501 Web Site Secrets: Unleash the Power of Google, Amazon, eBay and More

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Do more than you ever thought possible with search engines, portals, and e-commerce sites! Packed with insider tips, tricks, timesavers, and workarounds, this unique guide shows you step by step how to make the most of today's most popular Web sites. From putting Google in your browser and personalizing Yahoo! to finding bargains on Amazon and winning eBay auctions, this book delivers all the secrets you need to get more done in less time, save money, and become an Internet ...
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Overview

Do more than you ever thought possible with search engines, portals, and e-commerce sites! Packed with insider tips, tricks, timesavers, and workarounds, this unique guide shows you step by step how to make the most of today's most popular Web sites. From putting Google in your browser and personalizing Yahoo! to finding bargains on Amazon and winning eBay auctions, this book delivers all the secrets you need to get more done in less time, save money, and become an Internet power user.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764559013
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/9/2004
  • Series: Secrets Series , #53
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. I Secrets of the Internet Portals 1
Ch. 1 Yahoo! Secrets 3
Ch. 2 MSN Secrets 55
Ch. 3 AOL.com Secrets 75
Ch. 4 Excite Secrets 89
Ch. 5 Lycos Secrets 99
Pt. II Secrets of the Internet Search Engines 117
Ch. 6 Google Secrets 119
Ch. 7 AllTheWeb Secrets 161
Ch. 8 Ask Jeeves Secrets 171
Ch. 9 AltaVista Secrets 181
Ch. 10 HotBot Secrets 195
Pt. III Secrets of the Online News and Information Sites 209
Ch. 11 CNN.com Secrets 211
Ch. 12 ESPN.com Secrets 231
Ch. 13 CBS MarketWatch Secrets 247
Ch. 14 Weather.com Secrets 265
Ch. 15 Microsoft.com Secrets 281
Pt. IV Secrets of Online Shopping and Services 293
Ch. 16 eBay Secrets 295
Ch. 17 Amazon.com Secrets 319
Ch. 18 Napster 2.0 Secrets 345
Ch. 19 Expedia Secrets 361
Ch. 20 MapQuest Secrets 371
Index 383
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First Chapter

501 Web Site Secrets

Unleash the Power of Google, Amazon, eBay and More
By Michael Miller

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-5901-X


Chapter One

Secrets in This Chapter

#1: Go Directly to Almost Any Yahoo! Page-No Clicking Necessary 6 #2: The Yahoo! Directory Has Higher-Quality Results than Yahoo! Web Search-but Fewer of Them 9 #3: When You Search Yahoo!, You're Searching Google 10 #4: Yahoo!'s Advanced Search Page 11 #5: Search for Images (Using Google Image Search) 12 #6: Access All of Yahoo!'s Searches from a Single Page 12 #7: Expand Your Search Results 13 #8: Search for the Weather Forecast 13 #9: Search for News 14 #10: Search for Maps 14 #11: Search for Definitions 15 #12: Go There Now! 16 #13: Add a Yahoo! Toolbar to Internet Explorer 16 #14: Create Your Own Personal My Yahoo! 17 #15: Make Yahoo! Safe for Kids 18 #16: Find a Local Yahoo!-or a Global One 20 #17: Search for People 22 #18: Search for Businesses 24 #19: Look Up Reference Information-for Free 25 #20: Get Free E-Mail 25 #21: Listen to Your E-Mail by Phone 26 #22: Chat with Other Yahoo! Users 27 #23: Share Your Interests with Yahoo! Message Boards and Groups 29 #24: Use Yahoo! to Manage Your Schedule and Contacts 31 #25: Share Your Files and Photos with Other Users 33 #26: Use Yahoo! to Print Your Favorite Photos 33 #27: Use Yahoo! to Get the Latest News, Weather, and Sports 34 #28: Use Yahoo! to Run a Fantasy Sports League 37 #29: Use Yahoo! to Manage Your Finances and Pay Your Bills 37 #30: Use Yahoo! to Shop Online 39 #31: Use Yahoo! (and Travelocity) to Plan Your Next Vacation or Business Trip 43 #32: Use Yahoo! to Listen to Your Favorite Music 45 #33: Use Yahoo! to Listen to Internet Radio 46 #34: Use Yahoo! to Play Games 46 #35: Use Yahoo! to Send Online Greeting Cards 47 #36: Use Yahoo! to Advance Your Education 48 #37: Use Yahoo! to Advance Your Career 48 #38: Use Yahoo! to Stay Healthy-or Find a Doctor if You Need One 49 #39: Yahoo! Isn't Just for Humans-It's Also for Pets 49 #40: Use Yahoo! to Track Your Packages 50 #41: Use Yahoo! to Create Your Own Web Page 50 #42: Add a Yahoo! Search Button to Your Own Web Page 52 #43: Find Out What's Hot-and What's Not 52 #44: Access Bookmarked Pages from Anywhere 52 #45: Get Alerted to the Latest News and Developments 53

Do you Yahoo!?

If you connect to the Internet, chances are that you do.

Yahoo! is the most popular site on the Internet. More people visit Yahoo! every day than visit America Online or Google or Amazon.com or eBay or any other Internet destination. With more than 237 million users in 25 different countries (and 13 different languages), Yahoo! is visited by more than two-thirds of all Internet users at least once a month.

It's fair to assume that you're one of those 237 million users, and that you use Yahoo! to find other sites on the Web. But do you know everything you can do at Yahoo!? Do you know all about Yahoo! services, including free e-mail and online shopping and personal ads and stock quotes and TV schedules and travel reservations and interactive games and downloadable music radio and real-time chat and instant messaging and ... well, do you?

Yahoo! At a Glance

You know, it's hard to believe that Yahoo! is ten years old. It was back in January of 1994 that Stanford University PhD students David Filo and Jerry Yang started keeping track of their favorite sites on the Web, collecting and classifying hundreds and then thousands of different Web pages. As their little hobby grew more time-consuming, Filo and Yang created a custom database to house their Web links, and they made the database available for free on the Web. They named the database Yahoo! (an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) and, after about a year, moved their site from the overloaded Stanford servers to the larger-capacity servers of Netscape Communications Corporation.

In the spring of 1995, Yang and Filo began to realize the commercial appeal of their increasingly popular site; they accepted some venture capital and turned Yahoo! into a full-time business. Of course, the Yahoo! of today is a far cry from the database that resided on Filo and Yang's personal workstations at Stanford. Yahoo! has expanded well beyond a simple Web directory (even though most Yahoo! visitors still use the site primarily for searching). Today, Yahoo! is a full-fledged Web portal, a site that not only guides you to content across the Internet, but also contains its own proprietary content and services-everything from stock quotes to online auctions to interactive chat to free e-mail.

Just about everything you want to do with Yahoo! can be accessed from the Yahoo! home page (yahoo.com). You can use the home page to click through to other Yahoo! sites and services, as well as search or browse through the Yahoo! directory.

As you can see in Figure 1-1, even though the Yahoo! home page is crammed full of links, it's divided into just a few major sections.

At the top of the page, on either side of the Yahoo! logo, are icons that link to Yahoo!'s most popular services: My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Shop, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and Yahoo! HotJobs. Click these icons to go directly to those services.

Just below the Yahoo! logo is a set of tabs. These tabs change the type of search enabled from the search box-Web (default), Images, Yellow Pages, and Products. The tabs sit on top of the search box, along with the Search button and links to the advanced search and preferences pages.

Below the search box, on the left side of the page (the main column), are links to almost every other Yahoo! service. Below this section is normally an ad for one of the many Yahoo! services, then links to Yahoo!'s business and premium services. The entire right-hand side of the page is devoted to news headlines and advertising links.

The next section in the main column contains the main categories of the Yahoo! Web Site Directory; click any link to start browsing. Then, at the bottom of the page, you find links to local and international versions of Yahoo!, as well as links to additional Yahoo! services.

There are two ways to use the Yahoo! site to find information on the Web. The first is to browse through the categories in the Yahoo! directory; you do this directly from the category links on the Yahoo! home page. The second method is to search the Web for information (what Yahoo! calls Web Search), which you do from the search box at the top of the Yahoo! home page. The results you get from each search are quite different, as you'll learn later in this chapter.

Secret #1: Go Directly to Almost Any Yahoo! Page-No Clicking Necessary

Read back to that list of services offered by Yahoo! in the chapter's introduction. How do you access all these services, anyway?

Well, you can access most of these services from links located somewhere on Yahoo!'s home page-if you can find the right link. If you can't find a link to a particular service on the home page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Even More Yahoo! link. This takes you to a page that lists every site and service that Yahoo! offers.

Use the Direct Address

Even better, almost every Yahoo! service has its own unique URL that you can enter directly into your browser's address box, or bookmark as necessary. You might think that remembering dozens of unique URLs would be difficult. And, of course, you'd be right-if you actually had to memorize the URLs. Fortunately, Yahoo! uses an address scheme that's easy on the old memory, thanks to its common-sense nature.

Yahoo!'s address scheme is simple. Just take the yahoo.com domain and add the service name in front of it, like this: service.yahoo.com. So, for example, if you want to go to Yahoo! News, you enter news.yahoo.com. If you want to go to Yahoo! Mail, enter mail.yahoo.com.

insider insight

The only major exception to this rule is the children's site Yahooligans!, which has the address yahooligans.com

Still too much to remember? Then consult the address list in Table 1-1, where I did the hard work for you:

Use the Search Box Shortcut

If entering an entire URL is too much work, Yahoo! lets you use special shortcuts in its search box to go directly to a particular Yahoo! site. All you have to do is enter the feature name followed by an exclamation mark, like this: feature!.

So if you want to go to Yahoo! Travel, enter travel! into the search box and then click the Search button. If you want to go to Yahoo! Mail, enter mail!. You get the picture.

Secret #2: The Yahoo! Directory Has Higher-Quality Results than Yahoo! Web Search-but Fewer of Them

Yahoo! was created as a hand-picked directory of Web sites. Over the past decade, however, the Yahoo! directory has become a less and less important part of the Yahoo! pantheon of services-to the point where many users don't even know the directory exists. After all, if you use the search box on the Yahoo! home page-which Yahoo! obviously wants you to do-you pass over the directory entirely.

That's too bad, because the Yahoo! directory is actually a pretty good assemblage of what's out there on the Web. It's also arguably the easiest search site for Web surfers to use.

It all boils down to the basic difference between a directory and a search index. You see, there are two approaches to organizing all the information on the World Wide Web. One approach is to use a special type of software program (called a spider or crawler) to roam the Web automatically, feeding what it finds back to a massive bank of computers. These computers hold indices of the Web-in some cases, entire Web pages are indexed; in other cases, only the titles and important words on a page are indexed. This approach is the one taken by the big search engines, such as Google, AltaVista, and HotBot-and by Yahoo!'s Web Search feature (which is actually supplied by Google, as you'll learn in Secret #3).

The other approach-the one taken by the Yahoo! directory-is to have actual human beings physically look at each Web page and stick each one into a hand-picked category. After you get enough Web pages collected, you have something called a directory.

Unlike a search engine, a directory doesn't search the entire Web-in fact, a directory catalogs only a very small part of the Web. But a directory is very organized, and very easy to use, and lots and lots of people use Web directories (such as Yahoo!) every day.

Of course, that's not to say that the Yahoo! directory is perfect. Far from it. For starters, it's small-only 2 million pages, versus 3 billion or so in Yahoo!'s Googlesupplied Web Search index. (That means that Yahoo!'s directory content represents less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total number of pages currently published on the Web-not very comprehensive at all.)

Fortunately, you don't have to limit yourself to the listings in the Yahoo! directory; Yahoo! supplements its directory listings with search results from a third-party search engine. Read on to learn another little secret about Yahoo!'s search capabilities.

Secret #3: When You Search Yahoo!, You're Searching Google

Okay, Yahoo! is known for its high-quality and well-organized Web directory. But when you use Yahoo!'s Web Search feature, you bypass the directory entirely and instead retrieve results supplied by a third-party search engine.

That's right. When you use the search box on Yahoo!'s home page, you're not searching Yahoo!-you're searching Google.

For some time now, Yahoo! has supplemented its directory listings with results from a partner search engine. Early on, Yahoo! offered results from the Inktomi search engine. Today, Yahoo! uses results provided by Google.

insider insight

The contract that Yahoo! has with Google is not open-ended, which means that when the current contract expires, it's possible that Yahoo! might go with a different search index provider-such as Inktomi, which Yahoo! purchased in March of 2003, or AllTheWeb or AltaVista, which Yahoo! acquired later the same year. So it wouldn't take a great stretch of the imagination to envision Yahoo! delivering some blend of Inktomi/AllTheWeb/AltaVista results sometime in the future, either in place of or in addition to the current Google results.

Do your own comparison. Enter a query into the Yahoo! search box, then go to Google (google.com) and enter the same query. The results should look familiar.

Since searching with Yahoo! is the same as searching with Google, you can use Google's advanced search operators when you conduct a Yahoo! Web Search. These operators help you fine-tune your search by including or excluding specific words, searching for exact phrases, and narrowing your search to certain sites or domains. There's no point in repeating those operators twice in the same book, so turn to Chapter 6 to learn more-then utilize those advanced search operators the next time you construct a query on Yahoo!.

insider insight

In addition to using Google's advanced search operators, Yahoo! also has a few special keywords of its own you can use in the home page search box. Read Secrets #8 through #12 to learn more.]

Continues...


Excerpted from 501 Web Site Secrets by Michael Miller Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2004

    tips are obvious; not innovative

    There seems to be something akin to a credentials push between O'Reilly and Wiley. O'Reilly has a series of Hacks books, with 100 tips in each. Is that why we have this book, with 501 web 'secrets'? One upsmanship? Firstly, the secrets in the title is hype. None of the tips can really be called a secret. While Miller does admit this in his Introduction, it is irritating to see each tip labelled as a secret, throughout the book. But let's leave this aside and look at the tips. Many are really obvious. Like tip 224 - 'Fine tune your search with AltaVista's advanced Web Search page'. People, the Altavista home page has an 'advanced' link right there. Or look at tip 27 - 'Use Yahoo to get the latest news, weather and sports'. Again, these links are right there on the Yahoo home page. Plus, the headlines of recent new articles are also shown on the page, as an inducement for readers to clickthrough. These 501 tips are quantity stressed over quality. Many are stunningly obvious, like those above. And if we say 'secrets', then they become inane. A far better approach would have been to reduce the number of tips, and give more detail on some truly innovative and nonobvious usages of the major websites. It would have required far more work and originality than evidenced here.

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