Become Talks On AIR

Announced about a month ago, Become.com is a shopping search engine that its creators claim is vastly superior to its competitors. These guys can put some wood behind that particular arrow, collectively they were responsible for MySimon (now owned by Cnet) and Wisenut (now owned by LookSmart). I spoke…

Become

Announced about a month ago, Become.com is a shopping search engine that its creators claim is vastly superior to its competitors. These guys can put some wood behind that particular arrow, collectively they were responsible for MySimon (now owned by Cnet) and Wisenut (now owned by LookSmart).

I spoke to Michael Yang, Become CEO, and Yeogirl Yun, the CTO. The founders have developed a new ranking technology – they call it the “Affiinity Ranking Index,” or AIR – which applies a unique combination of math and human editing. Before it does any math, Become puts people in the process of determining relevance for particular shopping-related search topics. A team of editors contextualize pages based on how they relate to each other, then those pages are crawled, and Become’s AIR algorithm is applied.

I can’t really grok how AIR works, but this is from a draft release on AIR: “AIR identifies exceptional web pages by understanding the level of interconnection between valuable sites from within specific fields of interest. AIR evaluates a web page based on what other “knowledgeable” sites in that specific field say about the page, and also evaluates the page based on what the page says about other “knowledgeable” sites in the specific field.”

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Kraus Posts

Yippee, Joe Kraus has posted on the long tail Web 2.0 meme! And wouldn't you know it, the framing is all about search. Referring to Excite's search stats, he notes: In fact, the frequency of the average query was 1.2. That means if you wrote each of the millions…

With Percentages 1

Yippee, Joe Kraus has posted on the long tail Web 2.0 meme! And wouldn’t you know it, the framing is all about search.

Referring to Excite’s search stats, he notes:



In fact, the frequency of the average query was 1.2. That means if you wrote each of the millions of queries on a slip of paper, put them all in a fish bowl and grabbed one at random, there was a high likelihood that this query was asked only once during the day. Of ten-plus million queries a day, the average search was nearly unique.

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More on Yahoo’s AdSense Competitor

From this Cnet story: Now Yahoo plans to launch its own advertising option for small publishers, a source familiar with the plan said. Like Google's service, Yahoo's self-serve product will display text ads deemed relevant to the content of specific Web pages. Advertisers pay only when a reader clicks…

From this Cnet story:

Now Yahoo plans to launch its own advertising option for small publishers, a source familiar with the plan said. Like Google’s service, Yahoo’s self-serve product will display text ads deemed relevant to the content of specific Web pages. Advertisers pay only when a reader clicks on their ad. Yahoo and publishers will split the fees.

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Grokking Transparansee

A couple of weeks ago I got to talk with Steve Levine, the founder of Transparansee, a neat technology that lives on top of structured search. The model is to sell it to other sites as a custom install. Think of it as a smart layer of search on…

Transp

A couple of weeks ago I got to talk with Steve Levine, the founder of Transparansee, a neat technology that lives on top of structured search. The model is to sell it to other sites as a custom install. Think of it as a smart layer of search on top of database-driven applications like dating, home or car buying, or, in the example Steve took me through, Fodor’s.

Transparansee’s “Discovery Search Engine” seeks to address the “stupid computer” problems which plague most structured databases. You most likely have experienced some variant of this: you put in a set of parameters meant to find just what you are looking for – for example, on Fodor’s, you want French bistros in Chelsea priced at $35 with a food rating of 20 or above – and you get no results, or only one or two. You have a sneaking suspicion that the results are missing an entire set of possibilities which are “close enough” to what you want, but you’ve been limited by the parameters you chose – if you open it up too much, you get a bunch of stuff you don’t want. What to do?

Transparensee uses “fuzzy search” algorithms to scour a database and offer on the fly weighting based on any parameter you choose. Presto, what you want to see is at hand. It’s hard to describe, but an “aha” when you see it in action. For example, there may be the perfect French bistro for you, but because it’s one block away in another section of town, it does not get found. With Transparansee, you’d see it at the top of the list, because it matches on so many of the other weights.

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Ad Tags

I have a riff brewing – but it ain't quite fermented – about ads and tagging. Some of this has been spurred on by conversations with folks like Andy at Waxy. There's something there, and recent developments, like comments on ads, is starting to point that way. Adding to…

I have a riff brewing – but it ain’t quite fermented – about ads and tagging. Some of this has been spurred on by conversations with folks like Andy at Waxy. There’s something there, and recent developments, like comments on ads, is starting to point that way. Adding to the meme, Jeff Jarvis, who has been my posting partner on the whole PDA/Sell Side advertising concept, is already riffing on ads and tags. This is a brewing area, more to come…

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NYT On Search

Today's Times has a longish piece on search titled "Search Engines Build a Better Mousetrap." The article reviews alternatives to Google. I am quoted in it, but the reporter misheard one key detail: I said "millions" not "billions" in the quote below… John Battelle, who maintains a Web log…

Today’s Times has a longish piece on search titled “Search Engines Build a Better Mousetrap.” The article reviews alternatives to Google.

I am quoted in it, but the reporter misheard one key detail: I said “millions” not “billions” in the quote below…

John Battelle, who maintains a Web log about search technology (Searchblog, at battellemedia.com), said innovations like “Block View” showed how dynamically the search companies were taking advantage of new technologies – and new economies.

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As Someone Who’s Been There…

When success hits you, then things go wrong, the first instinct is to protect. But the right thing to do is be transparent. Seems momentum is building in the b'sphere for Google to do the same. Along those lines, I did finally get a response on the issue of…

When success hits you, then things go wrong, the first instinct is to protect. But the right thing to do is be transparent. Seems momentum is building in the b’sphere for Google to do the same.

Along those lines, I did finally get a response on the issue of the “keyword hint” feature that had apparently been beefed up for publishers like Boing Boing (see the post here). Here is Google’s “official response” to my query, which was essentially this: is this a new feature, previously unannounced, or are you selling something that doesn’t exist? Why is a Google rep cold calling me with this feature, and promising it to me as something to draw me into using AdSense?

The response:

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