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Looksmart Says Losing Microsoft Msn Deal
Posted 07 October 2003 - 09:02 AM
MSN UK will be removing the Web Directory Sites layer from their search results later this week (October 9 is the slated date). The LS directory results will only show if you specifically select MSN Directory.
Index listings (Trusted Feed) will still get included within the Inktomi results.
This means despite the relationship officially ending in January for practical purposes it is going to lead to a big drop in performance within days rather than months.
Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:05 PM
Are we allowed to kick a dog when it's down? LookSmart
Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:11 PM
Settlement forms? What settlement forms? You mean we can get $50 back from Looksmart? That's a couple dinners at Pei Wei!
...a few weeks ago I filled out my settlement forms (I take it you did too?) at $50 a piece...and I wonder if we'll ever see that $ now.
Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:18 PM
Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:29 PM
Had you cancelled your accounts, webuildpages? Only those who previously cancelled their accounts are due the $50. I never cancelled mine, just didn't do anything with them. So I'm not eligible for any refund. I suspect most people aren't.
Ah Jill - I knew you'd be dancing with this one too! So a few weeks ago I filled out my settlement forms (I take it you did too?) at $50 a piece...and I wonder if we'll ever see that $ now.
Are we allowed to kick a dog when it's down? LookSmart
Oh, and welcome!
Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:48 PM
and here's the most important thing in here...
"Deadline for mailing request for exclusion: October 10, 2003"
that THIS Friday.
The direct link for the form is here - LookSmart Judgement - LookSmart Lawsuit Judgement award claim.[/URL].
But I'd recommend reading everything below first.
On the site it says Nov 14 ..dunno..but I filled mine out about a month ago.
Here it is:
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
Case No. 02-407778
IN RE LOOKSMART LITIGATION
Honorable Ronald Evans Quidachay
NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
AND SETTLEMENT HEARING NOTICE AND CLAIM FORM
TO: ALL CUSTOMERS OF LOOKSMART, LTD. WHO INITIATED A LISTING
BETWEEN MAY 13, 1998 AND APRIL 9, 2002:
THIS NOTICE MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY!
1. WHY SHOULD I READ THIS NOTICE?
This Notice has been e-mailed to you because the records of Defendant LookSmart show
that you are either a current or former customer of LookSmart, Ltd. LookSmart, who initiated
a listing with LookSmart in the period May 1998 to April 2002. You may be eligible to receive
consideration from a proposed Settlement of a class action filed against LookSmart.
2. WHAT ARE THESE LAWSUITS ABOUT?
LookSmart is in the business of providing online marketing services for persons and
businesses who desire Internet users to visit their web sites. LookSmart offers online businesses
the ability to list descriptions of their products and services in LookSmart's searchable directory.
It also distributes its directory database to leading Internet portals and search engines, such as
MSN. Internet users utilizing LookSmart or other portals incorporating its directory database are
able to find the web sites of LookSmart customers by using targeted keyword searches. They
then typically "click" on the link provided by the search engine to visit the proffered web site.
This litigation comprises the cases of Legal Staffing Partners, Inc. v. LookSmart, Ltd.,
San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 02-407778, filed May 9, 2002, and Kramer v.
LookSmart, Ltd., et al., San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. 02-410034, filed July 9, 2002,
and consolidated by Pretrial Order No. 1. The operative complaint in this consolidated action is
the Consolidated Amended Complaint Complaint, filed on October 23, 2002.
The Complaint was filed by Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all persons and entities
who Plaintiffs allege made a "one-time payment" to LookSmart for listing services between May
13, 1998 to April 9, 2002 the Class Period, and whose account was unilaterally changed by
LookSmart to another type of service that requires additional payments.
Plaintiffs allege that during the Class Period, LookSmart represented that for a "one-time
payment" it would list customers' web sites in the database indefinitely, and that LookSmart
breached the agreement when, in April 2002, it required customers to begin to "pay-per-click"
pursuant to a new program. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs assert claims for breach of contract,
breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the Business &
Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq., and 17500, et seq.
Beginning in July 2002, LookSmart began extending to Class Members 100 free clicks
per month, and committed to providing the 100 free clicks per month through December 11,
2003. LookSmart acknowledges that this litigation served as a catalyst in its decision to provide
the free clicks to Class Members, and, in addition to the consideration described below and as
part of the consideration for the Settlement Class, LookSmart already is providing 100 free clicks
per month to current customers through December 11, 2003.
3. WHO IS IN THE CLASS AND COVERED BY THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT?
You are a member of the Settlement Class, and therefore are covered by the Settlement,
if, between May 13, 1998 and April 9, 2002, you paid LookSmart a fee for review by LookSmart
of your listing for potential inclusion in the LookSmart directory database, your listing was
subsequently included in LookSmart's directory database and was listed in the database as of
April 9, 2002. Excluded from the Class are any customers who were terminated by LookSmart
from the directory under LookSmart's editorial discretion during the Class Period.
4. WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT?
A. All Class Members whose listings were added to the LookSmart directory
database between May 13, 1998 and April 9, 2002, and whose listing continued to
be included in the database as of September 5, 2003, are considered "Eligible
Current Customers." All Eligible Current Customers will continue to
automatically receive 100 free "clicks" per month through December 11, 2003,
or whenever their listings terminate, whichever is earlier. There is no need to
submit a claim to receive these free clicks.
B. All Eligible Current Customers whose listings were added to the LookSmart
directory database between October 9, 2001 and April 9, 2002 Period One
shall automatically receive 75 free "clicks" per listing per month beginning
December 12, 2003 and ending June 12, 2004, unless their listing is terminated
prior to June 12, 2004. The 75 free clicks are exclusive of the 100 free clicks
described in section 4.A. and there is no need to submit a claim to receive these
C. All Eligible Current Customers whose listings were added to the LookSmart
directory database between April 9, 2001 and October 8, 2001 Period Two
shall automatically receive 50 free "clicks" per listing per month beginning
December 12, 2003 and ending June 12, 2004, unless their listing is terminated
prior to June 12, 2004. The 50 free clicks are exclusive of the 100 free clicks
described in section 4.A. and there is no need to submit a claim to receive these
D. All Eligible Current Customers whose listings were added to the LookSmart
directory database between May 13, 1998 and April 8, 2001 Period Three will
receive only the free clicks set forth in Section 4.A.
E. None of the free clicks outlined above are transferable. Unused free clicks will
not carry over from month to month. If an Eligible Current Customer has
terminated a listing prior to the Effective Date of the Settlement, or terminates a
listing prior to June 12, 2004, LookSmart assumes no obligation to pay such
customer the value of unused free clicks, if any, as of the date the listing is
terminated. None of the free clicks offered in Sections 2.1 through 2.3 constitute a
guarantee by LookSmart of traffic generation for eligible customer listings
sufficient to utilize the free clicks, and LookSmart assumes no obligation to
generate such traffic.
F. Eligible Former Customers (as defined below) who submit a timely
Claim Form http://aboutus.looks...&page=claimform ,
(click on the Claim Form hyperlink to access the Claim Form) will receive an
individual cash payment of up to $50.00. The maximum amount available in the
aggregate to Eligible Former Customers who submit a timely claim form is
$250,000. If the total amount of claims by Eligible Former Customers exceed
$250,000, each individual Former Customer's recovery amount will be reduced
An "Eligible Former Customer" is defined as a Class Member: (1) whose listings
were added to the LookSmart directory database between May 13, 1998 and
April 9, 2002, (2) whose listing was included in LookSmart's directory database
on April 9, 2002, and whose listings were, after April 9, 2002 but before
September 5, 2003, cancelled by specific choice of the Class Member by use of
the cancel listing feature of the Advertiser Center or through contact with
LookSmart's customer service; (3) whose listings were not cancelled because of a
violation of LookSmart's policies, editorial guidelines, or due to any violation of
LookSmart's terms and conditions (except as disputed in this litigation); (4) who,
as of the Effective Date of the Settlement, is the rightful owner of the URL
associated with the listing; and (5) whose listing, as of the date the Court approves
the settlement, is not part of the LookSmart directory.
5. HOW WILL THE SETTLEMENT FUND BE DISTRIBUTED?
LookSmart shall, at its expense, administer the claims of Class Members, provide the free
clicks described herein, and pay cash refunds to claimants as set forth herein. Class Counsel will
regularly audit the claims administration process.
6. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT?
Eligible Current Customers: If you are a Class Member who is an
Eligible Current Customer as defined in Section 4(A) above, you
need do nothing in order to participate in the Settlement. If you do
not timely exclude yourself from the Settlement pursuant to
Section 13 below, you will be bound by the Settlement and you
will be deemed to have released LookSmart and each of the
"Released Persons" (as defined in the Stipulation of
Settlement) from all of the Released Claims (as defined in the
Eligible Former Customers: If you are a Class Member who is an
Eligible Former Customer as defined in Section 4(F) above, you
will receive a cash refund of up to $50.00 only if you complete and
submit a Claim Form http://aboutus.looks...&page=claimform
(click on Claim Form hyperlink to access the
Claim Form) no later than November 14, 2003. Also, if you do not
timely exclude yourself from the Settlement pursuant to Section 13
below, you will be bound by the Settlement and you will be
deemed to have released LookSmart and each of the "Released
Persons" (as defined in the Stipulation of Settlement) from all
of the Released Claims (as defined in the Stipulation).
7. WHO REPRESENTS THE CLASS?
To act on behalf of the Class for purposes of the proposed settlement, the Court has
appointed Legal Staffing Partners and Curt Kramer as Class Representatives and the following
attorneys and law firms as Class Counsel: Andrew N. Friedman of the Washington, DC law firm
of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., and Eric H. Gibbs of the San Francisco law firm
of Girard, Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP.
8. WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THE SETTLEMENT?
The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe that the claims asserted in the
litigation have merit. However, Class Counsel recognize and acknowledge the expense and
length of continued proceedings necessary to prosecute the litigation against the Defendant
through trial and through appeals. Class Counsel have taken into account the uncertain outcome
and the risk of any litigation, especially in complex actions such as this litigation, as well as the
difficulties and delays inherent in such litigation. Class Counsel are mindful of the inherent
problems of proof under and possible defenses to the violations of law asserted in the litigation,
and have also taken into account the difficulties inherent in certifying the putative Class. Class
Counsel are also aware of the difficulties they will likely face in recovering any monetary relief
for the Class even if they prevail on their claims. After considering these and other factors, Class
Counsel have concluded that the proposed Settlement is fair and equitable to all Settlement Class
members, and will confer substantial benefits upon the Settlement Class. Based on their
evaluation, Class Counsel have determined that the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.
9. HOW WILL CLASS COUNSELS' FEES AND EXPENSES BE PAID?
The parties agree that LookSmart shall pay Class Counsel the sum of $600,000 in
attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, for legal work and costs and expenses related to the
litigation. The parties agree that these amounts are reasonable, based on the work performed and
costs incurred, and should be approved by the Court.
10. ARE ANY LOOKSMART CUSTOMERS RECEIVING ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION?
No. The Class Representatives are not being paid separately for their efforts in filing and
prosecuting this matter.
11. WHAT CLAIMS WILL BE RELEASED IF THE SETTLEMENT IS APPROVED BY
If approved by the Court, the proposed Settlement will be legally binding upon all Class
Members. The proposed Settlement will release and discharge LookSmart from all known and
unknown claims for damages and other relief in connection with claims made in this litigation.
12. WHAT IF THE SETTLEMENT IS NOT APPROVED BY THE COURT?
If the proposed Settlement is not approved by the Court as being fair, reasonable, and
adequate, the Settlement Agreement will be null and void and Plaintiffs will proceed with their
lawsuits. The Plaintiffs and Defendant could also attempt to enter into another settlement
13. CAN I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
Yes. If you exclude yourself you will not receive any benefits of the Settlement and you
will not be bound by the Final Order and Judgment which may be entered dismissing these
lawsuits against the Defendant. You will be free to pursue whatever legal rights you may have
by pursuing your own lawsuit against the Defendant at your own risk and expense.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must send a Request for Exclusion by
first-class mail, postage prepaid, to Eric H. Gibbs, GIRARD GIBBS & DE BARTOLOMEO LLP, 601
California Street, Suite 1400, San Francisco, CA 94108; Andrew N. Friedman, COHEN,
MILSTEIN, HAUSFELD & TOLL, P.L.L.C., 1100 New York Ave. NW., West Tower, Suite 500,
Washington, DC 20005; and Jonathan C. Dickey, GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER, LLP, 1530 Page
Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Your Request for Exclusion must be in writing and
postmarked by October 10, 2003.
To be effective, a Request for Exclusion must include: (a) the name of this litigation as it
appears on the caption of this Notice; and ( your name, address, email address, and telephone
If the Request for Exclusion is not timely submitted, you will be included automatically
in the Class and you may be eligible to receive benefits from the proposed Settlement. You also
will be legally bound by the proposed Settlement, including provisions releasing the Defendant,
as more fully described in the Settlement Agreement.
14. WHY, WHEN, AND WHERE WILL A HEARING BE HELD?
A hearing will be held before the Honorable Ronald Evans Quidachay of the San
Francisco County Superior Court, Department 603, 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco,
California, on October 31, 2003, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. the Fairness Hearing. There is no need
for you to attend the Fairness Hearing if you simply wish to participate in the proposed
Settlement. The purpose of the Fairness Hearing shall be to determine, among other things: (a)
whether the terms and conditions of the proposed settlement are fair, reasonable and adequate,
( whether Class Counsel's application for an award of attorneys' fees and expenses should be
approved, and © whether the Final Order and Judgment should be entered dismissing the Case
with prejudice and on the merits against the Plaintiffs and all Class Members (except for those
persons who timely and properly request to be excluded from the settlement).
The Court has the power to adjourn or reschedule the Fairness Hearing from time to time
without further notice of any kind.
Any Class Member who has not filed a timely written request for exclusion and who
wishes to object to the proposed Settlement must file a statement of his/her objection, as well as
a specific statement in support of each objection with the Court no later than October 10, 2003,
and serve same on Class Counsel (See below) and Defendant's Counsel (See below) postmarked
no later than October 10, 2003.
Any Class Member or his/her attorney intending to make an appearance at the Fairness
Hearing must (i) file a notice of appearance with the Clerk of Court no later than October 10,
2003, and (ii) serve same on Class Counsel and Defendant's Counsel postmarked no later than
October 10, 2003.
All such objections, papers and briefs shall expressly refer to the name of this litigation as
it appears on the caption of this Notice, as well as the judge and case number. All written
objections must clearly identify the name, address, email address, and telephone number of the
Class Member making the objection and shall provide documentation demonstrating that the
person making the objection is in fact a Class Member. All written objections also must clearly
identify any and all witnesses, documents and other evidence of any kind that are to be presented
at the Fairness Hearing in connection with such objections and shall further set forth the
substance of any testimony to be given by such witnesses, if any. The pertinent addresses are as
(i) Class Counsel:
Andrew N. Friedman
COHEN, MILSTEIN, HAUSFELD
& TOLL, P.L.L.C.
1100 New York Ave. NW.
West Tower, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Eric H. Gibbs
GIRARD GIBBS & DE BARTOLOMEO LLP
601 California Street, Suite 1400
San Francisco, CA 94108
(ii) Defendant's Counsel:
Jonathan C. Dickey
GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER, LLP
1530 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Any Class Member who does not comply with these requirements shall be deemed to
have waived such objection and shall be forever foreclosed from making any objection to the
15. WHERE DO I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT?
This Notice is only a summary of the proposed Settlement and does not describe all of the
details of the Settlement Agreement and other papers filed in these lawsuits. Accordingly, Class
Members may review the Stipulation of Settlement and the other documents filed with the Court
in this action, all of which are available for inspection at the office of the Clerk of the San
Francisco County Superior Court, 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California, 94102, or
may contact Class Counsel at the addresses listed above, or by sending an email to the following
web site: LookSmartSettlement@girardgibbs.com.
16. WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT DATES?
If you simply wish to participate in the proposed Settlement, you do not need to do
anything now. If you wish to request exclusion from the Class or appear at the Fairness Hearing,
these are the relevant dates:
* Deadline for mailing request for exclusion: October 10, 2003
* Deadline for filing Notice of Appearance or Objection: October 10, 2003
* Deadline for Former Customers to submit Claim Form: November 14, 2003
* Date of Fairness Hearing: October 31, 2003 at 9:30 a.m.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK'S OFFICE OR
DEFENDANT FOR INFORMATION
The Notice provides only a summary of matters about these lawsuits. You may seek the
advice and guidance of your own private attorney, at your own expense, if you wish. You may
also contact Class Counsel at the address listed in Section 14, above.
BY ORDER OF THE COURT
The Honorable Ronald Evans Quidachay
Judge of the San Francisco County Superior Court
State of California
Dated: September 5, 2003
This administrative email was sent to this address based on the information in your LookSmart account. If you would like to review the email address to which administrative communications are sent, log in to your LookSmart account and update your personal information.
Copyright 2003 LookSmart, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Posted 07 October 2003 - 07:16 PM
Posted 07 October 2003 - 11:53 PM
Too late for the $50 bonus now!
Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:00 AM
LookSmart DOES NOT POWER MSN Search. They NEVER HAVE. All they do is provide the database of directory listings that MSN Search actually searches through.
It's very disappointing that, more than four years later, Danny Sullivan and other well-known SEOs haven't gotten that through their heads. I just don't think it's that difficult a concept.
Anyway. MSN Search, including MSN UK, is powered by MSN's *own* search engine, and has been for years. So, as much fun as it is to dis LookSmart, it is not LookSmart's fault that MSN UK's relevancy is bad.
That fault lies solely and only with Microsoft.
Microsoft's search engine is a revolutionary piece of technology, and has features that even Google still does not offer (such as the recognition of synonyms--"car" is the same thing as "auto"). It's best feature is that the editors actually control the order of results (which, again, even Yahoo editors couldn't do when Yahoo was self-powered).
There are numerous reasons why this degree of editorial contral can be a huge benefit to relevancy, and I could go on and on. But the problem is, the engine design requires that it be regularly worked on by editors. And guess what?
MSN Search has gotten rid of nearly all of its editors.
MSN Search (U.S.) went from a high of about 40 editors four years ago, to two editors.
That's right, TWO editors to handle the *entire Internet.*
Now, MSN UK never had that many editors to begin with (they relied a lot on leveraging the MSN US directory), so I have to wonder how good their relevancy was all along. But considering that MSN U.S. only has two editors, I bet the UK currently has zero editors.
So anyway, please feel free to continue to dis LookSmart for their business model. But remember, the reason why MSN Search is dropping them is that MSN Search is abandoning the concept of a web directory, not that LookSmart has failed them for relevancy. LookSmart was never responsible for MSN's relevancy.
Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:28 AM
We know that Looksmart doesn't power MSN; we simply feel that MSN will be better off not using Looksmart directory results (okay, "I" feel).
Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:51 AM
Thanks for your clarification of the MSN/LOOK relationship. This is an often misunderstood or overlooked technicality. That relevancy issues on MSN clearly lay in the hands of MSN, not LOOK. However, since LOOK was providing the content to MSN, they come across as the fall guy.
As I see it, MSN missed the boat a couple years ago when they didn't wake up to the fact that searching a directory cannot possibly provide the same level of relevancy as searching the content of entire web pages. Unfortunately for LookSmart, they haven't managed to create a better solution for MSN than the somewhat obsolete directory feed.
I was expecting MSN to resign with LOOK, but downgrade the use of the directory results to only drill down directory or directory search status (similar to how Google uses DMOZ) but that didn't happen. Do you think MSN will operate without a directory option for their visitors?
Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:53 AM
I know that people are mad at LookSmart, but there isn't anything wrong with the actual listings they give MSN, right? So how does it hurt MSN to use their listings?
I mean, LS was a good revenue stream for them. And a lot of the important websites that people expect to find in a directory were not on the PPC plan, so they don't ever drop out of MSN's search results.
Maybe I'm weird, but I never have trouble finding a good website in MSN Search (i.e. LookSmart's) U.S directory. I think that MSN just never invested enough in the UK to do a good job.
What's your experience? I mean, aside from being angry about their pricing structure, what are your thoughts about LS's actual product?
Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:55 AM
MSN does not have its own crawling search engine ... it is currently developing one but has not released it yet. Instead it combines results from Looksmart's directory listings as well as Inktomi. The Looksmart listings appear in the "Web Directory Sites" section which always shows up first and the Inktomi results appear in the "Web Pages" section. They also feature Overture sponsored results as well.
LookSmart DOES NOT POWER MSN Search. They NEVER HAVE. All they do is provide the database of directory listings that MSN Search actually searches through ...
MSN Search, including MSN UK, is powered by MSN's *own* search engine ...
When MSN drops Looksmart in January, I would assume the first section of results "Web Directroy Sites" will disappear and we will only see the "Web Pages" and Overture results. And when MSN's crawler based search engine is ready, I'm sure we will see the Inktomi results disappear.
Therefore depending on how many Looksmart directory listings there are for a particular search, they may not "power" MSN but they do indeed provide many of MSN's results.
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