the simple reason of increasing the SE's advertising inventory. In simple words it is difficult to integrate dynamic content of pages to a regular search engine due to their non static nature.
A vertically focused search engine presents a new type of search engines that use deep web searching technology to index RELEVANT dynamic content. Vertical search engines can do that successfully as opposed to general purpose search engines thanks to two main reasons: The audience of the vertical SE searches with inherently relevant queries and that is sufficient enough for generating relevant results based on the content of the dynamic pages using a regular term matching algorithm. The second reason is the low and controllable number of dynamic content sources per vertical that can be manually integrated and indexed by the SE (A travel site can index all the airlines' dynamic content and the viewers who query the SE with traveling relevant queries will receive effective search results).
From a different angel it is an expansion of the web/public information being indexed and that means a market expansion for search engines while currently only vertical search engines can enjoy it thanks to their focus.
UPDATE: See also "New search engines narrowing their focus Vertical sites cater to specific interests like shopping, job hunting, doing research"
A nice three pages overview on recent moves by Oracle and SAP "Larry's war: Oracle vs. SAP – CNET News.com"
The only thing that is missing for me in the article is the threats Microsoft poses on Oracle with its recent entrance to the business applications segment. Oracle has always competed with SAP on business applications and still something makes them take a new course of strategy with their latest acquisitions. I think that Microsoft's latest entrance to the business applications playground has changed the equilibrium. Microsoft as opposed to SAP has a solid database business and that fact poses a different threat on one of Oracle's core assets – the database business. For Oracle now a lost business applications account can also become a lost infrastructure account and that is a different story.
In an article Microsoft Crowds Business Intelligence Space, Microsoft enhances its BI offering to address better the needs of small to medium size businesses. Regarding the "crowdness" of the space I do think that there is a difference between the large enterprises BI space, which is indeed crowded and the SME BI space, which is still paving its path to customers.
While thinking on my blog infrastructure my "techie" instinct always warns me on what will happen when my feed will not be available for readers (Web service down) or even worse what will happen when a I will want to change my feed properties such as: address, title, description and more.
This problem is emphasized further considering the options of chosing between "in-house" feeds or using feed processing services such as FeedBurner – the "lock-in" is very high.
I know there several low level techniques to handle a feed change of address on the web server level, but still I wanted to find out whether someone knows about a public service that works on the principles of a Domain Name Server but for feeds. I believe a simple directory with XML api that will be integrated into readers would do the job just fine.
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Welcome to Strategic Board's blogsite. My name is Dudu Mimran and I will be the moderate of this blog. Strategic Board is a start-up company developing software solutions to help companies deal better with market challenges, opportunities and threats.
In our blog we will discuss corporate strategies and corporate intelligence in general, and in the hi-tech industry in particular. Our aim is to encourage public discussion of these important subjects that drive and shape the way industries evolve or die.
We believe that blogging is a practical tool for businesses that aim to become more transparent for their markets/customers/partners. Being transparent means expressing one's thoughts, believes and goals. Blogs also serve as a communication medium between employees and other parties in the industry; blogs are a medium that gives businesses a personal touch that has a different value then the conventional interactions businesses have with their audience.
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