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I was just thinking about this thread [webmasterworld.com] and about how much impact it could have on these search engines if it was in a worldwide journal.
People reading the results and looking at the various search engines mentioned.
Can you imagine the shifts in their traffic depending on the trends published?
Very brilliant insight, and worthy of discussion. Gigablast, SearchHippo, Kartoo, OpenFind, WiseNut - they've all got people that read here, the authors are here, they take notes. We tell them things, and they listen. *if* you like the idea of more competition = better for everybody in the search engine space, show your support: What would you like to see, implications for the current state of affairs, is there someplace nobody else is going that you would like a search engine to go?
> What would you like to see...?
I'd like to see them become more engaged here - ala Google, and I'd like to see them get enough support to be able to market their search services successfully. As far as search engines go, the more the merrier, IMHO. Of those you've listed, I use them all and my sites rank well in most of them. I've also exchanged messages with two of the authors, and found them responsive. I "love" Google, but I also like to change the color of my socks every day.
But, I do agree with what you said - more interactivity is key, in some ways, to getting more folks interested. However, making a great product - getting the webmaster excited enough to tell their friends & family - is part & parcel of the search engine's job.
How many of us, reading, posting, community members - sold our family on Google? I know, if & when, an engine comes along that I believe is better, I could get at least 15-25 people to switch their default SE within a day. Two at the most.
Is there anything missing from them listed above? What do you want to see? New tech, fancy research papers outlining their views on the underlying web map, or...?
Any search engine would be wise to court the constructive input of those who form the opinions on these matters. Of course, Google is in the forefront in this regard.
What would I like to see?
[edited by: martinibuster at 7:41 pm (utc) on June 30, 2003]
Well, they do - we've got representatives from every engine that this forum is about reading & posting here (except WiseNut, since he retired at the advice of their company - which is sad, but C'est la vie, ya?)
kmarcus (Kevin Marcus) = SearchHippo (very, very helpful guy - even offered a tarball of his project for other people to help with)
Matt Dwells (forget the nickname off hand...) = Gigablast, again, very helpful, and you can see that 'he is listening' - not sure he got the Gigaboost idea from here or not, but Brett suggested any engine wanting some extra exposure do similar. SearchHippo does that, as well ;)
They both also offer a site search you can use - for FREE! - and, it's obvious from the communication I've had with them both that they are interested, and listening, to the community.
Kartoo - they have a rep that reads & posts here (forget the name off hand...)
Vivisimo has a guy that posts here as well (or used to? haven't seen him in a while...)
QueryServer, part of OpenFind, an engineer that said he was responsible for that part of OpenFind posts (or posted?) here in this forum as well.
That about sums up the engines - except Yuntis, that is a research project at a university - that have reps who read & listen & post here.
So they are _doing_ it, as far as that goes. What else would you see them do? Have them do?
The major meta engines don't post here (as far as I know) but they are covered here, as well - it's just that with a meta engine, you are really discussing somebody else's database :) So, it's a bit tough, unless you are talking about a unique qui, presentation method & UI, etc.
For some strange reason I thought that it was the surfer (or searcher).
Yup, that's obvious. I was thinking within the context of the people who actually spend and contribute to the bottom line of every search engine: The webmaster. I should have qualified that statement. Let's try it like this.
The webmaster is the most important constituent in charge of where the money gets spent.
And, honestly, I wouldn't "love" them so much, if they didn't make me so much money...;)
*if* these other guys can continue to do it, the way it needs to be done, then what? Well, they'll get a slice of the pie which is what they are all after - yes, we want great results, but along with that, we want traffic that will drive sales.
Look at the hassle Google get month to month (xxxx keyword is full of spammy results, yyyy competitor is spamming, zzzz site isnt number one and it should be).
Im sure must be easier to provide good search results when a boat load of SEOs aren't vollying for number one spot?
>Would like to be more engaged on this forum, but there's like a monopoly of Google on webmasterworld.
Completely understandable, but I can't help the feeling that things may change over the next few months.
It's a funny old world. I am unclear why Google is allowed free run and "self promotion" and these other guys are not (under TOS)
Maybe I misunderstood the point of that original remark of yours.
Mind you the other side of the coin is that they appear to have opted out.
Would like to be more engaged on this forum, but there's like a monopoly of Google on webmasterworld. Sorry for being so direct but sometimes I feel like Google is behind all this.
...says it all really, and is considerable food for thought.
So why should these other guys posts be regarded as self promtion?
I am all for having dialogue. One has to assume that Google gets a return out of posting here, so to that extent we are helping them.
It would seem that other SEs could get something out of regular posts here, but (on the strength of the one post above, and on the evidence of little input from them) I assume they have been "killed off" from participating.
WebmasterWorld - if you look at the 'alexa' rankings - is in the top 250 or so websites in their statistics, which puts us here ahead of many search engines that we routinely discuss in this forum. Even others like LookSmart - are lower down, on the alexa rankings, than WebmasterWorld.
So, yes - there are limits. But - if one of these engines 'does something' anything we take notice. Did you see the link to the Vivisimo deal with the USA Federal Government?
Or when Gigablast was released, that it made WebmasterWorld front page?
Or when Kartoo started included other stuff in their results we noticed it here first before any other main stream media outlet.
Or better yet, when kmarcus - the Search Hippo guy - let people in on building the next release of his engine - sure, it wasn't a direct download link but anybody who couldn't figure it out was invited to sticky or email him to get it. And, it seems to me pretty exciting that the project will be getting some support & help from others, so it could push even further into the 'mainstream'.
There are limits, but we give people - who are trying! - enough rope, to do with what they wish.
The chaps that posted in this thread are greatly appreciated - and, remember: WebmasterWorld is a community of web professionals, or people who aspire to become web professionals. You can always ask a question - about one of these engines, or any that is seriously trying to 'do something' the question will be answered, fast, well, and taken to heart by those who read.
When I decide, about once a month, to return to researching Altavista or Inktomi, I always have to dig though multiple categories in hopes of finding new or relevant information about them. I usually run into to many "when does AV update" type posts. It gets frustrating and I just go back to keep up to date with google.
Why don’t we, the Webmaster World community, give these other players their own forums? Find a moderator for them and let them go. Then, if the search engines want to participate in any sort of official manner, they can? What makes AllTheWeb so special?
That way, as issues or concerns or suggestions come about, we can discuss them openly. If the search engine reps want to listen, they can.
Compare the qualities of each service.
It's not just index size, but how up-to-date is it and what is the quality of the SERPs. Draw your own conclusions.
These key factors determine the usefulness to the users. And who are the users? Joe and Joanne Surfer and web site owners. Finally, the service itself has to make this a good business model to serve the shareholders and pay the bills.
What I'd like to see is the alternative services announcing their new developments, discussing their research and presenting their services in an open manner. I'd also like to hear more about their vision for a better search.
I'd also like to thank all of those services that do participate here.
Wouldn't we all....so why on earth don't they.
Shouldn't Admin be inviting them. I assume with the networking that goes on that they have, and that YahooGuy, MSGirl et al have made a conscious decision not to participate.
Have they had their noses put out by Google? Are they sulking/skulking? Do they think their is no business advantage?
If Google finds it commercially worth while, one would assume that others would find it worthwhile too!
How do you know that YahooGuy (or YahooGirl) MSN_Man (or MSN_Woman) aren't waiting in the wings, signed up, and not saying anything, just reading what we have to say?
You don't know, and more than likely, you'll never know that information :)
The alexa ratings - do they mean anything? Perhaps, perhaps not. But it makes an interesting chart, when comparing to say, WiseNut, Gigablast, SearchHippo, or even MSN search.
In the US (where a lot of those companies are based that don't participate here in the form of dialogue) many corporations have rules, regulations, etc - that might prevent them from engaging in just the kind of dialogue that the helpful people in this thread from several search engines have engaged in.
This forum is really useful, and provides great value, imho, to the webmaster & aspiring next generation search engine alike. Where else did people discuss Gigablast so quickly? Here.
Where else can you read stuff from the guy who founded Vivisimo, before it was a stand alone company / deal / etc (I forget the details, but they are there in some past threads) here.
Kord Campbell, the guy from Grub, posted here long ago about their bot / spider / search engine thingy - but no longer, since that's part of LookSmart, another publically traded company.
If you pay attention, you'll notice that everybody who you think could and or should be here is already part of the community whether it's public knowledge they are, or whether they are simply reading along, they are here.
Just trust us on that one.
...but wouldn't it be nice if they participated?
An input from any one of then is bound to stimulate discussion, hopefully to the benefit of all concerned ;)
To return to your original point..
As DMOZ says "humans do it better", but problem is that there are not enough volunteer humans to index the web. Google indexes roughly 1000 times more pages than DMOZ (Ok not quite fair as DMOZ indexes (mainly) sites)
So with 50,000 editors (OK 10,000 active ones) DMOZ gets to 4 million sites. Gigablast with (effectivelly) 1 guy gets to 190 million using robots.
Trouble is robots are not descerning/discriminating and only give the searcher a rough set of results, against the human directory which is (well should be) better.
So Search Engines work because they can index much more than humans ever can, but they have flaws in how they present their results
Are Googles results perfect...no, there is assorted spam, extraneous results, serps of serps, and so on in there when the user tries to get information....but its the best we have right now (maybe ;) )
If you accept those hypotheses, then you conclude that a "better" search engine could knock Google off its perch. Hence the need for "alternative search engines" and indeed the need for Google to try to stay ahead of the game.
Most of us have (strong) ideas on what needs improved, so who is listening?
Whatever rules apply to GoogleGuy should apply to all search engine representatives. I feel that the only limits should be, "No criticizing the competition," and "No blatant self-promotion." The SE reps are professionals, and those are fairly simple restrictions; I suspect that all reps would find themselves much more constrained by their own corporate policies and self-interest than by those two limitations.
If we're going to include research projects or projects in development like Yuntis, then let's add "Nutch" to the list; They have a representative who posts occasionally here, and is responsive to comments about their project.
I would very much like to see participation by and discussion of search engines outside "the western world." I find myself quite ignorant of what might be going on with asia/pacific rim, India, the middle east, africa, and the former soviet union. I'd like to know about their markets.
Since I'm not associated with any of them, I don't mind having a combined forum for alternative engines, with the bar set at achieving some specific level of market share before a proprietary forum is granted. What matters is participation by the representatives of these engines, answering what questions they can, investigating problems which affect the membership here, and posting announcements of new developments.
Everybody that cares, cornwall - everybody in the business.
Do you know where the other folks in this thread work? What contacts they have? Connections?
For all you know, Bill Gates himself might be reading this thread :) You don't know, neither do I, and nor does anybody else (unless Bill dropped Brett a stickymail - but I doubt Brett would share that kind of info).
Instead of 'hinting' about ideas & thoughts on the subject, why not share some of them?
*if* you believe another search engine could do it better, why not make SearchHippo (or Gigablast) your default start page? Have you? :)
Tell your friends, family, etc - sell them on the idea that something else is better. To make a change, it requires 1) another SE that is high quality - are any of these there yet? and 2) individuals to make the switch, like those Apple commercials.
>>>>>proprietary forum is granted
To your point, Jim - 1) we have regional forums for 'other markets' where we recently discussed a new South Africa search engine :)
2) "other forums" Inktomi - does not have a forum, neither does Altavista. Are they big? Yes. Influential? Definitely.
So, let's not go nuts here - and start saying that anybody that throws up their own copy of htdig should get a forum on WebmasterWorld.
Nutch - good point, I'll have to dig into their project some more. The problem with that project, though is that it's not associated (from what I can tell) with a major university (as is Yuntis - which has a search box & tens of millions of pages) nor is it 'actively crawling & indexing the web & allowing searches on it's database' (that I can tell from their page).
Perhaps, when they launch the demo system with the '100 million plus pages' we'll include them in on these discussions of 'second teir engiens' but for now, they are little more than an idea, in my view, as anybody can make wild claims & configure a web spider - takes a bit more to throw up the search box & let the public have at it.
Cannot say I have made either my start page, but I will confess to my ignorance of SearchHippo and its modus operandi.
I am having a nice poke around there at the moment, and may be moved to start another thread in the future.
The more other Search Engines and their strengths and weaknesses are brought blinking into the light of day, the more it helps us all.
Perhaps the bottom line is that I, like I suspect many of the readers, do not get much traffic from the alternatives, so we tend to put them at the bottom of the list of things to do (the Mañana syndrome). The more they are put before us, the more likely we are to look into them.
So, let's not go nuts here - and start saying that anybody that throws up their own copy of htdig should get a forum on WebmasterWorld.
I am throwing out that we can take the engines that are both Big and Influential and give them their own space to play in. Leave it up to the WebmasterWorld moderators to make that distinction and give the "alternative engines" an appropriate space to play in on this board. So, why does AllTheWeb have a slot and not Inktomi nor Altavista?
> we have regional forums for 'other markets'
Yes, I'd like to hear from their representatives. To the extent allowed by language, I'd like to see them "engage" the WebmasterWorld community.
From the size and popularity angle, we have the top engine and the smaller ones (some not yet recognized), represented here. There is a noticeable gap in the middle.
Whether we webmasters know it or not, I also think they are going to become more important to the long term health of the web as the big spidering engines get consolidated into the hands of only 4 - 5 mega companies. I think we should consider that, and why our support as webmasters now is important.
I think it is the corporate secondaries (ie. WiseNut/LS, AV, etc) that listen less - or our thoughts never make it up to the SE powers that be.