Tuesday, February 10, 2004
The other day it was 369th. Presumably, some of the latest mentions from Teledyn, Steve Johnston, socialtwister.com, the eurekster newspage and a few others have increased the relevancy of the blog.
It still isn't showing up on alltheweb. There are only 67 results for eurekster on alltheweb compared to 37,100 results on google for the "eurekster" search term.
Social Software guru, Sebastien Paquet, ponders whether online communities without blogging functionality would benefit from a dedicated blogger/journalist? (on many-to-many) He points to Lee LeFever, who had the original thought. I think they are right on about this.
An excerpt from Lee:
For instance, weblogs could play a significant role in helping online communities by giving the community leadership a more effective tool for keeping members updated and engaged.
In this case, an online community could have a weblog that is internally-focused and managed by community leaders. A community leader (or a group of leaders) could use the weblog on a daily basis and post:
News and Updates regarding the community web site
Commentary/quotes on current discussions between members
Community story-telling -- posts about the community’s history
Anecdotes and observations about the community
Welcomes to new members
Commentary on external and related news and links
An excerpt from Sebastion:
This is an interesting idea. For some time I’ve been thinking that wiki communities might also benefit from having a journalist or two to help others make sense of what’s happening globally. An RSS feed of recent changes just isn’t meaningful enough. Back when Wikipedia was starting out, I recall founder Larry Sanger used to write weekly reports on what had been going on in the ‘pedia and I found that useful. Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms community does have an internal volunteer group-edited newsletter called “the Brainstorms Scoop”, which helps locate the interesting recent action in the huge volume of messages that the community produces.
In terms of enabling outsiders to be aware of what’s going on inside a community and perhaps drawing some of them in, I think a good blogger could do wonders.
I definitely agree with all of this. I participate in a few web forums with quite a bit of a following (WNL, wormtown.org) WNL experimented with blogs for a while and it was very well received. However, it was dissolved because there weren't enough writers. However, this could be entirely different in a larger community that has money to pay bloggers a modest amount of money as incentive to write.
I've also posted a response to Seb's post on many-to-many explaining how I've been doing this for eurekster:
I’ve been doing this for eurekster. I have no stake at all in the company’s success, but decided it was a site with a good amount of potential, and enough buzz to be successful, that it was worth my time to blog about it.
The site has benefited because I have answered a lot of questions that other bloggers have had and have had a lot of conversations with other bloggers and people in discussion boards.
Since the site has a community component, I’ve built up quite a network on there too. I have 23 members. The only person with more than that in my network is my contact at Eurekster. Everyone else has less than 5 people.
I think it has also benefited eurekster by aggregating a lot of feedback from users on what they like, don’t like and what features they want developed.
I even have a contact at eurekster that feeds me info and passes along answers to questions that I and others raise and they even linked to the eureksterblog from their press room. Its ranked right up there with the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, WSJ and the Washingtone Post.
Here’s the blog: http://eureksterblog.blogspot.com
After I posted that, I realized how i do this in my personal and offline professional life too. In my circles of friends, I am the person who is generally bringing a new friend in to the fold and/or introducing separate groups of friends to each other. I believe this is the exact same thing that Seb and Lee are talking about. Bloggers have a unique way of branching out and forming new relationships and bringing people in to the fold. And these are the exact skills that grow a community beyond its borders.
If there is another community site or social software site, like Eurekster, that is interested in hiring me for this purpose, I am all ears.
Update 2/11/04: Social Twister adds 2 cents.
I realize that "Eurekster on grub" sounds either like two insects mating to form a new breed or some type of strange African meal. However, a discussion on highrankings.com I was particpating in got me to thinking about how eurekster has a fraction of the costs of operating a search engine that google, inktomi and alltheweb have because eureskter doesn't have to crawl or index the web or even store the index.
Here are my thoughts on grub that led me to this revelation:
I think the idea behind grub is great; using idle processing time on pc's to crawl and index the web. It then allows people to query the index for certain info, by accessing xml through the api. You can search the index by using wisenut.
However, I wouldn't label it social search or personalized search. The idea behind grub could enable a centralized company to recreate a google like engine without the massive infrastructure costs that google has.
However, it hasn't reached critical mass to be able to deliver as many results, or updated as frequently, as google, inktomi or alltheweb. Based on a few searches on wisenut (powered by grub), it looks to have a similar sized index as ask/teoma. I don’t know much else about grub. The idea of grub, in principal, is great. At this juncture, I am not sure the reward for people to donate their processing time is sufficient to attract a large enough base of users. It’s a chicken and egg thing.
To add to this, I think there is a flaw in grub's business model or execution. I don't understand the value proposition to a person that donates their computer's idle processing time to the project. From what I understand, people donate for the sheer joy of participation. There are definitely people that are willing to do that. 25k to be exact based on the grub stats. However, will this ever grow to a number that will be significant enough so that grub's index rivals the big search engines? imho, the answer is no. I think the value to the donater has to be larger. I think they should implement the google adsense equivalent of getting paid for your processer time. If it truly is a ".org", people who contribute their processer time could get paid a "flat rate/pages indexed" based on the revenue that grub produces.
I am not sure what revenue grub produces, but I am sure they could leverage looksmart's outlets to generate revenue. And selling the potentially largest search index in the world, shouldbn't be a problem. This treats processer time as a true commodity with a fluctuating value based on the revenue the search engine can generate.
How does this relate to Eurekster? It doesn't really, except for the fact that grub could be another engine that leverages eurekster's personalization and/or eurekster could leverage grub's least expensive distributed-generated index/crawl. Also, i may start expanding my coverage of different sites by starting the unnoficial grubblog (Now that's a great name). It is also a great technology/company that could be the next big thing, and is worthy of a little blog attention.