Feb 16 2007

Nine Alternative Search Engines in Australia

Ok, so we all know the “Big 3” search engines in Australia – namely Google, Yahoo! and Live (ninemsn.com.au), as well as the stalwart Altavista (owned by Overture/Yahoo!), but I recently delved into local search engine alternatives and was quite surprised at the breadth of choice.

Let’s have a look at some of the alternatives:-

1. Web Wombat

Web Wombat maintains it lists 20,000,000+ Australian web pages. To get your site listed quickly, you can opt for an “Express Registration” which costs $40 p.a. for one page or $65 for up to 150 pages.

At the suggestion of our SEO guy, I listed Obits back in January 2006. I opted for the more expensive of the two options (i.e. up to 150 pages). Whilst the main page was indexed for a while it seemed to fall off, and asking about the other 149 pages fell on deaf ears. For $65 it wasn’t worth the frustration.

When time came to renew I expressed my concerns as to how my listing wasn’t being optimised (in fact I couldn’t find it at all – let alone being given priority), how I’d had a total of 23 referrals ($2.82 per click), and not a single referral since 7/9/06. I said that if they could fix these problems, that I’d be happy to renew for another year. Again no response. So I let it lapse and got an email saying my site would be *removed* from the index.

Then a funny thing happened, and since *removing* my website, I’ve had 28 referrals this week – go figure….

Online Since 1996
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 6
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 7,930 (if this is relevant)
Alexa Rank 27,513
Alexa Rank in Australia 832
Monetisation: Express registration, featured links, Overture Yahoo!, Google Adwords and I suspect Affiliate programs.

2. Sensis

Well, everything I have to say about this search engine has been previously said.

Online Since 2004
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 6
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 1,590
Alexa Rank 22,098 (and falling)
Alexa Rank in Australia: 277
Monetisation: Sensis Bidsmart

3. Ansearch

Ansearch is an interesting case study, and deserves a post of its own (which I will do soon). There are number Ansearch internet properties, and some of the following websites belong to Ansearch.

Ansearch presents its search results with “ranked” sites first. These results are sorted by a “popularity index” which is determined by a “number of sources” which are not disclosed. Users can also enter a gender and age, and the search engine will attempt to deliver results which are more popular to your demographic. I found that many of the results were irrelevant and often aged or stale domains.

Online Since 2004
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 6
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 429,000
Alexa Rank 38,965
Alexa Rank in Australia 489
Monetisation: Overture Yahoo!

4. Anzwers (an Ansearch website)

Home page is feature packed with news links to news.com.au, abc.net.au and news.ninemsn.com.au. Lots of sponsored links, often to their other search sites. I prefer the search results to those from ansearch.com.au.

Online Since 1996
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 7
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 18,300
Alexa Rank 86,962
Alexa Rank in Australia 1850
Monetisation: Overture Yahoo!, contextual advertising and affiliate marketing

The Alexa daily reach comparison for these four alternatives can be seen below (which shows that Web Wombat is taking over from Sensis in popularity):

Australian Search Engines - Alexa Rankings

5. Searchxyz (Ansearch)

Yet another Ansearch search engine. This site appears to be newly released, and the search results seem pretty relevant.

Online Since 2006/2007?
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 2
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 3,750
Alexa Rank 834,150
Monetisation: Via links to Ansearch – no “sponsored listings” as yet.

6. Blackstump

This appears to be a “one man show”, being run by “Pirate Pete” with a few helpers. Whilst not a search engine per se, it is more a human edited directory of links with search within the site being powered by Google. Submission is a bit tricky, “Pirate Pete” has to like the site in order to include it. “Pete” has obviously devoted a lot of time and effort over the years in putting together a pretty impressive collection of links.

“Pete” recently added Obits to the site (of his on volition – many thanks!). People can subscribe via RSS or email to receive weekly updates of newly added sites, which is obviously very popular. The day the Obits site was added I received 56 referrals from the site, which is huge for a niche site like Obits. Since then I’ve had about 169 visits from the Blackstump, which is pretty cool (and more than the alternative directories previously mentioned put together).

Online Since 1995
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 5
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 217
Alexa Rank 178,860
Monetisation: Google

7. MyWebSearch (Yep Ansearch Again)

Although the top search results seem on par with the major search engines, this site has a hard time distinguishing “.co.nz” domains from “.com.au” in a “search Australia” search request.

Online Since 2007?
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 0
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) Not indexed yet
Alexa Rank 7,503,835
Monetisation: Overture Yahoo!

8. Websearch

Unfortunately this message is on the site “Sorry, the engine is off line for maintenance. Not for long though!”, so I was unable to have a look. I’m not sure how long this message has been displayed, but nothing much seems to have been done to the site recently. It appears to be a one man show run by Dez Blanchfield and claims to be searching 106,654,259 web pages.

Online Since 1994
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 6
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 26
Alexa Rank 147,262
Monetisation: Google

9. Mooter – “The power of relevance”

Not strictly for the Australian domain, although it does claim “options to search Australian websites only or the full web”. I couldn’t find this option. I’ve included it here because as a search engine, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It presents search results in “clusters”, and you can follow any one of the relevant clusters to refine your results, as below. It’s an interesting concept, but one which seems to have fallen by the wayside in terms of development, so perhaps it didn’t take off. Oh, if you try this search, once you’ve clicked on a cluster, don’t hit the back button – refine by using the sidebar

Mooter search results

Online Since 2003
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 7
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) n/a (21 in “the web”)
Alexa Rank 223,702
Monetisation: Overture Yahoo!

So, as you can see there are quite a few alternatives, but whether any of these make a serious impact on the market leaders remains to be seen.

Update 18/2/07: Since Alexa has added country rankings, I have added this ranking to the top four alternative search engines.

One response so far

One Response to “Nine Alternative Search Engines in Australia”

  1. Dez Blanchfieldon 17 Sep 2007 at 11:06 pm


    good news – after the “crash of ’06” I’ve got http://WebSearch.COM.AU back on line, and it’s slowly (bandwidth costs are killing me currently) re-indexing around 22M to 24M top level pages, and hopefully we’ll have the approx 100M+ pages in the Australian internet space re-indexed by the end of the year – unless someone offers a heck of a lot of new free bandwidth of course, in which case it could be back up to date in a mere month!

    Anyway, hope you’ll have another look – and re-review the project, and would love to do a 1on1 interview any time to give you the down and dirty on WebSearch and it’s now approx 12 year history!



    Dez Blanchfield
    “Crawling, not Browsing”