WikiSeek Search Engine: First Impressions
Ian Lurie Jan 16 2007
When I saw that SearchMe launched Wikiseek, their new search engine, I was pretty excited.
But, as with all new things, it’s a mixed bag:
It’s a beautiful, clean interface.
As you start to type in search terms, Wikiseek automatically shows you possible categories:
And it restricts searches to content that’s in wikipedia.
When you start typing a search term, Wikiseek immediately removes your search results from any previous search from the page. You can click to return to a previous search, but for me at least it seems like a jumpy interface.
At least at the time of this writing, when I went to http://wikiseek.com, I got a ‘server not found’ error. Only going to ‘http://www.wikiseek.com’ worked. C’mon, guys, that’s contingency design 101.
The ‘about’ page states that ‘The contents of Wikiseek are restricted to Wikipedia pages and only those sites which are referenced within Wikipedia, making it an authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes.’.
That strikes me as problematic, so I did a few test searches:
A search for ‘wedding dresses’ showed drastically different results compared to Google, Yahoo or MSN. The first three links were directories or link farming/affiliate sites. Then came Davids Bridal. Then links to:
– A site for hand-made Sarees.
– A site about Queen Elizabeth’s ceremonial Robes
– The Skirball Cultural Center
– A hand-me-down site that has some wedding dresses
Sorry guys. If you want to avoid the commercial fray, fine. But your visitors will want relevance. That’s a search engine’s purpose in life.
Then I tried a search for ‘search engines’. Results were:
1. Search Engine Watch. Fair enough.
2. An SEO site called ‘Caliban.com’. How’d that get in there?
3. A web strategy site.
4. A wikipedia article, then a few more random items.
If they’re trying to be authoritative, wouldn’t the top links be to search engines, or at least information about them? Just to be fair, I did a comparison search on Google. The top ten included SearchEngines.com, Search Engine Watch, the Wikipedia article about search engines, a link to Dogpile, Go.com and a few other search engines. Google was #10.
WikiSeek has a very long way to go if they want to compete with the major players. Their intentions are great, but for whatever reason they simply don’t deliver relevant results with the same frequency as their competitors.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More