Backus, I agree wholeheartedly. If AV wants to be taken seriously by end users itís got a long way to go. Not only do we have the problem of unstable results Ė it seems that the results themselves have a relevancy similar to the meaningless drivel spewed out by Northern Light, now no longer taken seriously by anyone in their right mind.
For starters, AV has to start dumping spammers. On a keyword of vital importance to me (a niche word in vogue with educators), I find a supposedly reputable companyís content cropping up virtually unaltered at least 23 times in the first 200 results (11 times in the top 50, i.e. it hogs 22% of the immediately available listings and more than 10% of the total).
The spammer is being allowed in on different domain names Ė thereís obviously no check on identical content in place and Iím certainly not going to do AVís job for them by shopping a competing site.
If this is the sort of stuff AV is going to put out as competition to the likes of Google, we might as well kiss an old friend goodbye. Itís obviously gone to the dogs and is fast disappearing down the plughole.
Iíll be watching the NetRatings closely over the next few months. On current performance as suppliers of relevant results to end users, several engines that have survived the carnage just donít deserve to be there. AV included.
Then again, thereís always the re-index to look forward to and, if WebCrawler can be resuscitated, why not AV?