The founders of the newly-released search site Blekko.com have a problem with the way most search engines work. "When you look at the results in Google and Bing, the results are slipping. They are manipulated. Many of the categories are totally spammed out," Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta said. By "spammed out," he means that articles from low-quality content farms like Demand Media often appear in Google's search results. Blekko is designed to change that, providing results from high quality sources. The site uses "slashtags," which filter the results of a search, and ideally give the user only quality results. Users can also search by bias (for example, the slashtag "/liberal" provides articles from only left-wing sites).
Of course, the search engine market is a competitive space and many others have tried and failed. Can Blekko succeed? Here's what tech bloggers are saying about the site:
Here's How the Site Works, demonstrates Michael Arrington at TechCrunch:
Blekko's Main Feature Is the 'Slashtag,' explains Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land:
Blekko’s “slashtags” are a unique feature that may draw you in on occasions when you want to see how search results look when they’re skewed to a particular viewpoint... Want your search results with a liberal slant? You can do that at Blekko, or slash your results the opposite way for a conservative view...
This is all done using slashtags, special keywords that you place after what your searching for, in order to indicate the viewpoint you want used to spin your results. Blekko maintains over 250 slashtags (the full list, for those in the beta, is here), including viewpoints such as:
It's the Wikipedia of Search Engines, writes Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable:
Blekko’s slashtag formula works because of passionate users who take the time to add and edit URLs for category slashtags. As such, the company has released new features to enable users to apply to be editors for slashtags as well as share their comments and feedback on individual slashtags. Think of this as the Wikipedia formula but applied to search, so a small percentage of users will work together to build out slashtags for the majority of Blekko searchers.
It Does Have Some Drawbacks, adds Danny Sullivan:
Beyond slashtag searches, Blekko can have relevancy issues with its “regular” results. For example, a search for california without any slashtags applied is dominated by links to various California-based universities. In contrast, the same search at Google is much more balanced in terms of listing sites that cover California as a whole.
Blekko Creates a Highly Specialized Search, writes Laura Khalil at Yahoo News:
Blekko is... automatically applying slashtags to improve results in seven initial search categories: health, colleges, autos, personal finance, lyrics, recipes and hotels. For example, searching “cure for headaches” on Blekko will provide results only from the top quality sites in the health category.
For searches that don’t fall within one of Blekko’s pre-defined categories, Blekko uses its proprietary ranking algorithms to deliver relevant results from its 3 billion page web crawl. As users create and refine more slashtags, Blekko plans to expand “auto-slashing” to improve results in more categories.
Here's How Blekko Can Succeed, writes Ryan Singel at Wired:
Blekko Has a Real Chance at Success, writes Rafe Needleman at CNET: