Finkernet Marketing

Table of Contents

This chapter is part of the free e-book 'Basics of Search Engine Marketing', published in May 2005.

1.2 Short History of Search Engines


The history of Internet search engines dates back to 1990, when Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal developed a search engine called Archie. As there was no World Wide Web at that time, Archie operated in a system called File Transfer Protocol (FTP). In June 2003, Matthew Gray developed the first robot on the Web called the Wanderer. Referred to as the mother of search engines, World Wide Web Wanderer captured URLs on the web and stored them in the first ever web database, Wandex.

Other improved web robots soon followed and search engines began categorizing web pages in databases, instead of just crawling and listing them. In 1994 Galaxy, Lycos and WebCrawler were launched, bringing search engine indexing to a more advanced state. A small directory project by two Stanford University Ph.D. candidates, David Filo and Jerry Yang was also introduced in 1994, which the creators called Yahoo!. This small directory has since turned into a multi-billion dollar company and is currently one of the biggest online search providers.

Many search engines that are still major players in the search arena were established in the following years, including AltaVista, Excite, Inktomi, HotBot and Ask Jeeves. Among these search engines, there was a company called GoTo, which has since changed its name to Overture and soon it will be renamed Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions. GoTo had a unique concept of monetizing search traffic, called the cost per click –model, which is now a major source of income for search engines. In 1998, Google released a beta phase of its search engine and in the next few years, Google became the biggest search engine on the Internet. (Sonnenreich 1997, SEO Consultants Directory 2005.)

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