Google’s official blog announcement of its Custom Search Engine service is headlined “Eureka! Your own search engine has landed!”:
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could easily build a search engine on your blog or Website tailored to the topics and areas you know and love the most?
Is Google late to the custom search party?
The Eurekster (similar to “Eureka!”) swicki search solution has a track record in empowering individual Web publishers to “harness their brand and audience to become vertical search destinations.”
Has Google given a nod to Eurekster, or is its “Eureka!” proclamation a mere coincidence? I asked Eurekster for its reaction.
I met with the Eurekster executive team, Steven Marder, CEO, and Grant Ryan, Chief Scientist, at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in August. They are seasoned industry pros and joined forces several years ago to “increase the value of search for everyone: end-users, community members, web publishers, site owners, advertisers, agencies and marketers,” while aiming to build a solid business.
Marder on Google’s entry into their space:
Google has been listening and watching us drive innovation in this space for years and we are thrilled to learn that they have placed their big stamp of validation on our value proposition.
For years we’ve been developing IP and innovative tools that empower both online publishers to offer specialized search as well as advertisers to more effectively reach their targeted audience. Our unique Swicki Platform takes specialization and collaboration much further as it allows the publisher and advertiser to harness the collective wisdom of specific communities through their implicit behavior dynamically refining the search experience.
We continue to aggressively move the market forward in our lead role as an innovator and will continue to develop and commercially expand our unique approach to social search.
Eurekster has done its own comparative analysis of what it believes are the key differentiators between the Eurekster swickis in the market (publisher guided but also community powered) and Google’s just released Custom Search Engine service:
Relevance – From our tests, a Eurekster swicki compared to an equivalent Google Custom Search Engine (tailored by the owner with the same keywords and recommended and blocked URLs) produces more relevant results. This doesn’t surprise us, as we have been refining our training algorithms for years. Once configured, swickis continue to learn and become more relevant based on the users’ anonymous activity – in addition to users’ explicit contributions. Learning from users who are ‘just searching’ is a central pillar of our technology.
Collaborative search results page – For the small percent of users who want to contribute affect the results, we find that the controls should be easily accessible on the results page and not just from a control panel. We enable swicki owners to easily reorder and focus the results page for specific searches or for the entire search engine. We also identify which results have been promoted or demoted explicitly and implicitly by the moderator and the community, so users know why a particular result is being shown.
Community activity – The swicki BuzzCloud shows what other users within the community are searching for – guided by the publisher, it dynamically encapsulates the swicki community’s vertical, social or geographic personality and context. For the publisher and advertiser, it provides valuable trend data and business intelligence – an invaluable tool for keeping on top of the audience’s concerns and interests to make sure that there are relevant results or even post original content.
Fellow ZDNet blogger Dan Farber met with Marder last month and reports on swicki traction in the marketplace and the Eurekster revenue sharing model:
So far, nearly 23,000 swickis, primarily in English, have been created, Marder said. He expects the number of swickis to exceed 100,000 in the next year, with help of the SwickiADZ program, which allows publishers to generate revenue. "The quality and usage of swickis will increase dramatically to get us to 100 million plus searches per month worldwide," Marder said. "Right now, our network processes approximately 12 million searches per month." In addition, Eurekster works with online publishers such as Forbes and Popular Science to deliver community search.
Eurekster shares ad revenue with swicki publishers, who currently can select up to three advertising programs–CPC and CPA-based text, image and widget-based ads–to appear on results pages. In addition, Eurekster has a preferred placement program for purchasing pay-per-click sponsored listings on swicki results pages.