I met with Steven Marder this morning, CEO of Eurekster. These guys were way ahead of the "social search" curve but confused users and the marketplace with their early positioning. People saw them as a complicated Google/Yahoo! competitor.
They’re really an enterprise search B2B play that offers site search and more contextually relevant Web search. "Contextual" here means relevant to the user population of the site (teens, moms, sports fans, etc.). They do that with clickstream analysis of aggregate user query behavior. Initially Web search is weighted according to specific business rules, but the engine learns what the group thinks is relevant to particular queries. It’s a different relevance paradigm that gets "smarter" over time. But its nature, this is a vertical search engine par excellence.
They get paid on a PPC revenue sharing basis by including Google and/or Yahoo! paid results on search results pages of their publisher partners. And Eurekster has offerings for large publishers and small publishers (e.g., bloggers). The interface of the "buzz cloud" (now a "Web 2.0" standard) is also interesting as a visual search/browse (even advertising) tool.
Marder and I went into their roadmap a bit and there were some interesting possibilities on the advertiser side. He and I talked about local and its complexity, which is on their radar but not in the immediate future.
The "genius" of Eurekster is that it’s passive, meaning the engine serves up progressively more relevant results (than general Web search) on the basis of communal search behavior — without any effort on the part of users.
How does this relate to MyWeb? As Mike points out below, one might infer that MyWeb is growing slowly. One rumor behind the del.icio.us acquisition was that it wasn’t about technology but about the gaining the large user community (and perhaps the talent behind it).
I’m a huge fan of MyWeb and use it daily. I find it incredibly useful, but I’m not a mainstream consumer. I’m motivated to use it. But it takes affirmative effort to save and tag the pages (not that much really, but some).
MyWeb, in addition to being a content repository, offers an alternative, human-edited index to Yahoo! search engine users (who are also MyWeb users). Eurekster does a very similar thing but in a way that is totally "passive" and invisible to the user (although it offers none of the "bookmarking" functionality).
Here are my MyWeb wishes:
- A simpler way to create groups (maybe multiple groups) within MyWeb — there’s an enterprise application waiting to happen here.
- A way to search within categories/tags for content. The more content you save (I have 1,239 items) the more unwieldy the thing becomes; this would help solve that and make it even more useful.
Despite all the "social bookmarking" buzz there's a real question about whether sites like Wink and Kaboodle will catch on with mainstream users and become viable (which begs the question of what "viable" means in this context; maybe big enough to be acquired).
The shared knowledge of the community is clearly a powerful asset to these engines/applications. But they need to be very simple and intuitive in order to generate large-scale adoption among what you might call "non-early adopters."
Here’s more from the Yahoo! Search Blog.