Review of Yahoo! Directory
Last updated Oct. 30, 2003.
Yahoo! is one of the best known and most popular Internet portals. Originally just a subject directory, it still has substantial content in its directory which can be searched directly or browsed by category. To go to the Yahoo! portal and main starting point, use www.yahoo.com. For direct access to the search interface, use search.yahoo.com and for the directory use dir.yahoo.com. This review primarily coves the directory. Use the table of contents on the left to navigate this review.
Databases: On a search, a few categories from the directory and Inside Yahoo! content is shown followed by sponsored links (ads), and then the bulk of results labeled as Web Results come from the Google database.
Default Operation: Yahoo! does a Boolean AND by default, sometimes. For others searches it may do an OR. It uses what it calls its "intelligent default," but Yahoo! does not document exactly how that works. So, the default can vary.
Boolean Searching: Yahoo! does not support Boolean operators or nested searching. It does support use of the + to require a term and a - to exclude hits with that term. However, now that it seems to be doing an AND operation by default, there is no need to use the + symbol. In the Advanced Search, you can select
Proximity Searching: Phrase searching is available by using
Truncation: Search terms in Yahoo! directory of five or six or more characters are all automatically truncated. To search a term untruncated, treat it as a phrase and surround the term with "double quotes." To truncate a search term of one to five characters, use the asterisk *. It can be used internally, but not at the beginning of a search term. No truncation is available in phrase searching.
Case Sensitivity: Yahoo! has no case sensitive searching. Using either lower or upper or mixed case will result in the same hits.
Field Searching: Two field searches are available: title and URL. The syntax is like AltaVista using
Stop Words: Some common words are ignored in a directory search.
Sorting: Yahoo! provides results in six categories, shown in the table header reproduced below. The first listed results under Web are from the search engine, currently Google, and are sorted in Google's relevance order. Second is a link to Google's image database. The Yahoo! directory results are available under the Directory heading. The Yellow Pages tab goes to a Yellow Pages search form. The News tab goes to the Yahoo! News database while the Products tab, introduced Fall 2003, goes to the Yahoo! Shopping search.
Display: The Yahoo! directory results display the site title, description, URL, and the category name.
Selection Criteria: Entries in Yahoo! are gathered from user submissions (and commercial sites must pay to be considered) and the Yahoo! editorial team.
Size of Yahoo! : Yahoo! has never been forthcoming with the size of its directory. According to estimates from the ODP and Yahoo Size Projection Charts, the Yahoo directory has over 1.7 million records as of Oct 2000. The last official word from a Yahoo! representative was in November 1997 when they claimed Yahoo! contained over 730,000. At a wild guess, the directory probably has over 3 million records as of 2003.
Ratings: Yahoo! lists records in some categores as "Most Popular" and lists those at the top. Others are listed as "pick" and have a review of the site. Yahoo! denotes a few records as "cool". A little sunglasses icon designates those sites, but those are usually older records in the directory,
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