New search engine listens to what people want

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January 25, 2005 A significant new player in the Australian search engine market is zooming up the charts using popularity as the key factor in its algorithm to calculate search result rankings. The remarkable success of Ansearch in a very short time on the market indicates that users are finding the sites they want using the popularity-based rankings. According to Hitwise, the world's leading online competitive intelligence service, Ansearch is showing strong market share stability after increasing by approximately 2000% in the Australian search engine space over the last two months.

The latest addition to the highly-competitive Australian search industry, Ansearch launched its beta site under the name MySearch at the end of November, 2004 to trial and refine its algorithms.

Though development of the algorithms is ongoing, the Ansearch site has zoomed up the Hitwise rankings and is now closing on established homegrown Australian sites such as Telstra's Sensis, Web Wombat and Anzwers, the latter two having been established since the internet market was in its infancy.

Ansearch's interface is similarly frugal to that of Google, the search engine that has grown to gargantuan levels over the last five years, and incorporates only a small footprint of data so that its search results are more accurate.

The key factor in Google's algorithm is based on the number of sites linking to a site - a significant difference to Ansearch's methodology which continues to gather data and evolve in real-time based on clickthroughs to sites in its search results. "It's the first search engine that actually listens to what the customers want and responds in real time," Ansearch Marketing Manager Louisa Williams told Gizmag.

Hitwise data shows that Ansearch has gained a solid following since launching last year, and if it continues increasing its market share, it is sure to be the search engine to watch in 2005. Ansearch will launch commercially in March, and has plans for international expansion of its services once it has proven its technologies within Australia.

Looking at Hitwise data for the Computers and Internet - Search Engines and Directories category, Ansearch debuted as the 120th most popular Australian Search Engine and Directory in November, and then climbed to wiyhin the top 40 search sites used on the latest Hitwise rankings - from a total of nearly 1200 search engine and directory sites.

Recent weekly data shows Ansearch as the 27th most popular Australian site in its category, a commendable effort considering there are over 100 established Australian Search Engines and Directories competing for a spot in the top ten.

Ansearch features two unique and compelling services not found on other search engines - the top 100 most popular websites (based on clickthroughs from searches from the Ansearch site) and the top 100 most popular keywords. Both services offer an interesting perspective on the most topical subjects for Australian internet users.

The site has also recorded an impressive Bookmark percentage, with the latest weekly data showing 18.18% of visitors to have bookmarked the site, demonstrating their intentions to return and use the search engine again.

Recent Hitwise statistics show that over 60% of Australian Internet users visit local search engines to surf online. The average session duration for the Computers and Internet - Search Engines and Directories category during the week ending 22/01/05 was 8 minutes. This is a decrease of 31 seconds since the same time last year possibly demonstrating that Australian Internet users are increasingly becoming better at searching online - or perhaps search engines are returning better results then one year ago.

Hitwise is the world's leading online competitive intelligence service. Each day, Hitwise monitors how more than 25 million Internet users interact with over 500,000 websites across 160 industry categories.

By monitoring more people, more websites, more often, Hitwise provides marketers with timely and actionable marketing insights on how their online presence compares to competitive websites. Companies use this information to maximize the return on their online investment, in efforts such as search marketing, affiliate programs, online advertising, visitor segmentation, content development and lead generation.

Hitwise collects Internet usage information via a combination of ISP data partnerships and opt-in mega panels, and complies with local and international privacy legislation as audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Founded in 1997, Hitwise is a privately held company, headquartered in New York City and operates in the United States, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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