Total Sports Online Launches Megasoccer Search Engine

    May 26, 2004

As part of its Megasearch Project, a project that makes use of the Fast Search & Transfer search technology, Total Sports Online ASA has launched, a “topic-specific” search engine devoted to the world of soccer.

Boasting an index in the neighborhood of 6000 soccer-specific websites, and over 1 million individual web pages, Megasoccer Search is a search engine resource for football/soccer fans everywhere. Using Fast’s search-related technology, Megasoccer Search delivers users information directly related to the sport.

A quote from Megasoccer’s help page explains their goals, “The Megasoccer search index only includes soccer sites we have reviewed, to provide the most relevant results possible.” The help page also gives tips on how to improve parameters in order to find more relevant, soccer related information.

SERPs for Megasoccer feature sponsored links provided by Overture. These links are in first three positions, and are labeled thusly. The right hand column features a “Refine Your Search” table that contains various keywords that are related to your initial search query.

Relevancy does not seem to be an issue with Megasoccer. I performed a search for the British club Ipswich, and the all the content returned was soccer relevant, even on the 11 page of the search results. This would indicate that the claim of soccer-specific content does not seem to be an overstatement.

With Megasoccer performing as well as advertised, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume TSO has continuing plans for its Megasearch service. Reading the company’s about page sheds light on how TSO foresees it service evolving: “Megasearch is an internet first: a series of topic-specific search engines, combining FAST search technology with Fast Web Media’s editorial expertise and web experience.”

The site continues, “Commercially, Megasearch products present clients with a unique opportunity to own the delivery of information for a particular interest area. Topic-specific search engines can be built according to customer’s requirements, using technology under license from Fast Search and Transfer.”

Topic-specific searches, as indicated by Megasoccer, is the angle that TSO is pursuing, thanks to Fast’s technology. These search engines are similar to niche engines like GlobalSpec, concentrating on a specific area of interest. Topic-specific engines claim to be more accurate because they do not allow unrelated content into the search engine’s index.

Judging by the information available on TSO’s site, Megasoccer’s index population is done by a review process. From the Megasearch about page, “Traditional web searching means filtering out unwanted sites once results are returned. With our web search the filter is applied by us if a site doesn’t meet our guidelines, it doesn’t go in, meaning users can search with confidence.”

The personal reviewing of a search engine’s index is one of the only ways to ensure complete content control; and physically reviewing a site when it is submitted helps in guaranteeing the content is topic-specific.

Reviewing submissions is a plausible choice of action when you are offering a search engine with a small index. However, if its a comprehensive search engine with billions of indexed pages being offered, hands-on reviews are a tall order, perhaps even an impossible one. But if your goal is to offer a niche engine, personally reviewing all submissions will ensure that the definition of niche can be achieved.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.