Discusses the results of a case study in which 20 random queries were presented for ten consecutive days to Hotbot and Snap, two search tools that draw their results from the database of Inktomi. The results show huge daily fluctuations in the number of hits retrieved by Hotbot, and high stability in the hits displayed by Snap. These findings are to alert users of Hotbot of its instability as of October 1999, and they raise questions about the reliability of previous studies estimating the size of Hotbot based on its overlap with other search engines.
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