Blippex, the new search engine from Germany, greets visitors with “Ask not what your search engine can do for you; ask what you can do for your search engine.” This is fitting, because Blippex can’t do much for you at this point.
They’re hoping to follow in the footsteps of Wikipedia, the crowdsourced encyclopedia which is now a super useful source of information about practically anything. If you let Blippex use you as a data source, it will measure how much time you spend on a page (Dwell factor) and how frequently you visit that page. It will then show the most popular pages first for queries.
How does that work? The screen shot at the top of this post is what Blippex knows about Fayetteville, Arkansas, the town where I live. It knows nothing. Okay, perhaps no one from Fayetteville has downloaded the Blippex plugin. We’re a small town; people in Berlin are not searching for us. I get that.
But look at the results for William Shakespeare, surely a mainstream topic:
Apart from the latest news on Will from the Guardian and an outdated and ad-choked reference site, there’s nothing on offer that is even roughly on target.
Wikipedia probably wasn’t very useful when it first started, either. It may take some time. Right now, Blippex seems ripe for manipulation. A small coterie of Blippex users should easily be able to get their sites to #1 on Blippex merely by hanging out on those sites regularly.
In the long run, if Blippex is able to get lots of people to join the project, it may be useful in the future. If it sticks with its current algorithm, optimizing for Blippex should just be a matter of having plenty of great content at your website — a good idea in any case.
We’ll be watching with interest.