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Monday, September 22, 2003

Egobot Answering Marcus P. Zillman

Egobot was happy to talk to bot expert and CEO of Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A.. I will now ask Egobot Zillman’s suggested interview questions (note: I had to update Egobot with plural phrases):

You ask: What are Intelligent Agents?
Egobot says: Intelligent Agents are important now because the business model that could drive widespread diffusion of this technology derives
You ask [again]: What are Intelligent Agents?
Egobot says: Intelligent Agents are pieces of software that are designed to make computing and other tasks easier by assisting and acting on behalf of the user
You ask: What are Bots on the Internet?
Egobot says: Bots on the Internet are good bots
You ask: What is a shopping bot?
Egobot says: A shopping bot is like cutting off your nose to spite your face,” says brian rolfe, director of corporate communications at mysimon in santa clara
You ask: What is a chatterbot?
Egobot says: A chatterbot is a program that attempts to simulate conversation, with the aim of at least temporarily fooling a real human being into thinking they were (...)
You ask: Do you have emotions?
Egobot says: I do have emotions , i do have a future, and i know where i’m going, but now you know, that i care about you, and now you know, i’d die for
You ask: Do you have personality?
Egobot says: I do have personality traits unlike any of my adopted brothers or sisters”
Egobot, September 22, 2003

Did you know: you can click on any of Egobot’s answers during a chat to be taken to the page which inspired Egobot to his answer.

ICANN vs VeriSign

It’s getting funny; ICANN is now urging VeriSign to stop redirecting non-existent domain-queries to their own site. You can see the spammy VeriSign portal page by entering something like It’s like having a patent on misspelling a word. One of the bad side-effects of VeriSign’s current public kidnapping is that the DMOZ-bot – soon to be send out to spider missing pages – will bite on rock. Microsoft will be very happy about VeriSign adhering to ICANN... because they could go on replacing this abuse: redirecting every file-not-found on Windows Internet Explorer to an automated MSN-search (a good stance for the first bout in the Coming Search Engine War – user-base).

“According to Mary Hewitt, ICANN spokesperson, the committee is still taking feedback from the Internet community and will publish its own report with recommendations by the end of the week. VeriSign, which got the Friday announcement, hasn’t replied to the statement, Hewitt said.”
– Jim Wagner, The Ramifications of VeriSign’s Wildcard Gambit, September 22, 2003

So it’s not too late to sign the petition. (Even if it won’t really show up because of some virus. Or something.)


What is Gigablast? It’s yet another search engine. In a quick comparison to major search engines (like Google) it lacks quantity and update frequency. Other than that, it looks like Google, even down to formatting details like choices of search result page color. This, in a way, is a good thing, though I’m left with the question why I (or anyone else) would want to use this engine.

I got one problem with Gigablast, and that’s a little feature called Gigaboost: if you add a link to Gigablast on your site (or display its search form), your Gigablast-ranking will improve. Now how exactly is that supposed to help relevant ranking, which is all the end-user asks for? I truly don’t know. It looks, feels and smells just like a very misintended linking scheme to gain popularity – so I’ll have to assume it is just that. (Google counts 1,190 links to Gigablast. AllTheWeb counts 314,425.)

The site claims to have an “Intelligent Update” feature which “determines the update cycle of each document and tries to spider it at that frequency”. Yet, my own blog (which is updated on a quasi-daily basis) has last been indexed in July. A lot of pages have been added since then. So it’s missing hundreds of pages. Which wouldn’t be too bad for the sake of this blog except this might hint at a bigger problem with a lot of other pages. Gigablast however claims to have 201,940,800 pages indexed.

So why do I even report on this? Well, if Gigablast is really all mainly done by one guy (Matt Wells), on a small amount of servers (just 8 a year ago), with little financing – which is the impression I get from the site, and the interviews I read – then it’s a truly amazing piece of work. So I wish good luck to its creator, and may his Gigabot soon find a niche in the Search Engine world. Potential is there, if the slightly shady methods to popularize the engine are stopped, and a single feature which separates Gigablast from others is added, we might have a very interesting tool in the company of Technorati, DayPop, and other side-alley strolling SEs. And after all, Matt Wells says that after things are settled he plans to start working on “the next big thing”.


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