• http://linkmunki.blogspot.com LinkMunki

    Yes, I know, I’m champing at the bit for a new toy to play with, rrrrrrrrrrrr, let’s go blekko

  • http://2helixtech.com matthiaswh

    I couldn’t agree more with the timing being perfect for Blekko. The average Internet user has become more technical over time. People are figuring out how to use tags on Twitter, something that the average person 10 years ago would have scoffed at. Slash tags won’t be much more difficult.

    I also like their view of themselves. They’re not setting out to take on Google. They have opinions on how search should function, it’s contrary to how the major search engines currently operate, so they’re making their own. Even if they barely put a dent in Google, they’ll be successful because that isn’t their ultimate goal. Other past failures set out to be Google killers (much like the many failed phones that were meant only to take on the IPhone). The only real success in that regard has been Bing, because Microsoft poured so much money into it and already had a firm foundation.

    The time is perfect for them, they’ll be successful in their objective without a billion dollar investment, but I don’t think Google is shaking at the knees yet.

  • http://searchengineland.com Chris Sherman

    Skrenta and crew always have great timing – and I’m sure Blekko is going to be as successful as dmoz and Topix were.

    I’d like to clarify one point, though – I was an About.com guide for several years. As you noted, part of our job as guides was to create topic specific directories, but we were also required to create original content at least once a week (often 2-3 times weekly or more). This was true even during the MiningCo days. We also moderated our own topic-specific forums. The difference between About and today’s content farms, imho, is that the vetting process to become an About guide was intense – as I recall an 8-10 week process with progressively more challenging tasks to demonstrate subject matter expertise, typically competing with others for a single guide opening. I don’t think the content farms exercise this degree of vigor when selecting writers (though not sure if About does any more, either).

  • http://screenwerk.com Greg Sterling

    Thanks Chris for the clarification. Wasn’t aware (obviously) regarding that part of the job. In almost every way then About.com was the progenitor of these companies, though now w/o the vetting process you describe.

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Chris and Greg-

    Google content farms??? No wonder most websites stink. I have to fix these “Google content farm” sites on a daily basis, practically.

    Topic-specific directories is normally a job that I would not trust an SEO or a copywriter to do (Chris, you are one of those rare exceptions) because users/searchers do not always group content by topics or by keywords, ESPECIALLY by keywords. You might be very surprised at how users/searchers group, categorize, and prioritize content.

    Personally, I think Yahoo made a mistake in that purchase. It just gives competitors the opportunity to outperform Yahoo…because “content farms” are incredibly annoying. I usability test these sorts of sites all of the time. They all score poorly on task completion and user satisfaction in the desire to increase page view per visitor and time spent on site. I’ve seen search results pages manipulated to increase page views…and the result? Lost income, higher abandonment, negative brand impact…but oh yeah! Some higher search engine traffic.

    I think it’s sad that search companies just can’t past the rankings “thing.”

  • http://KJ KJ

    Blekko does look interesting and I hope they do well in their niche. I think the content farms will only be an issue if Google let them and I can’t see them letting anything interfere with the user experience.

  • Ruth_OL

    I may have misunderstood the concept, but what’s to stop a spammer creating a slashtag and linking to dozens of junk sites? When searching do I *have* to specify trusted slashtags/individuals, or will it default to searching everything added, in which case won’t this stuff come up?