Blekko: Another Human-Edited Search Engine Hopes To Take On Google By Stopping Spam

Blekko: Another Human Edited Search Engine Hopes To Take On Google By Stopping Spam

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.

Posted in Video Search
About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    Of course - I dont see any option to search for videos...???

    • http://sharemyplaylists.com/members/joost34 Joost

      Use the /video slashtag.

      • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

        ahhh - good point....

      • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

        Good point... I see now - http://blekko.com/ws/reelseo+/video works.. Thanks Joost.

        • http://vidiseo.com vidiSEO

          Also, don't forget to try "video seo /people". Looks like you've got the top spot.

  • Justin

    So Blekko will apply this human editing strategy to the top 100,000 searches. Isn't a major flaw in this strategy the fact that a high percentage of searches every day are unique? (I think about 1 in 5)

  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    At the end of your article you say: "No reason to abandon your video SEO efforts at this point." Even if Blekko worked, wouldn't you still want/need to continue VSEO work to rank well on it? Perhaps you meant "No reason to abandon your GOOGLE video SEO efforts at this point."

    • Jeremy Scott

      Yes. I worded that horribly. You're correct. I meant basically that Blekko isn't anything close to an SEO game-changer, so no real strategy changes are in order.

  • Christophor Rick

    Man Jeremy you're so out of touch... don't you know that "blekko" is what you say when you taste SPAM fresh from the can?! :D hehe alright, I made that up, but they might want to use that as their tagline heh. "We take the Blekko out of search results"

    bleckko - interjection
    Definition of BLEKKO
    —used to express rejection or disgust when tasting freshly uncanned SPAM

    :D

  • Peterbooker33

    Blekko is fresh and new, and slashtagging is a great idea. But is Blekko the new Google? No way! It’s too complicated and I don’t think it’s going to become very popular. Bweezy, on the otherhand, is a force to consider. This new search engine offers Google results, but with some really cool features! I’ve been using it this week and I’m really impressed. If you’re into new search engines and technology, I suggest you check it out.

  • http://Inovision.ca/ Louis-Philippe Bellier

    And another serach engine comes to life!!!
    we're now at about what...3542?

    This will die in 4years tops. You need better marketing, a easier name, less letters than google and les complicated so users can remember it. Like bing (which sucks and is now dead..lol).

    Always fun to SEO for another search engine coming to life out there. If you "seo"guys really want to do something else for your SERPs, translate your videos, multiply the sources.

    Content is king, SEO is queen!

    Great post Jeremy!

    Louis-Philippe Bellier
    Consultant www / SEO
    Ergonomics & E-Commerce
    InoVision Int.