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The Deep Web
Is there life after Google?

As a basic requirement for the work we do, we've been researching the web and organizing data since our inception. In 2004 we needed to compile grantmaker data for our client Amara Conservation, and in the process realized we're pretty good at locating information via the web, and should perhaps offer web research as a separate specific service. This led to more research, and in March 2005 we decided to commit to the task.

When we say "finding information via the web", we're not simply referring to using search engines like Google to find information, we're referring more specifically to the "Deep Web". As of this writing, Google claims to have indexed about 8 billion pages, MSN 5 billion pages, and although Yahoo doesn't officially announce such figures, they say their index is "competitive" with such figures. What isn't often discussed are two very important factors:

1.) Page & Directory Index Depth

2.) Content that can't easily be "spidered"

Although a major search engine may have indexed 8 billion pages, what may be more important is how deeply it spiders a site. We know for a fact that Google in particular "likes" top-level pages, and may take several passes before completing a spider of even one directory deep.

More importantly, a great deal of data that is accessible by other means on the web - specifically databases that are only displayed in dynamically-generated pages when specific data is requested - may not be indexed by search engines at all. This is where humans become relevant once again, and why we're laying groundwork for a human-edited directory focusing on specialized content.

We're still formalizing our mission and assembling volunteer editors for our project. So far we've focused on grantmaking sources and deep content on U.S. government web sites. We'll continue to post updates here as our plans move ahead.

If you're interested in inquiring about our services or being a volunteer editor or researcher, please contact us for details.

Last Updated: April 2005
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