A Better Way to Search Forums

November 23rd, 2006 | Categories: social media, trends

Nearly a year ago, a forum search engine launched. The name: Omgili. Instead of indexing all pages like the major engines, this crawler only indexes discussion forums. Yet again, this is another great example of vertical search.

The founders of the company noted that many searchers had questions, while others Omgili logowanted product recommendations. Traditional engines return results based on the text query itself, whereas ‘Omgili’s unique algorithm analyzes forums not as a simple web page, but as an active discussion with a title, topic and replies’, to quote the company description. Essentially, Omgili is helping answer user questions with solutions and recommendations that are already present on the net. This also helps the user avoid re-posting a topic in a forum as well.

For example, the site includes sample searches such as ‘best laptop’ or ’book recommendation’. The engine would then analyze forum discussions to help answer the question and guide you to recommendations.

Functionality and formatting are still in their early stages, but this innovative idea may take off given the right conditions and some minor tweaking.

The number one point I want to make here is that a generic search engine start-up WON’T be able to compete with Google, nor Yahoo, MSN, or Ask for that matter. At least not for a long time. Or unless some patented, ingenious, new technology break-through manifests itself. Unlikely. So, for the time being, search start-ups need to focus on a niche. In this case, the niche is forums. In the case of Technorati, the niche is blogs. In any case, these start-ups will now be able to compete with the big guys, but on a smaller, more level playing field. Though they will not reap the huge rewards and garner billions of page views, they will nonetheless acquire qualified traffic, a loyal user base, and slowly, but surely eat away at Google’s enormous chunk of the pie.

Mark my word, one day we will use niche search engines for nearly every search we perform. The results speak for themselves. 

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