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Stickin it to those fat cats

Alex Christie

15 July 2008

Scour.com launched today in the US, attempting to herald a new age of searching,  saving us all from the existing evil fat cat search engines.

As they say on their blog  "The basic premise is that Google, Yahoo and MSN are a few of the
richest companies in the world based on people like you and me
searching. They share none of this wealth – while we are willing to
give back to the community for your time spent with us."

What Scour does is, it gives you a combination of Google, Yahoo and MSN results in one page, and for every search, comment and vote you contribute to the Scour community, you receive points.

Regarding the points, they say that with 25 referred friends, each doing 3 searches a day, you can earn around $100 a year… so it’s not exactly a gold mine, but according to the site hosters, it is just their way of saying thanks for using us.

More interestingly, every Scour member is allowed to vote their listing up or down the
rankings, and comment on their experiences. This is a somewhat bizarre concept from a SEO point of view, and is markedly different to Google’s philosophy of "no manual intervention", but it is going to be very interesting to see how it plays out.

In my humble opinion, they should be selling the advantages of their engine (combination of the three major search engines plus human interaction), rather than focussing so much on the monetary reward. I can’t tell if they mean the monetary reward to be more of a "giving back to the people" thing, or a "participate and make the results more relevant" thing. They seem to emphasise the former, which is just a bit too sickly sweet for me.

Will it take off, or is it too gimicky and ‘complicated’ to compete with Google? Will the Scour ‘community’ be allowed to manipulate the rankings beyond any form of unbiased relevance? It will be interesting to see.

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