free html hit counter Eurekster Gets Noticed | John Battelle's Search Blog

Eurekster Gets Noticed

By - January 21, 2004

eurekster-logo.gifI wrote about this a month or so ago, but it’s ready for media prime timeEurekster launched today. There’s got to be a better name for socia-networking-driven search (er..Searchster?). What’s news: Eurekster has a deal for search results from Overture, but as MediaPost notes, So far, only the “natural” search results a user clicks on are added to the list of sites recently visited by the user’s community of friends. “The current version of the product offers no re-ranking of sponsored search results,” notes Steven Marder, Chairman, Eurekster Inc.

I’m going to quote liberally from the Eurekster “about” page for you, then ask a question:

See how eurekster personalizes search results
Type in a search term e.g. your name
Click on a search result that you think is best (this can be on any page of the search results). Stay at that website for at least 1 minutes (or we will assume that it wasn’t useful for you). Repeat this as often as you like.
In 3 minutes do the same search again and you will notice that the results you preferred will be at the top of the list of search results (excluding sponsored search results).
We remember the result you liked so you never have to repeat trawling through a long list of search results again!

How this helps other eurekster users
* After you sign up to eurekster and get your friends using it, when one of them does the same search as you then your preferred result will appear higher up their list of results. So everyone can learn from the search activity of people they know and trust.
* eurekster takes care of sharing the quality results around social networks to allow groups of people to learn from each other, while protecting identity and allowing the option for complete privacy.
* If users try to boost poor or inappropriate results they will not be spread to other users. The only people affected by this will be their direct contacts that they have invited to join their personal network. This social network filtering of search results works just like word of mouth that we count on in everyday life.

My question: is search a strong enough attractor to get folks to create new social networks, outside of those they may have already created with LinkedIn or Friendster? Put another way, isn’t it easier for Friendster or LinkedIn to add search, than for search to add Friendster or LinkedIn?

Now that Eurekster has launched, I guess the answer is: we’ll know soon enough. (Let’s not forget the raging rumor some months ago that Google tried to buy Friendster, but was rebuffed…..)

PS – I am not sure that delimiting a site’s usefulness by forcing someone to hang out there for a minute or more is a good idea (though I do like the idea of tracking the path folks take out of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and rearranging subsequent searches based on that input). Many folks who come to blogs, for example, stay for less than a minute. It takes about 35 seconds to read a blog post. Except this one, of course, which has gone on for too long…..

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5 thoughts on “Eurekster Gets Noticed

  1. dreww says:

    who’d they get to write that crap, 12 year olds?

  2. Ian says:

    Agree with you here [John, not dreww] , i see the success of this site as a ranking algorithm which could layer on top of your search engine of choice. But your point of a LinkedIn or Tribe just plugging in a Eurekster into existing networks makes better sense. One issue I have is that my interests are wide and varied, it would be nice to have a Social Network group manager to keep each group focused and relevant – I’m already seeing that my Eurekster network’s searches are going to be all over the map.

  3. tim says:

    I wonder what the practical threshold is for this type of service to be in any way useful.

    In other words, how big does your socialnet have to be and how long/often do your friends have to use the search (properly, given the 1-minute results page criteria) in order for you to see any search-term overlap, and therefore any effect?

    Seems like both variables need to be pretty high, meaning you will have to use the service blindly for quite some time before you and your socialnet have seeded enough results.

  4. Adam Lasnik says:

    I find the concept to be interesting, but the execution to be not-that-great at the moment… or at least the focus isn’t that exciting to me.

    I think Eurekster would have been smarter to market this to businesses, where searches are (or, workwise at least should be) similarly focused.

    For instance, in a sports-marketing or fitness-oriented firm, search terms containing the words “pumped up” and “sprint” for instance are going to have totally different intended meanings than if they were searched for in other contexts. Eurekster in a business setting is much more likely to be more singularly focused than, say, searches amongst a large group of friends who may share a common interest but have many, many different personalities and interests manifested in their searches.

    Frankly, outside of the realm of curiosity, I DON’T want to have my search results mimick those by my stoner friends or non-geek friends or football-crazy friends and so on. I’m friends with them because we click, not because we share similar views on world issues or have identical hobbies.

    P.S. — John, your comments page suffers from the “IE Peekaboo” bug, making it difficult to view on IE 6.0 for Windows. You’ll want to modify your CSS/XHTML on this template, perhaps grabbing the updated MT default.

  5. Peter Caputa says:

    Here’s a post from my weblog regarding the same issues above….
    http://eureksterblog.blogspot.com/2004_01_21_eureksterblog_archive.html

    Be my Eurekster (but only if you are into the same stuff I am.)

    Now, having a lot of friends will actually have utility in this social network (eurekster). Instead of just an ego boost, like friendster, having a lot of connections will actually make me aware of the more popular searches going on. Having a pulse on my social network’s search terms and web choices can be quite powerful. Imagine: journalists discovering breaking news, researches knowing what their peers are searching for and reading, promoters knowing what their social networks favorite bands are, advertisers knowing whether their customers are interested in their new products.

    To actually get this type of goodness from eurekster, i’ll have to limit my social network to the people that are interested in the same topics as I am.

    Eventually, eurekster should launch tribes that i can join. The reason being is that I am a member of many different networks that are into very different things. Therefore, the larger and more disparate the interests of my network, the more noise I will see.

    Via Mayfield on many to many, I found this entry by Stowe Boyd that talks about this.

    My problem is that my network is heterogeneous: really a collection of independent networks. As more and more of my networks are brought into Eurekster, the group will more and more approximate a random sample of people, and this will cancel out the social network effect. The answer is that I really need to be able to partition the network into discrete subnetworks: what are my social software buddies looking at today? What about my personal friends? What about people in the 20194 area? Until social networks attack this angle, we will be dealing with a very coarse-grained approximation for what is actually going on in social interactions.

    So, to sum up, what I am looking for in my eureksters (ie people in my eurekster network) is the following. I intend to only have people in my eurekster social network that are interested in social software, search engines, online marketing and event promotion. I will also limit my searches on eurekster to these topics. This way, my social network will help me determine the most important stuff going on in my chosen space(s) of interest.

    Hopefully, Eurekster will address this perceived shortcoming at some point.

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