Spam Free Search?

Just for fun. But if things get much worse it might be good for utility as well ;)

Published: February 24, 2010 by Aaron Wall in internet


February 24, 2010 - 2:44pm

I see that is nowhere in search results for "mahalo"

Great job!

February 24, 2010 - 6:04pm

Is that yours? If so, why no credit? Just curious. :)

February 24, 2010 - 7:23pm

As I jokingly tell my wife sometimes...I am the most modest man I have ever met :D

She usually disagrees with that statement though ;)

February 24, 2010 - 6:58pm

Hey Aaron,

A quick question for you. This morning I woke up and discovered that one of my client's sites who's inbound links I've been monitoring was suddenly showing about a 1/3 of the indexed inbound links that they previously had been in the Yahoo Page/Site links tools in my SEO Book browser.

At first I assumed that many of my links had suddenly been removed. But soon i noticed this was true across all the sites that I monitor. Almost all of the are showing somewhere between 1/2 to 1/3 of the links that they previously were.

I haven't seen any significant rankings changes, so I'm assuming that maybe Yahoo is going the way of Google and starting to not so openly disclose all of the links that they index?

Am I imagining all this or have you or anyone else been noticing this phenomenon? Thanks!

February 24, 2010 - 7:23pm

Hi KickStart
I try to answer such questions in our member forums.

February 24, 2010 - 7:44pm

Can't afford the $300/month to join... yet. Maybe soon!

February 24, 2010 - 7:12pm

Not that I took the proposition seriously . . but . . using the standard spam-acid test (search=viagra) I regret to report that this crack won't smoke. ;P

February 24, 2010 - 7:22pm

Was it an acid test or a crack test Webwork? Saw you promoting .org domain names over at WMW world recently and thought "why is he sharing that publicly...he must be smoking something" ... now I know, I just don't know what :D

February 24, 2010 - 7:32pm

Wow - I just realized how much I miss the old Google. The Google without shopping results, blog posts, news excerpts etc... I think I'll be using Spam Free Search

less is more, as usual.

February 24, 2010 - 7:47pm

I am hoping that when Blekko comes out they will take that sorta less is more approach. In viewing the contrast between spamfreesearch and Google you can really see what made people like Google, and where they have since gone (out of their own choice - due to a fear of competition).

February 24, 2010 - 8:06pm

It'd be nice if Blekko took that approach - a quick search makes it seem like they've been wanting to launch for more than a few minutes. Do you know when they will?

It'd be sweet if Google had a Throwback option.

February 24, 2010 - 8:19pm

Google does have a throwback is their custom search engine service which was used on spam free search. It literally takes a minute to set one up...and then you can customize it as you wish.

No idea when Blekko launches...but am excited and if it is as good as I hope then I will likely be a promoter of it when it does :D

February 26, 2010 - 3:57pm

My theory since I started building my video site tuneyfish in 2007 was that text based search will lose in the long run and video will be the only way to gauge the intent.

I watched a few older videos you have on youtube Aaron, one about the older sites and why Google likes them. I think you nailed it when you said that the early adopters are usually ones who don't have a pure profit motive and have passion for what they do.

Passion can be revealed over time in blogs and the behavior in which these users participate and help others, OR it can be revealed almost instantly in a video because you can usually tell if someone is doing something for the good of others or for themselves.

I've believed very strongly in that people, in order to be really successful, must do SO much for others and let their success come to them as it does naturally because of that work.

February 26, 2010 - 10:24pm

I think format bias is just as likely to harm as it is to help. For most people the best solution will be trying a number of things and sticking what works best for them.

But in general my opinion is that the few big problems with videos (as the exclusive or only means of content) are...

  • relevancy is harder to determine than with text documents
  • even if you scan the video it can be hard to line up the relevancy UNLESS you put people directly to the relevant area
  • BUT if you put people at the direct relevant section it might be harder to integrate ads AND you might miss out on important context that was 5 or 10 seconds earlier
  • video is much harder to quickly scan and highlight than a text document. and it is harder to quote too
  • generally ad integration is much tougher than it is with text...see how heavily eHow integrates ads
  • video is much harder to update than text documents are (and this is precisely why most of our training materials are primarily text driven)

If search can move beyond pushing everything being free and some of the web giants get better at training people to pay for media then the video can be an advertisement for a longer version of itself (sorta like how Google Book Search lets you see a portion of the book). But until Google locks that up I don't see any way for video to exclusively trump text.

March 2, 2010 - 7:53am

I agree, video will work for some but not all. Having a content strategy that allows for content to be consumed in multiple formats will become even more significant as people spend less time actually searching and more time consuming content from sources they trust. (combination of text, video, audio, etc will build an audience across multiple devices, ie. mobile)

I think that SE's will slowly lose once a very efficient exchange occurs across social media, especially Twitter - in my opinion Twitter has not reached it's full potential until I can tweet a message I'd normally perform in a search and results would be hyper relevant from people I trust, people I can quickly identify (websites, especially the ehow's and other aggregators are bad at really being a reliable source because it's an anonymous user as opposed to Twitter / Facebook where "usually" its really who they are, and even if theres a doubt to who they are, one could read 10-20 tweets to see if this user is trustworthy.

Back to video, and in response to the excellent points you made:

1. Relevancy - with text Google is determining relevancy on a 3rd grade level, which leads to an incredible waste of time reviewing content but not making any real discovery.

2. Scanning the video - this is indeed one of the problems with video, but could be resolved if video becomes broken into much smaller ideas, ie. tagging sections of the video to add textual metadata.

3. Ads - This is why ads must be implemented at the discretion of the content owner, they have a blog which gets decent traffic and they create video screencasts, they'll know when to insert the offers and which offers will be best.

4. Video - Scan and Quote. I think video needs to be properly organized, just as one would check written content for spelling and grammar, the content should be very consistent and to the point as short as possible. As far as quoting the video, this is where I think the biggest advantage to publishers lies because you can quote a block of text but perhaps if you were to quote a section of a video then every blog that "quotes" that section and embeds the video player at that section will be crediting any overall impressions if ads exist back to the original content owner.

5. Ad integration - eHow (Demand Media) has content that they want to monetize, and they are doing so with ads currently because they are mass producing content for so cheap that the $400M they raised to build their content will amass a fortune as long as companies that sell products think that their content is the only thing out there that can do so. Fortunately, as these manufacturers start to learn that producing great content themselves with that ad spend will yield a much higher return, they'll pull money away from ads because it's throw away money and they'll put it into content generation. There is no way eHow can produce better product videos or how-to content than the company that has years of doing that one specific thing, and it turns out they know more explicitly what their customers or potential customers are searching for than eHow. I can show my automotive clients that by creating content, which answers questions people don't have to resort to search engines to be told answers by people who are unqualified or who've scraped content from random places that seem relevant because it uses similar words and phrases.

6. Video editing - Its a huge time investment to create content, edit it, upload it, etc. Then if that content has no way to adapt, improve, or stay relevant, then it's not worth creating. But, if that content were simply the center piece in which additional "context video" is created around it, then its not having to change the original but accomplishing the benefit of building on a single idea. It comes down to the ability to have a very easy to use and simple sharing system in place. This would need some way of new video content to link to other relevant video content from within the video experience itself. I'm thinking the best way here would be an overlay ad that the video owner indicates the time which the overlay comes up and clicking on that overlay starts a related video on another blog.

I think a lot of this is still out there in terms of being a reasonable expectation of content owners to produce video, but if video can demonstrate a problem and a solution in 30 seconds and save someone 2 hours of trying to manually search text with every combination of keywords imaginable, then there might be signs of incremental payments made for video clips that solve a problem that takes a lot longer to solve through written content.

March 2, 2010 - 9:43am

Great comments kwick6 :D

March 2, 2010 - 2:47pm

Thank you Aaron & Great Blog, Tools, Information here!

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