Lijit redesign - Who's Being Searched Right Now?

Lijit redesigned their home page in the past days, giving it a “more open, roomy, and serene feeling”, “all the same functionality without the clutter”, according to the Lijit blog. You can still check out the old lijit home page from the Google cache and the new one as of this morning.

With many of these new social search engines, we need a bit of help understanding what to do. The old home page was very clear about what to do, directing visitors’ behavior to engage quickly. I am not sure the new home accomplishes muc. Or is it one of these attempts like the PreFound redesign as articulated by Greg Sterling to rise above the noise? This said, the global navigation at the top right is a bit cleaner.

Led by CEO Todd Vernon and CTO Stan James, Lijit was incorporated in June, 2006 and closed an initial round of funding to ride the consumer generated media explosion. Lijit’s positioning is relatively straight forward: searching people, their content, and their connections. It’s a better way to search for information, people, their content, and their connections. Like more and more users, I have created accounts in several places including Del.icio.us, BlueDot, LinkedIn, flickr, Blinklist, Digg, Furl, Ma.gnolia, reddit, StumbleUpon, YouTube, MySpace and others in the process of studying Internet sentiment analysis and online reputation management.

Beside creating two new characters referred to as "Crazy Head Girl" and "Serene Egghead Man", Lijit also released a new search box widget. Like most other distributed entry point adoption strategy, the Lijit widget search box can be easily added to your blog or Website. My favorite feature - not that my Lijit search box got much traction so far - is the reporting. Lijit reports on the searches performed, their sources, content clicked on, top 25 searches and more such that you can get a better understanding of your reader community.

Lijit buzz is on the rise; following are the now traditional online buzz monitoring from Nielsen BuzzMetrics BlogPulse and IceRocket. No data from OpinMind nor Sucks/Rocks to get a feel about tone polarity unfortunately.

IceRocket reports 1.7 posts a day over the past months.

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Social media sentiment analysis - Clinton and Obama

A myriad of Internet sentiment analysis applications are emerging such as monitoring blogs for coverage, tone polarity and semantic categorization of pretty much anything from consumer brands, to products and services, events, generic entities and of course individuals including celebrities and politicians.

There is a shift underway from few-to-many to many-to-many publishing models resulting in an explosion of consumer-generated media. 44% of Internet users are content creators (PEW), and an increasing ratio of search engine's top results are now user-authored content. Brand owners are losing control over their message. The release of this anti Hillary Clinton video on YouTube clearly demonstrates it is also true for politicians.

You might as well be proactive and setup your own MySpace, LinkedIn, PreFound, ZoomInfo and other social networks profiles. Andy Beal’s got a long list of advice on how to track Internet sentiment and manage reputations online. Unfortunately, after email and search, this all also sounds like an invitation for some to seed and "spam" more content, frankly making discriminating between spontaneous consumer-to-consumer communications and planted opinions a challenge.

The Clinton campaign first announced her running online and Obama has been generating much Internet noise already. Matthew Hurst has a very interesting post about how disruptive social media can be, all the way to impacting on how democracy plays out "Bloggers Driving Gonzales Story". And the impact of consumer generated media impacts on a few more than politician. Max Kalehoff reviews how several disciplines are getting affected, from public-relations people to traditional full-service advertising agencies, the big media shops, savvy direct marketers, interactive and specialty word-of-mouth shops.

Without going into tone polarity, I thought I would check out the social media coverage for both. The capability and applications are more than interesting. Internet sentiment analysis can most definitely inform as a warning system and suggest corrective actions such as targeting an online reputation campaign at the right audience, by media, by geographic location and theme to specifically address.

Take the charts below with a grain of salt, maybe not even directional … or is it? The queries were setup as phrases “hillary clinton” and “barrack obama” and do not include miss-spellings and forms like “Senator Clinton” or “Obama”.

IceRocket reports about 420 posts per day for “hillary Clinton” while “barrack obama” is getting around 525 at a run rate of close to 50,000 posts over the past 3 months.

Google Trends can be used to monitor online buzz not so much in terms of how often both candidates have been mentioned in social media, but by counting how many times folks have been looking them up in Google. “barrack obama” is searched for more often than “hillary clinton”. Now, go figure which of all this chatter is positive and negative.

OpinMind developed a tool called "Sentimeter" that works like a polarity index. "barack obama"'s got 76%(+) versus 24%(-) as "hillary clinton"'s sentimenter oscillates between 52%(+) and 48%(-). Opinmind is a search engine with a twist, scouring the web for the opinions expressed by people on anything and everything. OpinMind finds what people like and don’t like, including people’s views on politics and current events. The Sentimeter™ displays the relative number of positive and negative opinions identified by Opinmind's automated search processes.

opinmindBloggers like:
"hillary clinton"

opinmindBloggers like:
"barack obama"

And then there is “sucks/rocks” brought to you by two dudes who definitely don't suck, Gary Bernhardt and Brian Beck. When you enter a search term, sucks/rocks searches the web for several positive and negative phrases using that term. The score is the fraction of positive results to the sum of positive and negative results, normalized to 10. “hillary clinton” and “barrack obama” rock about as much.

If America's next president gets elected the "American idol" way, then Internet Sentiment Analysis has reached enough maturity to significantly augment insights from formal scientific polls.

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New younanimous social meta search engine

At first I thought younanimous was going to be an anonymous search engine not tracking anything. Search privacy's been a lot og buzz in the past months.

2 posts per day according to IceRocket. Below are the BlogPulse and Technorati charts.

younanimous is actually a social meta search engine aggregating Google, Yahoo!, MSN, providing several social bookmarking options, including passive collaborative ranking from what I understand and soo introducing voting mechanism. Users can also bookmark results to a choice of social networks.

younanimous has only been getting buzz in the past 24 hours, no charts.

younanimous is not creating anything new here, but bringing together a set of features adding value from an exeperience standpoint. I like the Ajax backbone driven user interaction model. I like the mix of meta algorithmic feeds, social ranking and sharing. Why wouldn't the best results from several of the best engines not be better than the ones of a single engine? Maybe hard to articulate the value to the masses; overmetized experiences delivered by existing ones. The concept is right on, though. younanimous delivers pretty well on that premise with social search behavior defining aggregation overlap and ranking.

I understand younanimous is pretty much a one-man shop. Go younanimous!

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PreFound - power from the people - social search engine redesign

Prefound.com re launched its site earlier this week. Changes include Enhanced personalization, more diverse search results, an easier method for adding content, and a new user interface.

Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land suggests the goal was also to rise above the noise. Social search definitely is a crowded space. In some ways, it feels like 1999 all over again, although fueled by much healthier business models.

Prefound.com was conceived on the premise that humans can collectively provide better intelligence than a computer program developed out of the Silicon Valley. Of all places, the startup is located in Lexington, KY.

Prefound is about Search, Save, and Share. I like to new bookmarklet tool to import from IE, Firefox, Safari or Opera, although frankly, my bookmarks’ve been on Del.icio.us and other places online for a while. They have nicely pushed the envelop in terms of distributed adoption tools like widgets and browser integration points.

After Eurekster, Prefound is also embracing the democratization of revenue sharing models. As reported by Mashable, they allow you to enter your own Adsense ID and collect 100% of the revenue from your page.

Prefound launched in January 2005 and has been getting some nice press coverage in mainstream press including an abcNews interview of Steve Mansfield as well as lots of buzz in the blogosphere.

IceRocket reports about 40 posts over the last 3 months.

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Wink - people search engine - restructuring capital

Wink announced a partial stock repurchase from some of its investors. The major change seems to be Greylock Partners's stake reduction while remaining the largest shareholder outside of the company. Go figure what really happened.

Wink's positioning is pretty much straight forward ... "the first search engine dedicated to searching people’s online presence such as their profiles, blogs, social networks and other online communities."

The explosion of consumer generated media makes Wink an awesome social search engine. 44% of Internet users are content creators (PEW), and a significant ratio of the top 100 results for more queries are consumer-generated media such as blogs and social networks. I am seeing more and more people pro actively managing their online reputation. Wink does a pretty good job at empowering users, encouraging you to claim your profile and providing controls to edit the content.

Michael Tanne - Wink's founder and CEO - shares a few interesting tidbits in the announcement. Wink searches over 150 million people across five major social networks including MySpace, Bebo, Live Spaces, Friendster and LinkedIn. That's nice! Would just be even nicer to see more sources, a blog crawl to pick up on a broader spectrum of user-generated content, as well as questions and answers from Yahoo! Answers, Yedda, AskVille and others.

As Nick reported for TechCrunch, Wink is fast and simple and has interesting advanced search features, like location, sex, status, age, and interests. It also lets you narrow your search by those fields after your first search. Like most social search engines, Wink also provides a tag cloud navigation tool to discover interesting content and people.

The "Where I am at" widget is pretty cool, smart distributed entry-points strategy to ramp up adoption. David Beach's got more coverage on the Wink widget.

Wink's not alone in the space, also including Streakr, Lijit, Ziki, Mugshot, ClaimID, and of course PreFound.

Wink launched in October 2005 and managed to generate quiet a bit of buzz since. Following are buzz monitoring charts from Nilesen BuzzMetrics BlogPulse, Technorati and IceRocket. I added the "search" filter to "wink" to limit the results a bit given how generic the term "wink" is and still, many of the posts don't actually relate to Wink ... to take with a grain of salt.

Posts that contain Wink Search per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

IceRocket actually reports about 10 posts a day for Wink search, adding up to 942 posts in the past 3 months.


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Social search democratizing revenue share models

There is a shift taking place from pure algorithmic search to social search. The explosion of consumer generated media (CGM), the emergence of social search and the rise of the Net's culture of participation will eventually force a democratization of the Web's economics. There is a shift taking place from few with the power to users getting empowered. Content generating users (i.e. traffic, eye balls) will increasingly share the wealth. The Web is slowly but surely leveling the playing field for the rest of us in the tail.

Chris Sherman from Search Engine Land, defines social Search as way finding tools informed by human judgment. Social search is people helping people find stuff. Social search includes i) Questions & Answers services like Yahoo! Answers, MSN Live QnA, Amazon's AskVille, Yedda, Answerbags and others, ii) Collaborative directory building for users to submit, share, tag content, comment, including community ranking, recommendations, profiles, ... and iii) many hybrids.

More and more personal blogs, MySpace profiles, and other communities display advertising and widgets wrapped around revenue share models. Google AdSense is probrably the most deployed of these and YouTube announced a revenue sharing program as well. Bill Gates himself discussed rewarding users for searching. Content generating users are increasingly part of the economics.

Eurekster is one of the most interesting social search engines for applying collborative filtering principles to search results ranking before most. Actually, DirectHit - eventually aquired by Ask - might have done popularity ranking before. And who knows when Google and Yahoo! integrated some level of behavioral feedback into their respective ranking algorithms.

Eurekster has been getting quiet some buzz in the past months. The following chart comes from BlogPulse, monitoring online buzz, and the following one comes from Alexa, measuring traffic rank trends.

According to Eurekster, a swicki is new kind of search engine that allows anyone to create deep, focused searches on topics you care about. This search engine, or swicki, can be published on your site. (like on the right side of this blog >>). Your swicki presents search results that you're interested in, pulls in new relevant information as it is indexed, and organizes everything for you in a neat little customizable widget you can put on your web site or blog, complete with its very own buzz cloud that constantly updates to show you what are hot search terms in your community.

Eurekster goes a significant step further, suggesting the actual economic value of swicky communities users create. Eurekster estimates that some swickis could actually generate up to $30,000 a year in revenue to their owner, and be worth up to $300,000 if a buyer used typical methods for valuation. Community "owners" can include up to 3 ad units to be displayed at the top and on the side of the swicki pages. There is also a choice of multiple feeds including AdSense and others. Swicki owners then get credited 50% of the ad impressions and clicks, the balance being credited to Eurekster. You can even simulate the micro-business model with this tool.

Please, please, please, visit the "social search engines" swicky.

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