(Ping! Zine) – In a search world dominated by Google – with several other competitors struggling to even keep up – there is a new search engine which has launched today that aims to reduce the amount of search spam in the results. The new search engine is named Blekko and is the creation of Rich Skrenta, co-founder and former CEO of community site Topix. According to a blog post from Mr. Skrenta, Blekko aims to allow searchers to retrieve results from highly competitive search categories without spam in the results. As stated by Mr. Skrenta in his post, ”Being able to go into a spammy category like health, personal finance, hotels or even lyrics and search just the best sites immediately uplevels the results. Trusted sources with no spam.”
Blekko is designed to let searchers define their own vertical search indexes. These narrower categories of search results are defined by a system called ‘slashtags’. The tags define verticals within a search. As described by Rich Skrenta, ”Slashtags let all of the vertical engines that people define on Blekko live within the same search box. They also let you do a search and quickly pivot from one vertical to another.”
The idea is somewhat novel in that there is a human and social aspect to the search results. In theory this should reduce the number of spammy results. There are however a few issue that arise right off the bat – for one, the search engine is setup for only U.S. based search. That’s fine if you are American, but there is another whole part of the planet that might want to see search results relevant to their own geographies (like you can with Google right now). The other obvious question regarding the spam reduction claims are this: ”If Blekko gets at all popular and has any large volume of searches – why wouldn’t the same smart hackers that are spamming Google’s search results just spam Blekko?”. Plus – what makes the Blekko engineers so confident that they can keep up with any new methods of spamming that evolve as a result of their new methodology?
Here are a few items I noticed in conducting some casual searches to test out Blekko. Conducting a search for ”Host Merchant Services” should have returned a number one result for merchant services provider HostMerchantServices.com. The company was not listed in the results. I also noticed that when a typographic error arose, the search results were supplemented by Yahoo search results for those listings. Additionally, as mentioned I tried to search for UK dedicated server company 34SP.com. As the results aren’t UK-friendly, the company was not listed in the top listings as one would expect. Blekko also lists their results in groups of 20 results at a time versus Google’s 10 at a time. Therefore, one scrolls a bit more to see search results.
There is one very interesting aspect to the new search results themselves – the drill down of data available at your fingertips for each spidered URL. Take for example – GoDaddy.com a large mass market web hosting provider. If you check the results for the company name you can see that the results offer several choices under each listing for further exploration. Clicking on the ‘SEO’ link yields a data page with various interesting bits of information and several tabs including one for duplicate content. You can view GoDaddy’s ‘SEO’ page here.