blekko

Blekko, trademarked as blekko (lowercase),[2] was a company that provided a web search engine with the stated goal of providing better search results than those offered by Google Search, with results gathered from a set of 3 billion trusted webpages and excluding such sites as content farms. The company's site, launched to the public on November 1, 2010, used slashtags to provide results for common searches. Blekko also offered a downloadable search bar. It was acquired by IBM in March 2015, and the service was discontinued.

blekko.com
blekko
Blekko Screenshot
Blekko home page
Type of site
Search engine
Available inEnglish
OwnerIBM (International Business Machines)
Websitewww.blekko.com
Alexa rankNegative increase 2,247 (February 2015)[1]
LaunchedNovember 1, 2010
Current statusDefunct (March 27, 2015)

Development

The company was co-founded in 2007 by Rich Skrenta, who had created Newhoo, which was acquired by Netscape and renamed as the Open Directory Project.[3] Skrenta "is still remembered most for unleashing the Elk Cloner virus on the world".[4] Blekko raised $24 million in venture capital from such individuals as Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway, as well as from U.S. Venture Partners and CMEA Capital.[5] The company's goal was to be able to provide useful search results without the extraneous links often provided by Google. Individuals who enter searches for such frequently searched categories as cars, finance, health and hotels received results prescreened by Blekko editors who used what the New York Times described as "Wikipedia-style policing" to weed out pages created by content farms and focus on results from professionals.[6] Use of slashtags restricted the set of search results to those matching the specified characteristic and a slashtag was to be automatically added for search categories with prescreened results.[7] This use of slashtag is also implemented in the access of videos and images because Blekko did not have the option to search specific databases for these contents.[8]

Queries related to personal health were limited to a prescreened list of sites that Blekko editors had determined to be trustworthy, excluding many sites that rank highly in Google searches.[3] As of Blekko's launch date, its 8,000 beta editors had developed 3,000 slashtags corresponding to the site's most frequent searches.[7] The company hoped to use editors to develop prepared lists of the 50 sites that best match its 100,000 most frequent search targets.[3] Additional tools allowed users to see the IP address that a website is running on and let registered users label a site as spam.[9]

Blekko also differentiated itself by offering richer data than its competitors. For instance, if a user accessed a domain name with the added /seo, he will be directed to a page containing the statistics of the URL.[10] This is the reason experts cited Blekko's fitness with the Big Data paradigm since it gathers multiple data sets and presents them visually so that the user is provided with quick, meaningful, and actionable information.[11]

At the time, Blekko announced plans to earn revenue by selling ads based on slashtags and search results. The company also planned to provide data on its algorithm for ranking search results, including details for inbound links to specific sites.[6]

As part of a permanent post in Blekko's help section was the following "Web search bill of rights":[12]

  1. Search shall be open
  2. Search results shall involve people
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
  4. Web data shall be readily available
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
  8. Search and community go hand-in-hand
  9. Spam does not belong in search results
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

One writer referred to the bill of rights as "what we assume is a poke at Google".[13][14]

In 2011 Blekko announced blocking "content farmy sites", to reduce spam, in line with its bill of rights.[15]

In May 2012 Mozilla announced an "instant search" browser plugin for Firefox designed to cache repetitive search requests, in partnership with Blekko.[16]

In August 2012 Blekko put all its SEO statistics behind a paywall,[17] despite previously declaring that "ranking data shall not be kept secret"[14] in its bill of rights.[17]

Acquisition and closure

IBM bought Blekko and closed the search service on 27 March 2015, redirecting searches to a page announcing "The blekko technology and team have joined IBM Watson!" and linking to a blog post announcing that the blekko service was closed, with blekko's web-crawling abilities to be integrated into IBM Watson, adding advanced Web-crawling, categorization and intelligent filtering technology.[18]

Slashtags

Blekko used an initiative called slashtags,[2] consisting of a text tag preceded by a "/" slash character, to allow ease of searching and categorise searches. System and pre-defined slashtags allowed users to start searching right away. Users could create slashtags after signup, to perform custom-sorted searches and to reduce spam.[6]

Features

The following features were available to all users:

Toolbar

Blekko offered a downloadable browser toolbar or search bar which changes default search and home page URLs of the user's web browsers.[19]

Reception

In 2010, John Dvorak described the site as adding "so much weird dimensionality" to search, and recommended it as "the best out-of-the-chute new engine I've seen in the last 10 years".[9] In Matthew Rogers' review of the site, he found it "slow and cumbersome", and stated that he did not understand the necessity or utility for slashtags.[20] In his PCMag.com review, Jeffrey L. Wilson expressed approval of some search results, but criticized the site's social features which "bog down the search experience."[21]

References

  1. ^ "Blekko.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "About". blekko.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Efrati, Amir. "Start-Up Aims at Google: Blekko.com Taps Users to Narrow Results, Avoid Spam Sites", Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.
  4. ^ "Prank starts 25 years of computer security woes". CTV.ca. Associated Press. August 31, 2007.
  5. ^ Wollman, Dana (November 2, 2010). "Blekko launches human-driven search engine". News & Record. Associated Press. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Miller, Claire Cain. "A New Search Engine, Where Less Is More". New York Times, October 31, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Van Grove, Jennifer. "Alternative search engine Blekko launches", CNN, November 1, 2010. Accessed November 1, 2010.
  8. ^ Bradley, Phil (2013). Expert Internet Searching. London: Facet Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 9781856046053.
  9. ^ a b Dvorak, John C. "Blekko: The Newest Search Engine", PC Magazine, November 1, 2010. Accessed November 1, 2010.
  10. ^ Warden, Pete (2011). Data Source Handbook: A Guide to Public Data. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 2. ISBN 9781449303143.
  11. ^ Ohlhorst, Frank (2012). Big Data Analytics: Turning Big Data Into Big Money. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. p. 14. ISBN 9781118147597.
  12. ^ "What is Blekko" Archived November 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. help.blekko.com. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  13. ^ Hales, Paul (November 1, 2010). "New Search Engine Takes a Shot at Google". Thinq.
  14. ^ a b Jeffries, Adrianne (February 1, 2011). "Upstart Search Engine Blekko Blocks Demand Media and Other "Content Farms"". New York Observer.
  15. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (January 31, 2011). "Blekko Bans Content Farms Like Demand Media's eHow From Its Search Results". TechCrunch.
  16. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth (May 22, 2012). "Firefox flirts with Blekko for 'instant' search". CNET.com.
  17. ^ a b c Keays, Roger (August 14, 2012). "Blekko Paywall Their /SEO Secrets". SunburntSEO.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  18. ^ "Data, Data, Everywhere Data. Now a Better Way to Understand It". IBM. March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  19. ^ Watson, Cheralyn (January 12, 2012). "How do I remove blekko as my homepage and default search engine in Internet Explorer (IE)?". help.blekko.com. Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  20. ^ Rogers, Matthew (November 1, 2010). "Blekko, the "Slashtag" search engine is slow, cumbersome, and just plain broken". DownloadSquad.switched.com.
  21. ^ Wilson, Jeffrey L. (November 3, 2010). "Blekko". PCMag.com.

External links

Baseline Ventures

Baseline Ventures is a venture capital investment firm that focuses on seed and growth-stage investments in technology companies. The company was the first seed investor in Instagram, an early investor of Twitter and has been called "one of Silicon Valley's most successful--and smallest--investment firms" by Forbes. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California.The company's founder and Managing Partner, Steve Anderson, was recognized on Fortune's 2012 list of "50 Businesspeople of the Year" and included on the Forbes Midas List from 2012-2018.

Bob Truel

Bob Truel is a computer programmer. He met Rich Skrenta in ninth grade in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and has since co-founded several Internet ventures with him and others, including DMOZ with Bryn Dole, Chris Tolles, and Jeremy Wenokur in 1998, Newhoo in 1998, Topix.net with Tom and Michael Markson in 2002, and search engine blekko with Michael Markson in 2007.

Common Crawl

Common Crawl is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that crawls the web and freely provides its archives and datasets to the public. Common Crawl's web archive consists of petabytes of data collected since 2011. It completes crawls generally every month.Common Crawl was founded by Gil Elbaz. Advisors to the non-profit include Peter Norvig and Joi Ito. The organization's crawlers respect nofollow and robots.txt policies. Open source code for processing Common Crawl's data set is publicly available.

EHow

eHow is an online how-to guide with a large number of articles and 170,000 videos offering step-by-step instructions. eHow articles and videos are created by freelancers and cover a wide variety of topics organized into a hierarchy of categories. Any eHow user can leave comments or responses, but only contracted writers can contribute changes to articles. The writers work on a freelance basis, being paid by article. eHow is frequently called a content farm.

List of mergers and acquisitions by IBM

The following is a partial list of IBM precursors, amalgamations, acquisitions and spinoffs. IBM has undergone a large number of such during a corporate history lasting over a century; the company has also produced a number of spinoffs during that time.

The acquisition date listed is the date of the agreement between IBM and the subject of the acquisition. The value of each acquisition is listed in USD because IBM is based in the United States. If the value of an acquisition is not listed, then it is undisclosed.

Many of the companies listed in this article had subsidiaries of their own who had subsidiaries who ... For examples, see Pugh's book Building IBM, page 26.

List of search engines

This is a list of search engines, including web search engines, selection-based search engines, metasearch engines, desktop search tools, and web portals and vertical market websites that have a search facility for online databases. For a list of search engine software, see List of enterprise search vendors.

Rich Skrenta

Richard "Rich" Skrenta (born 1967 (age 51–52) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a computer programmer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur who created the web search engine blekko.

Seeks

Seeks is a free and open-source project licensed under the Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPLv3). It exists to create an alternative to the current market-leading search engines, driven by user concerns rather than corporate interests. The original manifesto was created by Emmanuel Benazera and Sylvio Drouin and published in October 2006. The project was under active development until April 2014, with both stable releases of the engine and revisions of the source code available for public use. In September 2011, Seeks won an innovation award at the Open World Forum Innovation Awards. The Seeks source code has not been updated since April 28, 2014 and no Seeks nodes have been usable since February 6, 2016.

Timeline of web search engines

This page provides a full timeline of web search engines, starting from the Archie search engine in 1990. It is complementary to the history of web search engines page that provides more qualitative detail on the history.

Web search engine

A web search engine or Internet search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web search (Internet search), which means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a web search query. The search results are generally presented in a line of results, often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, videos, infographics, articles, research papers and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler.

Internet content that is not capable of being searched by a web search engine is generally described as the deep web.

Yahoo! GeoCities

Yahoo! GeoCities was a web hosting service. It was founded in November 1994 by David Bohnett and John Rezner, and was called Beverly Hills Internet (BHI) for a very short time before being named GeoCities.On January 28, 1999, GeoCities was acquired by Yahoo!, at which time it was allegedly the third-most visited website on the World Wide Web. In its original form, site users selected a "city" in which to place their web pages. The "cities" were named after real cities or regions according to their content—for example, computer-related sites were placed in "SiliconValley" and those dealing with entertainment were assigned to "Hollywood"—hence the name of the site. Shortly after its acquisition by Yahoo!, this practice was abandoned in favour of using the Yahoo! member names in the URLs.

In April 2009, the company announced that it would shut down the United States GeoCities service on October 26, 2009.

There were at least 38 million pages on GeoCities before it was shut down, most user-written. The GeoCities Japan version of the service shut down on March 31, 2019.

Yandex

Yandex N.V. (; Russian: Яндекс, IPA: [ˈjandəks]) is a Russian multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related products and services, including search and information services, eCommerce, transportation, navigation, mobile applications, and online advertising. Yandex provides over 70 services in total.

Incorporated in the Netherlands, Yandex primarily serves audiences in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The company founders and most of the team members are located in Russia. The company has 18 commercial offices worldwide.It is the largest technology company in Russia and the largest search engine on the internet in Russian, with a market share of over 52%. The Yandex.ru home page is the 4th most popular website in Russia. It also has the largest market share of any search engine in the Commonwealth of Independent States and is the 5th largest search engine worldwide after Google, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo!.

Yandex's main competitors on the Russian market are Google, Mail.ru, and Rambler.

According to the company, one of its biggest advantages for Russian-language users is the ability to recognize Russian inflection in search queries.Yandex has invested in companies including Vizi Labs, Face.com, Blekko, Seismotech, Multiship, SalesPredict, and Doc+.

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