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LookSmart is primarily a human-compiled directory of web sites. It gathers its listings in two ways. Commercial sites pay to be listed in its commercial categories, making the service very much like an electronic "Yellow Pages." However, volunteer editors at the LookSmart-owned Zeal directory also catalog sites into non-commercial categories for free. Though Zeal is a separate web site, its listings are integrated into LookSmart's results.

LookSmart launched independently in October 1996, was backed by Reader's Digest for about a year, and then company executives bought back control of the service.

LookSmart also bought the WiseNut crawler-based search engine in April 2002. WiseNut's are offered through the LookSmart via its Web tab above the search box. Unlike its competitors, the WiseNut crawler has often been out of date, sometimes for months at a time.

Finally, the real gem at LookSmart can be found via its Articles tab. That provides access to content from thousands of periodicals.

Getting Listed: Read the Submitting To LookSmart section of Search Engine Watch's Essentials Of Search Engine Submission guide for more information on being included in its free non-commercial listings. See the LookSmart Paid Listings section for information about cost-per-click commercial listings.

Search Engine Watch members have access to the How Look Smart Works page, which has in-depth coverage of how Look Smart gathers listings.


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