ReelSEO is, first and foremost, about video. Video marketing, video production, and of course, video SEO. So search engine news is something we tend to pay attention to. There's a new search engine in town, and it claims to have the one thing that Google's search engine does not: human editors.
Here we go again.
Anyone remember when Mahalo launched to the beat of the same drum? The pitch is that there's so much spam on the web, we need humans to help weed out the spammy results so that users only get the best of the best. It didn't take very long before Malaho became just another content farm—the very kind of spammy results that they originally claimed to fight. And why do you think that is? Well, because there's more money in it, I'm sure.
So now we have Blekko—I would, at this point, pay good money if companies would go back to naming themselves after real words instead of this gibberish—and Blekko says they'll fight spam by having human beings weed out the spammy sites in their index. So when users perform a search, only pre-screened results will be returned. And the human beings filtering out search results will primarily be, from the sound of it, the users themselves. Blekko's goal is to identify the top 50 authoritative websites for each of the top 100,000 search queries.
If you've spent any time in the search field, you've heard this song before, or at least some variation of it. And it almost always ends in a whimper. Somehow Blekko has managed to raise $24 Million, which is staggering.
The problem, as I see it, is how you go about defining what sites are spam and what sites are legit. Because spamminess is kind of a subjective thing. Is Mahalo spam? Some people think so. Some don't. How about About.com? Because I hear a lot of people—even the Yahoo News article I linked above—talk about "sites designed to pop up in Google's search results but whose content is heavier on marketing pitches than substantive information.” And both of those sites—along with nearly every site I've ever seen—are designed to show up in Google's search results.
So who defines "substantive information?” The humans at Blekko and their human users. And there's no way they could ever be biased, right? When you rely on a human being to edit the search index, you almost instantly allow for politics and bias. At least with Google, the rules are the same for everyone—the algorithm is the same for everyone.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about: A search on Blekko for "video" returns the following domains: IMDB.com, CNN.com/video, video/Yahoo.com, Ustream.tv, video.AOL.com, Break.com, Metacafe.com, CollegeHumor.com… anyone spot the one glaring omission that—if a search engine is honest—should show up for a query like "video?” Yeah… it's YouTube.com, owned by Google, Blekko's competitior. I went through five pages of results (at 20 results per page) and still haven't found YouTube. Are they really suggesting that users are saying YouTube.com isn't a top destination for users searching for "video?” (It's worth pointing out that I also didn't see Brightcove.com, Vimeo.com, or DailyMotion.com in the results either).
Bias anyone? It's the first day of huge press for Blekko, and they're already returning results that have censored out their competitor's property. Either that or the results are just bad. Not a great sign either way, in my opinion.
Google's official response?
"We welcome competition that helps deliver useful information to users and expands user choice."
In other words, "We're not sweating this one at all.”
Look, any new upstart search engine faces tall odds in taking on Google, no matter how their results are maintained. Every few months another David appears to try and take on Goliath, but so far every battle has ended the same way—Goliath wins. While there certainly may come a day when Google is no longer the search king, that day is pretty far away. Even if Blekko finds success, it will come slowly. No reason to abandon your video SEO efforts at this point.
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