Folks who have a blog blessed with lots of link love enjoy the ego boost that comes with entering their own name into Google – in most cases, the result will be that person’s blog at the top of the list. Scoble noticed my post about Ask and did the last name test, and found that Ask failed it, at least for Scoble (mainly because it listed his old blog first, rather than his new one). He also found that MSN did a better job than Google. But this only proves one thing – that it fails it for one person – Scoble. It doesn’t fail for my name, or probably a lot of others. Every name is going to be different. But I think the last name test is flawed – Ask’s ranking is not leveraged as heavily over pure link love. It uses an authority model, along with click pattern technology, to identify the most relevant results. Turns out, for my name, there is arguably a more relevant result – a well known research and development company bearing the same name. It may not be more relevant for *me* – but web search, at present, is still a brute force application. The question is not whether it’s relevant for me alone (though it should be…), the question, at present, is whether it’s most relevant for the *most* people. Thanks to how Ask works, what I’ve learned is that for the query “Battelle,” more people find the institute relevant than my blog. And somehow, that feels just about right.
Update: a minor skirmish is forming.Anonymous combatants are circling this post from all side, I fear for my inbox. Note how Ask manages to find (or not!) a product like Google Finance! Yahoo does a better job! But wait, Ask’s not so great, sez Marissa. Hold on, the feature she bashes gets a lot of usage, an anonymouse Jeeves insider tells me.
I say we put all these folks in a room at Web 2 and have a smackdown. Who’s in?