WINDOWS 98, ME, and 2000 LINKS

Searching for Freeware

Below is an article I wrote about finding Freeware websites. It's a little dated, but the ideas proposed will still apply.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ dubber's Search Engines Tips #1, 2003-12-30

Let's suppose you are interested enough in a topic that you want to do an extensive search of the Internet about it.

What's the first thing you do? That's right- you do a Google search. And it's great. You set up Google so it will display 100 results per page and start looking.

Of course there are lots of links that don't have what you want, but that's OK because Google found 14 million websites to look at, if you want to.

If you are using a tabbed browser like the Mozilla Firebird, you open the interesting looking websites in new tabs as you go along.

Then, as you are really getting into the swing of things, you come to the page that says:

"In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 858 already displayed.

If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

So, you repeat the search with the omitted results included and you now get to look at 990 websites.

What happened to the 14 million websites? If you want more than about a thousand results, then you'll have to use something else besides Google.

I've looked around and you run into the same problem at AlltheWeb, Yahoo, and most other search engines.

There may be others, but one search engine that I know of will let you look at all the websites it finds.

It's called ExactSEEK Relevant Web Search. Do a search for Freeware at Exact Seek and you get 5603 results.

Here's what I do to look at all the sites ExactSeek found:

I look through the first 20 pages of results first. Then I click "Next" and even though there is no official 21st page, it will show up. Then, I can click next over and over and actually look at all 5603 results.

I haven't looked at all of them yet, but I have looked at a lot of them. Exact Seek results are remarkably relevant and do not have an excessive amount of repetitions. I have found many Freeware sites there and continue to do so.

There are other tricks to make better use of Search Engines which I will reveal in later tips.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ dubber's Search Engines Tips #2 2004-01-13

In the previous Search engine tip, I told the serious Internet researcher one way to get around the 1,000 return limit that most search engines have. That tip was basically to go to the Exact Seek search engine where you are able to access all the links they have found in a search, which can be several thousands.

In this tip I'll show you how to get around that 1,000 return limit with any search engine.

I have used search engines to find a lot of the Freeware sites in my list here. A problem with search engines that you can turn around to be a benefit to you is that they are so literal.

If you search for "Freeware sites" then all the results will have "Freeware sites" in them somewhere. If you search for "Freeware websites" then all the results will have "Freeware websites" in them somewhere. There will be some overlap in the results, but not a whole lot. In the first result you will find at most 1,000 results to consider. In the second search you may find 500 to 800 sites that weren't listed in the first search. Then you can make as many more searches as you like, using slightly different wordings each time.

In my case I have used "Freeware lists", "Freeware archives", "Freeware favorites", "Freeware favourites", "Fantastic Freeware", "My Freeware", "Freeware by", "Freeware directories", "Freeware collections", "Freeware developers", "Freeware apps", "Freeware utilities", "Freeware groups", "Freeware proggies", "Freeware programs", "Freeware links", "Freeware tools", just to name a few.

Each of the searches above will give you slightly different results. In combination, these searches will give you many more than 1,000 different results to consider.

If you want to find more words to use in your searches, you can let Google find them for you. You can enter a search like this:

"Freeware ~directory"

When there is a "~" in front of a word in a search, Google will automatically look for results containing synonyms for that word. You can looks at the results of a search like this and use the synonyms that Google found in another search. For example, if Google found a bunch of sites that had the word "collection" as a synonmym for "directories", then you could do another search for "Freeware ~collections".

By the time you have searched for all the related terms you can think of and all the synonyms that Google can provide, then you will have done a pretty extensive Internet search of many thousands of results.

Next time: "How to search without search engines.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ dubber's Search Engines Tips #3

In two previous articles, I have told you somes ways I have gone about finding all these sites.

On December 30, 2003 I explained a way to get around the 1,000 results problem by choosing the correct Search Engine.

Then, on January 13, 2004 I explained how you can get more than 1,000 results with any search engine.

At the end of the second article I promised to explain how to find more Freeware sites without using a Search engine.

But first I want to tell you two more ways to get more results from a search engine.

One day I decided to just type in a name and freeware into a search engine. For example I typed: "Tom Freeware". You wouldn't believe how many Tom or Tom's Freeware or Software sites are on the internet.

Practically every name you can think of has at least a few Freeware or Software sites. So I went right down the alphabet trying the most common male and female names and found a bunch of Freeware sites I don't think I would have found any other way.

There are also Freeware Rings that you can find using a Search engine. Most of them do not have very many websites, but you can sometimes find some good sites.

So, how do you search for Freeware sites without using a search engine?

One way is to look for a Links page on any Freeware site you have found. Check those links for more Freeware sites. Click on any Freeware websites that are unfamiliar.

Some Freeware sites, like mine, are nothing but Freeware links. Check any of those that look unfamiliar. Be methodical and check every one, even if there are several hundred of them. In some cases it may take a couple of days.

Eventually you will find almost all the most common sites that people link to and this approach won't find you very many new sites.

But check each new site anyway, as you will still find a few.

Most of the last several hundred Freeware websites that I have listed here have been found by someone else. These sites can be found by going to a site that lists Freeware programs, not Freeware sites.

Find a site that has a few thousand Freeware programs listed. They will be divided into nice, neat categories for you.

Click one of the categories and you will be presented with a nice list of Freeware programs from just a few up to a hundred or so.

Information will be given for each program. It seems like the Freeware sites compete to see which one can give you the most information.

If you look closely you are likely to see a link to the "Home Page" listed for each program. If you are unfamiliar with the program, click on the "Home Page" link. More times than not, if you aren't familiar with the Program, then you aren't familiar with the site it is listed on.

Once you get there, the new website may be all Shareware, except for that one program. This happens fairly often.

Sometimes the link is dead. Sometimes the program is now Shareware.

But, you will find enough new good Freeware websites to make this procedure worthwhile.

I am sure that after you have gone through all the major Freeware program websites that this technique will no longer be effective. I haven't reached that point yet.

When that happens, you can then search for Freeware sites that list new Freeware or new versions of Freeware. Click on the "Home Page" on any you are unfamiliar with, just as you did above.

I haven't had much success, but I have heard that others have found many new Freeware websites by going to NewsGroups such as alt.binaries.freeware or alt.binaries.dominion.freeware.

The one thing that helped me the most in the last couple of months is using a Tabbed browser and a Popup blocker. My browser of choice right now is Firefox which has a very good built-in popup blocker and a good Tab system.

This is especially helpful if you are on a slow dialup connection like mine.

I'll open up Google, set the preference for 100 results, type in what I am looking for and then start looking down the list of results. When I find a site I'm interested in, I will open it in a new tab. I'll usually find from 10 to 25 sites I want to look at on a page.

By the time I get to the bottom of the page, the first few tabbed websites will be completely loaded. Then, by the time I have actually looked at a few of them, all the rest will be loaded. This way, I don't EVER wait for a page to load, even though I'm on a slow dialup.

Unless you have done this, you can not imagine how much time you can save or how much easier it is to search for websites. And even the 404's don't bother you much, because you didn't have to wait on them to load.


Happy hunting.