Skewed Results

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2008-01-25 Print this article Print

And how much of a danger to a business is there that the results of these vertical engines will be somehow skewed either because the companies being searched for are paying for better placement, or there's some other aspect that skews the results?

I think one of the most important things, and one of the things we found with our company especially, is that people read the "about" page a lot. And what happens is that people will always e-mail us saying, you know, "Are the results here algorithmic? Are they pure, or are you artificially inflating some results over others because people are paying for them?" And I think a lot of these vertical search engines have taken the cue from Google. And Google said, "The main results that we show are purely algorithmic. There's no bias in there. It's completely based on computers, programs and algorithms that we created." So people have a lot of confidence that when they type something in Google that the first couple of results are actually the most relevant on the Web. And a lot of other vertical search engines have taken that same cue and said, "That's what the consumer wants. They want to see relevant results that are unbiased." And a lot of vertical search engine sites do say, "We do not play favorites. Our goal is to aggregate information and to make it very easy for you to digest and make sure that you have a comprehensive experience." And then you can decide what place you want to go to do your specific thing on that vertical engine, whether it's travel, looking for people or a product search.

Contact Jay Bhatti at


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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