Sunday, January 25, 2004

Eurekster takes advantage of Weak Ties.

A little piece over at SEOBook on Eurekster. In marketing the power of the weak tie is astronomical. If you ask a large cross section of society "Who found a job through a weak friend?" the percentage will be exceptionally high. Our friends typically share much of our environment and lifestyle. People who are friends of a friend live in a totally different world and know realities which are completely foreign to us.

This hits the power of Eurekster right on the head. Every link on the web is explicit and intentional (and maybe purchased). And this is the basis behind the big search engines. Every writer or blogger, or anyone that uses the web for any type of research, searches for information before writing about anything. Eurekster captures this information before it gets written and it captures this information for people that don't write to the web; everyone that searches. And the people that search on the web are far more plentiful than the people that write for the web.
A potential Eureksterbomb

Steve Johnston suggests a way to test Eurekster's re-ranking algorithm. This could be the first eureksterbomb.

Steve Johnston - The Blog: "Try it yourself: Search for ferrari enzo prints, then scroll down to result 21 (approximately) to the Immediart entry, click on it and browse around the Ferrari print there and other cars such as the Aston DB9 for at least a minute, then return to Eurekster and perform the search again. This time Immediart should be number one, prefixed by a Eurekster 'e'. "
Eurekster News Room
I just discovered the Eurekster News Room. It is a bit hidden. Here's a direct link.

A blog called Pirotcar, powered by dudecheckthisout.com, suggests combining eurekster with Amazon's recommendation system and dudecheckthisout.com's group bookmarking and new link notification system.


If you don't know what a google bomb is, read this first.

Eurekster makes googlebombing yesterday's cool thing. Now, you don't need a blog to bomb a search engine. Now, all you need is a keyboard and a mouse.

First, you need to get a page to rank high (or atleast find it on the 152nd result page) on an alltheweb search (atw powers eurekster). Then, you need to search on eurekster and click that result. Tell all your friends to do the same and it should quickly move up the ranks on eurekster.

If you have a good idea for a eureksterbomb, send me an email.
Larry Borsato is a better searcher than all of us combined. Eurekster will make him worse.

Larry Borsato is worried that his friends aren't good searchers and that since he is better than them at finding results "within 2 searches" that Eurekster will actually be less effective at helping him find what he is looking for.

We should stop hyperlinking and see how he does.

Eurekster's been done before?

This guy says he built a site just like Eurekster 3 years ago. Anyone ever heard of it? ethomaz.com: Tempo and Eurekster
Eurekster times the amount of time I spend at a certain page?

I am finding a lot of different explanations for how Eurekster works on different blogs. Can anyone confirm this one?

via RB at blotsinfo When you find a page through Eurekster, it times your visit to that page. If you stay there a certain amount of time, Eurekster figures you consider this page a good result for your query.

There is nothing explicit regarding this in the Privacy Policy.

Update: I recieved a response from RB. Thanks!
On your blog you asked about Eurekster checking what site someone visits (something I wrote about). I base this on: http://home.eurekster.com/howitworks.htm which says "Click on a search result that you think is best (this can be on any page of the search results). Stay at that website for at least 1 minutes (or we will assume that it wasn't useful for you). Repeat this as often as you like."

An interesting post from Future Now titles "Social networking and Web searching" regarding the movement of once private transactions to non-private actions contributing to social capital.

Future Now: Social networking and Web searching: "Of course, Google uses hyperlinks to help it determine the relevance of pages, but this is something different: it sounds like it's more behavioral-- in the sense of trying to extract conclusions based on what a group of people do-- than functional or semantic (though of course, a Web link can be seen as an action, and thus behavioral).

This struck me because it's another example of how we're trying to use what once been private, fleeting activities (in this case Web searches) and turn them into public goods and something akin to social capital."

I think this hits the concerns that people have with the so-called "privacy" issues with Eurekster right on. I started talking about eurekster in a discussion forum recently and several people said that they wouldn't want people to see what they are searching for. Since, they don't seem to be very private people based on the things they post to the discussion forum, I was surprised by their response.

I can see several ways of responding to this concern. First, the system is built around protecting an individuals privacy.
- Eurekster does not reveal which terms were searched nor which sites were visited by which individual. It only shows the search terms in aggregate.
- When contacting someone via Eurekster regarding a new search term, the email is blind. The only way that someone will know whether I was the one that searched for "paris hilton video", is if they email me to talk about it and then, I respond. They don't know it was me until I respond.
-There is one case that these safeguards won't cover. If i am the only active person on the person's network and I search for Paris Hilton Video, they will know it was me.

Nonetheless, the value to me of the group research and filtering that Eurekster allows, is greater than the potential loss of privacy, especially given the safeguards above. I am sure that this will be the case for everyone that puts a significant amount of energy into building a network on Eurekster.

Eurekster: Free Tools for Coalitions and Campaigns : Build Your Teams Collective Research and Filter Capacity from network-advocacy.net

There's an excellent post on network-advocacy.net about how to use eurekster to improve an advocacy group's researching and filtering capabilities using Eurekster.

I've quoted the majority of this post because it covers so much about how to use it and the benefits.

The key point for network-advocacy was that people can see friend's searches without knowing who is doing the searching (privacy). The searcher can be contacted, but until they respond, their identity is unknown to the person requesting contact.

I have been playing with Eurekster a bit more and I am really digging the way that we can be aware of each others searches and favorite sites (without me knowing it is you) . Anyway, its pretty cool and I am thinking that it could be very useful for a campaign or coalition.

Step 1.- Core campaign team signs up and invite each other to join. The core team becomes a part of each others eurekster search network.
Step 2. - Everyone on the team installs the search toolbar or sets up a favorite link so the group uses the search as a primary search tool in regular work flow.
Step 3. - Members regularly watch resent sites and recent searches to see if they can help each other find key information or work together on a project.
Step 4. - Also use search as a to-do list for the day (I.E. GOTV mobilization in the Denver Area or Develop a content page on Energy Pipeline impacts).

Sounds Easy. What are the potential Payoffs?

The team gets to see recent search terms of the team with masked email links to the people who are doing these searches. The tool enables the campaign to "swarm" hot issues, the days to-dos and hot stories faster. The campaign team can sense emerging issues and needs based on what people are searching for. What would it tell you about your campaign if you saw lots of searching around a bill, article, or legislation?

Team can see the recent sites other team members are surfing (where is the team spending work related online time..have other members just been there...www.greenmediatoolshed.org, the press room of a congressional committee , the main national organization working on the campaign or a local group or blog with lots of content on a specific subject.) Eurekster starts to dynamically generate the list of repositories for work related information.

The team can see each others "top searches". This is a valuable sense of what information the network of the campaign is looking for and could identify needs. We need to do some more content on how to write a press release or a check list for lobby days, we need talking points on the wildfires, we need factiods on BLM, etc.

The team can see top sites on the issue Is it a news site or the site set up for the campaign? This can show where the top content is that the network relies on. It can also encourage members of the group to publish work that they have already developed but not shared because they don't know the value of it.

Finally, The most important features besides the "secure" shared filtered search is the social networking component. If people in your campaign have been doing searches or visiting sites a little email icon appears next to the search or site. You can't tell who was where but you now have the capacity to contact whoever was working on that site or search. THIS IS HUGE.

THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE IS THE EMAIL LINK "You are receiving this email from Marty on eurekster. They saw you visit 'Joshua Tree National Park (National Park Service)'. Your identity has not been revealed to Marty but it will be if you choose to reply to this email. If you would rather not be contacted like this please change your user preferences here: http://home.eurekster.com/manageaccount.htm"
This allows you to send an email to the person that spent time on the site or sent the search. A way to say "hey I can help" or "I need that too". This will help build (weak ) ties among staff that don't know each other .

Finally, this tool would help people that join a campaign in progress quickly get up to speed on the favorite sites of the campaign the searches and needs and offer them a way to plug in where there skills are. It would show what the people on the team are working on (to do searches) and an email link to help those folks connect. This is huge.

I can't wait to see some healthy campaigns play with this if each campaign of 50 added this and then were able to add volunteers and Board members ..we could see campaigns decentralize work very quickly.

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