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blekko Explains Itself: Exclusive Video (Update: Exclusive Invite)

By - August 31, 2010

blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

Blekko is a new search engine that fundamentally changes a few key assumptions about how search works. It’s not for lazywebbers – you have to pretty much be a motivated search geek to really leverage blekko’s power. But then again, there are literally hundreds of thousands of such folks – the entire SEO/SEM industry, for example. I’ve been watching blekko, and the team behind it, since before launch. They are search veterans, not to be trifled with, and they are exposing data that Google would never dream of doing (yes, they do pretty much a full crawl of the web that matters). In a way, blekko has opened up the kimono of search data, and I expect the service, once it leaves private beta, will become a favorite of power searchers (and developers) everywhere.

The cool thing is, using blekko’s data and (I hope) robust APIs, one can imagine all sorts of new services popping up. I for one wish blekko well. It’s about time.

And in case you are wondering what the big deal is, besides all the data you can mine, to my mind, it’s the ability to cull the web – to “slash” the stuff you don’t care about out of your search results. Now, not many of us actually will do that. But will services take that and run? I certainly hope so.

For a quick overview of blekko’s core feature – “slashtags” – check out the new video, above. And to bone up on the various merits of the service, here are a few key links:

Blekko: A Search Engine Which Is Also A Killer SEO Tool (SEL)

TechCrunch Review: The Blekko Search Engine Prepares To Launch (TC)

A new search engine Blekko search: first impressions (Economist)

Blekko’s Tools Give Search Marketers Google Alternative (MediaPost)


Update: First 500 readers get a beta invite! Email battelle@blekko.com to get in on it!

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13 thoughts on “blekko Explains Itself: Exclusive Video (Update: Exclusive Invite)

  1. blair says:

    ive been using blekko for the past few weeks and its now my default search engine. love slashtags and the seo data kills.

  2. I also did an independent review of Blekko here: http://www.skepticgeek.com/miscellaneous/can-blekko-be-a-disruptor-in-search/

    Would love to hear more from you on Blekko.

  3. Stephen says:

    I can’t believe these features haven’t surfaced until now. OK, this is an old reference. Remember Harrison Ford in the “Fugitive” when he used a computer database in a Hospital to search for people with a prosthesis leg? And then he used all sorts of data subsets to narrow down the search to a usable data base. I mean that was a key ingredient to computer search, and one of the primary utilities of the computer, to be able to keep adding filters so that your search becomes more refined, useful, and manageable. And though it was a movie, it was 1994!

    Filtered Search is definitely the new ‘meme’ innovation or whatever you want to call it, moving forward.

    FriendFeed developed and has these for social real time, but they were too geeky and only Scoble and Louis Gray know how to use them. Nick Halstead of Tweetmeme is developing something much similar and from the way he talks even more powerful for Twitter search.

    Exciting times, just seems like such features would have been here from the gitgo. I guess Google will have something to add to its shopping list.

  4. Blair Lewis says:

    Stephen: Maybe I’m wrong, but simply cutting results down to what everyone’s actually looking for is exactly they’re looking for… Google’s had plenty of time to do it, time to have more than one engine to use is what I say…credit to blekko for actually doing it

  5. Seo Guru says:

    It seems it is great for search people who do not want to be bombarded with those marketing sites on its results. I had tried to look at the service but is still waiting for the invite from its developers. Hope they will make it free for all.

  6. Danny says:

    This is an excellent review.I would love to read more about this topic.I’ve been burned by a few SEO companies in the past so when I need to look for a new one, I’m always a little skeptical about things. I’m not giving up though. I know that I need the best seo company I can get on with to really make my website a big hit. I had a friend of mine reccomend http://www.bergstrom-seo.com. Have you ever worked with them before? Or looked into them? I’m really interested in what your opinion of their work is. Like I said, I’m not giving up on finding the best seo company for me and my needs. I really just want the opinions of some experts out there and if you have any other suggestions I’d like to hear those as well.

  7. Hannahness says:

    Do they just scrape amazon for /shop results? I searched for /shop across a variety of verticals (how’s that for alliteration) and got all amazon results…

  8. thomas taylor says:

    I am always in search of an engine that goes deeper than just scratching the surface, i.e. better sorting capabilities. /very cool. Thanks.

  9. Chris says:

    Beta sounds interesting! I’m always interested in ways to reduce the amount of non relevant websites when using a search engine such as Google.

  10. TS says:

    Some first impressions on blekko: Not convinced they offer much that is really new. But I may be wrong, and they certainly know search.

    They try to walk a fine line on SEO and spam that may not exist. They say they hate spam, but they also advertise their usefulness for SEO. (I am not saying SEO=spam, just that such SEO tools are also useful for spammers.)

    Their slashtags at first glance seem similar to restricting a search by topic or result cluster. That has been tried by various companies, and has not really taken off. Though it always sounds good at first.

    The really interesting part is the ability for people to introduce and then PUBLISH their own slashtags. This relates to one of the major challenges in search, how to allow large numbers of people outside a search engine company (other search technology companies and experts, or domain experts without expertise in search technology) to make search better for others, by contributing small ideas and bits of knowledge.

    But this is a really hard problem. It is hard to come up with the right way to open up an engine and expose its innards, and also hard to find the right way to create and motivate an ecosystem of contributors. Not convinced they have anything special to offer on the first aspect — a naive opening up of a search engine can create some buzz at first but if not done right contributions will soon fizzle out. But whoever solves this problem may start something big.

  11. TS says:

    Just adding that Mahendra’s review on blekko that he links to in his above comment is really worth reading. (http://www.skepticgeek.com/miscellaneous/can-blekko-be-a-disruptor-in-search/)

    He also has a good discussion of curated search and its limitations. I would argue the real challenge is how to fill the gap between simple curated search and the algorithmic engines. So, how can users contribute in an intuitive and powerful way (including but going beyond directly editing individual query results or slashtags), while also not discarding the algorithm and machine learning tools of the engines. One gives you insight, the other coverage.

  12. AlanH says:

    1. Search + social – where have we heard that before?

    2. It really only seems an RSS reader with search and sharing ability via “command line” type feel. Great for us nerds, but complicated for the average user.

    3. qrobe.it, when it is working, also has slash tags and getting more – blekko did not set this trend. However, you don’t have to sign in for qrobe.it

  13. Blekko is definitely a cool new search engine. The slash tag feature is unique and gives it an edge that people will be interested in. However, I do not think it will ever reach the popularity of Google due to it’s complicated nature. I think Google’s greatest strengths is it’s simplicity; it’s so easy anyone can use it to it’s full potential. Blekko is not like that.

    Coming from someone who doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands, having to learn how to use a search engine does not appeal to me when I have Google available. Of course I took the time to learn about Blekko, but I’m in the industry. I don’t think the average person will want to do that.

    I’ve done some research and I think the best new search engine is Bweezy. Similar name, but very different from Blekko. Bweezy offers Google results, which I love. It also lets you open search results in the same window as the search, which eliminates the need to open a ton of tabs! I’d check it out if you’re into new search engines.

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