It’s a slow news week so we’ve all read about how the Wikipedia founder plans to launch a new search engine (along with Amazon.com) that uses a “community of trust” to serve up relevant results. According to that wikipedia guy, as reported in many places,
“Google is very good at many types of search, but in many instances it produces nothing but spam and useless crap. Try searching for the term ‘Tampa hotels’, for example, and you will not get any useful results,”
Well, I took that bait and searched Google on Tampa Hotels and got a set of very good results that included TripAdvisor on Tampa, Yahoo travel on Tampa, TampaGuide.com (which has a hotel reservation system for .. Tampa), Hyatt.com’s web page for the Tampa Hyatt Regency, Marriott.com’s page for Tampa, and Wyndam Hotel’s page for Tampa, among a few others. And that was the first page of results.
If you ask me, that was a very good set of results for that search. What is this wikipedia guy’s problem?
Maybe it’s all about press and attention, and he wants some. What will he be providing? He says a better search experience, and he calls the one I just described “crap”. He also says he will fund his endeavor with advertising. Oh, boy, it’s packaged as a good thing, but really it’s just more spam to be plastered with advertising so he can make money?
Let me ask this: how could anyone make a better search result set than the one I just saw at Google? It doesn’t seem possible, unless he thinks he will have a wikipedia-like page called “Hotels in Tampa” which references the Tampa hotel market, with links to the relevant hotel resources. And that is a commercial website, because it has advertising. And just like TripAdvisor and Yahoo Travel, it will be user generated content. And if he makes that, why is it de-facto better than TripAdvisor or Yahoo Travel or… ahem… my own Tampa travel web page (or yours)?
Yawn. Alert the media. Another hotel affiliate web site has entered the Tampa market.
Actually, alert the media: Wikipedia is going commercial (under a new name) and trying to corner affiliate marketing. Or will it be MFA with AdSense on it? Or perhaps a network of pages selling direct advertising? I hate to break it to you, but Yahoo and Google are already moving into the affiliate arena. It sure sounds like another great big spam attack on the poor old www. Hundreds of thosands of new pages of the same old stuff, plastered with advertisements.
No doubt it will be big. But will it be as good as Squidoo?