Steljes' searchUK, a locally developed product, claims over 95 per cent coverage of all UK domains. The search engine only lists UK-oriented Web sites by using in-house robotics and manual sorting of non '.uk' domains. The search facility is also available as a pop-up window and there is a Hotlist feature that lets users quickly go back to previously visited Web sites.
"There are a number of directories like Yahoo! UK, Yell and UK Plus that are a viable model for navigating the Internet but have limitations in breadth of coverage and keeping up to date," said Ed Burt, manager for searchUK. "On the other hand, Infoseek UK, Excite UK and Lycos UK have gone from global to regional and the purity of their databases isn't 100 per cent."
Burt said there was room for more search products despite what appears to be a crowded market.
"The Internet is still very much in its early days and you can't just sit back and say what's going up is the right way to build a search engine. We believe that there should be a search engine written ground-up for each market. Why should a UK printing business be invisible because when you search, you get lots of US companies?"
NetVision's PowerSearch UK is a Java-based meta-search product that uses international search engines to search for UK and international sites, and data held in newsgroups, FTP files or e-mail addresses.
Again, a pop-up window version is available and both products accept submissions for sites to be added to their databases. Both are free and are sponsored by carrying advertising banners