Lycos and Infoseek trail in search engine effectiveness study

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A study released April 3 by the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., shows a wide discrepancy in how many Web pages search engines index.

The study took place in December and tested 575 queries. It projected that the Web has a total of 320 million pages.

It found that Wired Digital's HotBot indexed 34% of the total, Digital Equipment Corp.'s AltaVista covered 28%, Northern Light 20%, Excite 14%, Infoseek 10% and Lycos 3%.

Conversely, the study also pointed out that Lycos' search results contained the least amount of dead links. Lycos contends that the study inaccurately assesses the number of sites it searches; the study reports it covers 9 million Web sites, while Lycos said it catalogs 30 million.

Kathy Greenler, marketing director at AltaVista, said she's happy with the study. A lot of people have "the perception that all the indexes are the same," she said. "It's just not true."

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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