Within The Instant Maroon Block
Are Results From An Experiment Conducted 15-Nov-2004

It might be reasonably expected that the more prominent a search engine becomes, the more pressure will be applied to corrupt it, and thus the shorter its interval of remaining usefulness.  The Internet surfer, then, might wish to occasionally compare the results that different search engines give, looking for signs of such corruption, and evaluating whether a previously-efficient search engine needs to be traded in.  With such thoughts in mind, a quick check was conducted on 15-Nov-2004, more with a view to seeing if GOOGLE should continue to be considered the search engine of choice than of discovering which of many alternatives deserved to take its place.

Eight strings were searched for, with each string enclosed in quotation marks as shown: "Canadian Jewish Congress", "Irwin Cotler", "Jerzy Kosinski", "John Demjanjuk", "Leonard Asper", "Leonid Kuchma", "Mary M. Gusella", and "Steven Rambam".  The search strings were chosen on the expectation that UKAR.ORG might be found among or near the top ten hits, though a very high ranking was not expected in those several cases where strings represented topics which UKAR.ORG had covered infrequently or long ago.

The results showed Google giving UKAR.ORG the poorest median ranking among the following eight search engines (shown alphabetized within equal median rankings):

ALTAVISTA 2.5   MSN 2.5   GIGABLAST 3.0   HOTBOT 3.0   LYCOS 3.0   EXCITE 4.5   YAHOO 4.5   GOOGLE 5.5

The fact that a search engine may have given UKAR.ORG more than one place among the top ten was ignored in computing the above medians, although it is a matter of importance.

From the point of view of UKAR.ORG, then, the winners at the moment appear to be:

ALTAVISTA Search Engine           MSN Search Engine

A New Search Engine Worth Trying
GIGABLAST Search Engine

Below Are Results From An Experiment Conducted 27-Jun-2003

ALL THE WEB Search Engine EXCITE Search Engine LYCOS Search Engine METACRAWLER Search Engine MSN Search Engine WEBCRAWLER Search Engine 2

DOGPILE Search Engine HOTBOT Search Engine 3

WISENUT Search Engine YAHOO Search Engine 4

AOL Search Engine GO Search Engine GOOGLE Search Engine NETSCAPE Search Engine 5

ALTAVISTA Search Engine 11

TEOMA Search Engine 17

The bold red numbers on the right above are the 27-Jun-2003 ukar.org rankings in a search for "los angeles superior court" (including quotation marks) using the search engines opposite.

AOL, GO, and NETSCAPE are powered by Google, and tend to produce results similar to Google's.

Excite, MetaCrawler, and WebCrawler often fail to replicate the results of their own searches, as for example WebCrawler producing ukar.org rankings alternating between 2nd and 8th place upon repeated searches for "los angeles superior court".  As of this writing, these three search engines can be expected to give ukar.org 2nd position some of the time upon repeated searches.

The MSN search results start with a "Web Directory Sites" section followed by a "Web Pages" section, and the MSN placement of ukar.org in 2nd position that is cited above refers to the placement within the "Web Pages" section.  The "Sponsored" section which some search engines place above their "Web Results" section is considered here to be mere advertising, and is ignored.

Google comes not only in its classic form www.google.com but also in national versions, as for example:

www.google.ca   (Canada)
www.google.fi   (Finland)
www.google.de   (Germany)
www.google.fr   (France)
www.google.it   (Italy)
www.google.ru   (Russia)
www.google.ch   (Switzerland)
www.google.ae   (United Arab Emirates)
www.google.us   (United States)

The French version above stands out as being the only one that blocks the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org.  For example, searching for "Lubomyr Prytulak" produces ukar.org in first and indented-second positions in all cases except that of France, where in fact ukar.org is never produced no matter what is searched for.  Residents of France wishing to avoid such Google.fr blocking might be able to rely on the google of other countries.

Asking for Google.com or Google.us in Canada forces the Canadian user instead to Google.ca, though the Google of other countries than the United States can be accessed without difficulty.  A Canadian having trouble accessing Google.com can take an indirect route, as for example travelling first to groups.google.com, and there clicking on the "Web" link on the upper-left.  In general, it might often be possible to get to a desired but blocked Google by going first to one that is not blocked, and clicking on the sought-for alternative there.

Some chilling information on search engines especially on Google is available at www.google-watch.org/bigbro.html

On the evening of 15-Jun-2003, the Google search for "los angeles superior court" (including the quotation marks) suddenly demoted UKAR from 6th place to which it had slowly climbed over the preceding months, to 24th place.  Such a sudden fall could have had several causes, one of which could be Google's response to external pressure to alter its rankings, and another being manipulation of Google rankings by people outside Google.  Because of the possibility of such corruption or manipulation, Internet users might wish to repeatedly compare search engines, and favor those able to maintain independence and objectivity.  Although one must beware of reflexively construing every puzzling event as a manifestation of conspiracy, an examination of the sites that began to outrank UKAR in a Google search for "los angeles superior court" revealed so many that were of little interest or relevance that the conspiracy hypothesis was encouraged.  For example, one of these sites that now suddenly outranked UKAR was a single page on which a lady presented herself as a candidate for a position on the Los Angeles Municipal Court way back in November 2000, the only relevance to the Los Angeles Superior Court being that in the list of those endorsing her could be found three judges on the Los Angeles Superior Court.  In view of such perverse ranking, it was wondered whether Google had either succumbed to corruption or was being fooled into making bad rankings, and whether alternative search engines had come to deserve higher trust.

With rankings bouncing up and down somewhat after 15-Jun-2003, but with the Google ranking for "los angeles superior court" eventually stabilizing ukar.org in 5th place, the only dependable moral was that the web author is at the mercy of the search engines, and if manipulation of search results is taking place, he might have no way of knowing it, and no way of appealing.