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Relevancy by Race?

Looking at RushmoreDrive

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Murray Dick and Mark Ward have an article up at BBC News looking at Rushmore Drive and minority-based web searching. They look specifically at a search engine called RushmoreDrive, which we pointed to back in April upon its launch. First let’s look at RushmoreDrive’s official description as posted on the site:

Launched in April 2008, RushmoreDrive is a first-of-its-kind search engine for the Black community. We deliver a blend of mainstream search results plus a layer of more relevant search results influenced by the Black community. RushmoreDrive is where the Black community goes to find the best search results.

At RushmoreDrive you will also find a feature-rich job networks community where members can create a professional profile, find job opportunities, and create job networks online. RushmoreDrive’s easy-to-use job networking tool will help members unlock the power in their professional connections.

RushmoreDrive News enables the Black community to find news headlines from the entire World Wide Web, including well-known Black media, blogs and countless relevant online voices, as well as recognized mainstream news sources.

RushmoreDrive is the starting point and the destination for its users to find what is most relevant to the Black community.

So from that alone, you can specifically see that RushmoreDrive is more than just a search engine. There was a fair amount of controversy as it launched. Some people viewed it as an "all black search engine," and as a form of segregation. Others viewed it as a way to market to black people (btw, BusinessWeek has an interesting article about an increase in online marketers wooing minorities), and compared it to BET (Black Entertainment Television). You can see some interesting commentary about RushmoreDrive in the comments section of this article.

RushmoreDrive

Mike Marshall commenting on it points out, "Regarding the segregation angle, it seems clear from the site that they do not limit advertising to Black-owned companies and organizations, nor limit news to that which impacts only the Black community, nor restricts search results to listings from Black-owned or Black-targeted companies and organizations." Johnny Taylor

While RushmoreDrive offers more than just a search engine, that search engine is meant to provide relevant results to the black community according to its creator Johnny Taylor. "It is more a matter of optimising the relevancy ranking based on one’s cultural identity," he is quoted as saying in the BBC News article, which says:

Rushmore Drive’s editorial team seeks out sites relevant to the black community, and uses a unique algorithm which weights "black results" higher. It also exploits user feedback to tweak the relevance of results.

Whether you view RushmoreDrive as a positive or negative thing, if it’s really about relevancy, they’ve still got Google to worry about in terms of competition, which holds true for any niche market. The search giant is said to be headed in a more personalized direction, delivering supposedly more relevant results based on each individual searcher, regardless of skin color. Considering the enormous amount of market share Google possesses, that is probably the kind of relevancy that nearly everyone can get behind.

Relevancy by Race?
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  • http://www.doggybehave.com/dealing-with-jumping.php Sam Nichols

    This search engine, maybe gives other people a closer chance to look at a new community and know better about the black community