Eurekster have quietly rolled out some interesting improvements on their swicki system. Swickis are search engines created by individuals and used by groups which learn from their users and deliver more focused and targeted results. There are currently over 40,000 swickis in operation on websites and weblogs, with over 13,000 unique publishers, delivering 21,000,000 searches in November, according to Steven Marder (Eurekster CEO), who I spoke to earlier this week.
The improvements to the service allow much greater input from each swicki user community, to let publishers leverage the knowledge of each community in order to better understand their traffic and drive more searches per swicki. The new features improve relevancy by allowing users to add content to the searches than they have been able to up until now. For example, once a search has been run a user can add information to the search result – perhaps pointing to other sites, making comments about the results and so on by clicking on the ‘write your own result’ button. Users can also ask the community for help by posting a question that the rest of the community can try and answer by using the ‘Ask the community for help’ option. Finally, individual results can be vote for or against. Unsurprisingly the publisher or moderator has complete control over these functions, so the danger of spamming results is kept to an absolute minimum, and people who have not registered can view the results, but can do no more than that.
The improvements are being rolled out now, and you can see examples of them by taking a look at Eurekster’s own swicki, or mine for example; try a search for search engine land and as well as results you’ll see a comment from me.
I think it’s an interesting move towards integrating search into individual communities and is building on already popular concepts such as Q&A resources and user voting. Obviously it’s not something that everyone is going to want to get involved with, although everyone will have some opportunity for getting involved, but without it becoming onerous. Future developments will I’m sure have fine tuning, related searches, lists of questions and so on. There are of course other options available, and I wrote about some of them back in September so I’m looking forward to seeing how they will respond to the challenges set by Eurekster.
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