Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog

26Jul/09Off – a credibility-based search engine.

I need your help to fix the search engines.

You see, the big engines suffer from a serious problem: they don't take user opinion into consideration.

That's a huge problem, because no machine can come anywhere close to the judgement that a human can make by reading over a page and deciding whether or not it's a good one.

There have been search engines that have tried in the past to allow users to vote on search results, but they all failed miserably.

The reason they have failed is that they counted every vote as equal: whether the voter was a regular joe searcher or a trusted authority figure or a spammer; whether the query was hugely popular or rarely searched for -- all votes were equal.

But that's not how real life works, is it?

In the real world, a person's input on what's good or bad depends on the individual's credibility and track record. If a person has proven in the past that their opinions are valuable and trustworthy, then naturally their opinions hold a lot of weight.

On the other hand, if a person has no proven track record, or worse, a poor one, then their opinions won't hold nearly as much weight.

That's how the real world works, and that's how I believe search engines should work, too.

But since the search engines that tried were plagued by spammers because all votes were considered equal, search engines have stopped allowing users to directly influence the search results.

I think this is a HUGE mistake. I think a search engine's BEST asset are the searchers. No machine can judge quality the way a human can. Machines are too easily fooled.

Humans are not so easily fooled. That's why Google pays a large number of human reviewers to pour over their results and find sites that shouldn't be ranking, but that have managed to weasle their way into the top.

You see -- algorithms just don't work without human input.

The Credibility Engine

That's why I've created SearchWinds, a new search engine based on the same credibility engine that I built into my instantly popular social-knowledge site,

It was a real no-brainer to base a search engine on the same algorithm I use to let users rank tips at TipDrop.

SearchWinds attempts to mimic the trust that people establish over time in the real world by using the credibility engine.

When a user first creates a voting account, they are assigned a credibility rating of 100 -- which is the baseline. That gives them a small measure of influence over the search results as they vote for what they feel should rank better (or worse).

However, if a user decides to suggest a page that they feel should be in the results for a query but isn't, then their credibility begins to be put to the test.

When other users vote for the suggested page, then the suggesting user's credibility rises. If they vote against the suggested page, then the suggesting user's credibility falls.

The greater a user's credibility, the more his or her own vote counts towards the credibility of any search result they vote on, and the higher their future submissions initially rank.

The credibility engine greatly reduces the ability of a user to spam the index with junk submissions, because a spammers submissions will quickly get voted down, removing their pages from the search results and decreasing the spammer's credibility.

As the spammer's credibility plummets, his or her future submissions will initially rank further and further down in the results. It doesn't take long before the spammer realizes that they're wasting a lot of time and getting no return for their efforts.

Powered By Bing

When a query is performed for the first time, the initial results are fetched from using their developers' API. Only the first 10 results are used.

Bing also has a user account in the SearchWinds system (the username is, of course, bing). All initial query results are credited to that user account.

SearchWinds users can vote on what Bing says should rank for their queries just like they can vote on any user's submissions. As those pages are voted up and down, the Bing user's credibility rises and falls as well.

I think it will be very interesting to see over time how much users agree with Bing's suggested search results.

Powered By YOU

In order for SearchWinds to work well, it's going to need a lot of people searching and voting. That means you! This is your opportunity to help make search what it should be -- a spam-free place where the best stuff comes up first. That's hardly a
description of any of the big search engines to date.

So why not go to and setup a free account right now? It only takes a few seconds.

Once you've got an account, you can start using SW as your search engine of choice and vote on the results you feel should (or shouldn't) rank.

The submissions you make all link to your user profile, so getting in EARLY and submitting pages and building your credibility offers a great opportunity to really establish yourself as a trusted source of information.

Here's the link:

Together we'll make search great again!

P.S. I've setup a discussion forum for SearchWinds as well. I REALLY want your feedback and input on how to make this new search engine as great as I know it can be.

Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.