A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 21, 2009 • Issue 09:01:02


The Green Sheet, Inc.Up to speed with Fast Finder

I can't get your Web site's search function to work well: too many options, perhaps; too many things to go wrong. What's wrong with Google's model? I'd like a box into which to load my search terms. I can deal with one box. I search Google effectively all day long.

I'm looking for something I know The Green Sheet has covered: "high-risk processor." As a merchant level salesperson, I need one. I know you've covered a bunch of them, and I don't have time to go plowing through all my back issues.

However, when I searched for "high-risk processor," I entered nothing in the optional second search box, and the story type I selected was News. I got eight citations from The Green Sheet's Dec. 22, 2008, issue, as well as numerous citations in apparently every other issue, back to May 2007.

I clicked on the Dec. 22 citation, but nothing seemed to fit. So, I hit Ctrl-F to find "high-risk" on the page. Nothing relevant was there. It seems GS Online's search engine grabbed "high" and determined that "rates as high as 25 percent" qualified as a valid search response.

So I tried again. I entered "high-risk" in quotes in the first search box and entered "processor" in the optional second search box, and the story type I selected was News. I got the same results as before.

If I can't learn how exactly your search engine works, different from Google though it is, I'm going to have to take a few days out of production, plow through issue after issue, and create my own workable search index.

So, please, help me!

Jim Litchfield
Savvy Card Service Ltd.


I referred your request to Wolf Stiles, Webmaster and Information Technology Director for The Green Sheet Inc. He is responsible for GS Online's search functions accessed via Fast Finder at www.greensheet.com. Here's what he had to say:

I would like to apologize for the confusion. Part of the problem is that I placed two different functions/forms on the same page and did not separate them sufficiently. I have removed the "List stories by type" function and will place it into a later page.

Currently, the search function works by looking up specific phrases found inside of stories in the online version of The Green Sheet.

In your example, the exact phrase "high-risk processor" does not appear in the text of any of our stories. However, if you break the phrase up, placing "high-risk" in the first field, and "processor" in the second field, and select the "AND" option, it will return stories in which the phrase "high-risk" and "processor" both appear. There are two of those in 2008 (and many more going back to 2001).

Do not put quotes around the phrases you are looking for because Fast Finder searches for the exact text you enter. This is not quite as flexible as Google, but then, that is a multibillion dollar company with extensive, proprietary software, and I am just me.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask me directly (wolf@greensheet.com). I am working on improvements to our search function, and I welcome input from readers. I want to make searching our Web site as convenient and enjoyable for you as possible.

We hope you have found this helpful. Please do take Wolf up on his offer. We are here to serve you.


end of article

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