Alls Fair In Love and Search

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PubSub CTO Bob Wyman and Feedster CTO Scott Johnson can agree on one thing, they don’t like Google, especially when it comes to blog search and fighting splogs (spam blogs). But when they weren’t dogpiling on Google at SES Chicago, they took jabs at each other as they jockeyed for top position in the search world.

“Bite me, Bob,” fired Johnson at the “Meet the Blog and Feed Search Engines” session after Wyman gave him a little grief for Feedster taking 8 seconds to retrieve results. Wyman’s PubSub engine takes 3 seconds-a statement coupled with some other choice words that Johnson called “an overreaching statement in arrogance.”

Wyman was adding to his braggadocios claims that PubSub was the fastest search engine out there because of the engine’s real-time information collection, logging some 3000 documents per minute.

“It takes [other search engines] four weeks to get around the full web,” said Wyman. “Imagine trying to find a red mustang for sale in New York on Google. Google’s not a good tool for that.”

To save you the trouble, here are Google’s results for that. Google Base, on the other hand is lacking in this department.

Another place Google is lacking, according to Wyman and Johnson, is the engine’s seeming inability to differentiate between news sites and blogs and splogs.

“Like pornography, I know a blog when I see one,” said Johnson touting the value of tagging for combating the problem. People, in his estimation, are much more difficult to fool than a robot.

Not everyone shares his enthusiasm for tagging. At an earlier session, though acknowledging that searchers were using tags, Search Engine Watch’s Danny Sullivan said, “I largely loathe tagging. It’s a waste of time, a backward step.” Sullivan favors automated indexing over user-generated.

But to Feedster’s credit, the engine adds crawlers and ping servers to end-user submissions collecting data form news sites, blogs, podcasts, and feeds, among others on a newly redesigned site that launched last Friday.

For Johnson, tags have a special function in the search world.

“We’re trying to make it easier for people to get back to things they know they’ve seen, but can’t find it,” he said.

Rivalries between Johnson and Wyman aside, the pair had no problem criticizing the areas in which Google is lacking.

Though Google Product Manager Nathan Stoll said Google would be integrating Google News and Blog Search soon, it didn’t stall Wyman’s mutation of Blogspot into “Splogspot.”

After an audience member inquired about more stringent authentication for blogging to combat robotic blogs, Wyman and Johnson were singing the same tune.

“You’re talking to the wrong group,” said Wyman, at which point Johnson sprang up and pointed at Stoll.

“Talk to him,” said Johnson.

Alls Fair In Love and Search
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