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Website/Webpage Attributes

Is anybody doing/working on this?

4:02 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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When searching, I often have a particular type of website or website orientation I have in mind. (Or DON'T have in mind.)

Most often lately, I find that I'd like to search for any site that is NOT a store or manufacturer, as I am looking for unbiased information - not somebody trying to sell me something. (Particularly if I am not looking for information on a product or service.) This seems increasingly difficult, as the search engines throw wanna-be sellers of things I don't want to buy at me.

I have an idea of how this could be solved, at least in part, for dedicated searchers. I'd like to see search engines attach non-mutually-exclusive "attributes" to websites and possibly also to web pages.

Attributes might include:

- store
- hobbyist/enthusiast site
- review site
- manufacturer
- industry council
- online presence of a print newspaper
- non-profit organization
- blog
- forum
- wiki

etc. etc. etc.

A mechanism could be provided to use attributes in both the negative and positive in a search.

I was discussing this with a friend the other day, and he pointed-out that Google is already doing something similar, with their narrowed searchs, such as academic search, blog search, etc. The problem with this is that they don't cover the breadth of attributes I envisage, can't be combined in the same search, and can't be used in the negative.

Does any search engine have a feature similar to this, or are any startups working on it? (Any VCs willing to fund one? :) )

In the long term, I think our best hope for search being useful again (IMO, it is becoming increasingly useless) is with the handful of startups now working with AI and other techniques to UNDERSTAND queries and content, and move us away from the use of keywords.

But in the mean time, this could be a fix to an increasing problem of irrelevance. I think it would be less difficult to classify sites in this manner (though it may require application of some of the same techniques), and provide a selection mechanism for the user, than to fully "understand" queries and content.

10:55 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Interesting idea,no idea how it could be implemented. As for my searches, I'm generally looking for commercial entities - and that subset is already sorted out for me via adwords. I frequently do searches with the intention of viewing adwords results.
10:43 pm on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Include that these attributes may very well be meta tags added by the webmasters themselves, and that a single site may only be of a single category.

If there's a tag or attribute to tell whether a site considers itself small business, major corporation or an unbiased source of information... and there's only one choice... webmasters would probably consider telling the truth. Doing otherwise will make their competition rank higher in the relevant category.