Social crowd sourced search results

July 24, 2007

A new search engine has launched to not much fanfare and pretty stealthily called iRazoo. It’s interesting to me as it’s doing a similar thing to Mahalo in that it’s using the input of users to qualify search results.

Rather than go down the Mahalo route where specialists are paid to put together search results, iRazoo is allowing users to recommend a search result while they are surfing. When users click a search result it’s opened in a new window, this could annoy a lot of users as pop-ups (even user activated) are generally a no-no these days. That’s purely a user interface issue though and I’m sure they will change it if they get enough feedback requesting it. There’s a bar across the top of the new window asking whether you recommend the site and allowing comments to be left as well.

As an incentive users are able to earn points for their recommendations. However you need many thousands of points to get any meaningful prizes (camera or mp3 player) and so it could take quite some time.

It’s an interesting concept and one that could work quite well if it was designed with the user in mind. At the moment it’s a fairly clunky and unwieldy process with the pop-up windows and the bar across the resulting websites. A few small changes could fix that though and a bit of usability testing, and they may need to do this to gain traction with users.

Of course, it is possible to game the site a little by recommending your own websites, but I’m sure (or at least hope) they will have thought of that. If they can gain the much needed traffic and signed up members then it should even itself out anyway.

The idea of the ‘crowd’ providing intelligence to search results is a great one and in my opinion beats the Mahalo idea of specialists. Crowd wisdom is a far better way to measure the value of something and as such this could have potential with a little better execution.

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