Yoople is a collaborative search engine that I discovered over the weekend. Very simple idea – run your search and Yoople grabs results from Yahoo and displays the first 10 for you on the screen. You can then click and drag a result and place it in a different position in the top 10 if you think the result should be higher or lower than Yahoo has placed it.
It’s a nice idea in theory, but when it comes down to the practicalities I’m less convinced. It would be lovely if we all lived in a world where everyone does things to benefit each other, but I suspect that in the majority of cases most people who move results around will be doing so in order to leverage their own site higher up the rankings. It’s an anonymous resource, so you have no idea who has moved something up or down, just that it has been (in fairness Yoople does tell you that a page has been moved X number of times).
They may be trying to overcome this problem by limiting the amount that you can move a page – I tried moving a page up one ‘slot’ and that worked fine when I went back later to check, but moving a page up 9 slots from 10th to 1st place in the rankings didn’t seem to work, even though it said the page had been moved. A limitation like that would certainly make sense and would (albeit slightly) overcome my cynical criticism. Another disadvantage is that users are currently limited to just seeing 10 results for a search, which isn’t helpful.
Yoople is a nice idea in theory, of limited use in a practical sense, and interesting to view as a possible (but unlikely) way of getting more accurate rankings.
Postscript From Danny: I agree with Phil that this type of service can be open to spamming. However, one interesting barrier is that you have to be in the top results already in order to drag and drop yourself higher.
For example, in a search on “search engines,” Search Engine Land doesn’t appear in the top results at Yahoo (we’re working on it!). Those results power Yoople, so there’s no listing for me to drag and drop higher, if I wanted. A site trying to manipulate Yoople at least needs to have earned some basic rankings.
If you’re buried in Yahoo results, it’s even harder. Yoople provides no way to see 100 results at a time. You have to keep adding more by clicking on the little > symbol at the bottom of the page.
Also note that if you drag and drop a site, each drop counts as one action. For example, I tested moving a site up to the top of the list but kept dropping it in the wrong place accidentally. When I was done, it registered as having been moved as three times even through really, it was only me moving it once. Perhaps rather than number of movements being shown it should be number of people who have moved it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.