Wikia Search, Mahalo and Google
Jimmy Wales (Wikia) and Jason Calacanis (Mahalo) were on a panel today discussing Human-powered search (Wikia and Mahalo) vs. Algorithmic search (Google). Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine was live blogging here and the Long Tail blog covered it here.
A couple of comments caught my attention:
“Jason says he has 60 fulltime people and 400 freelancers.”
That is a lot of people!
Jimmy Wales: “If you’re going to come in the search space you need to invest at least $50 million to do this… This is not for the faint of heart.”
I have heard that $50 million is probably on the low end if a company is going to build data centers to index billions of pages frequently and complex algorithms.
Marrissa Meyer (from the front row of the audience): “that there’s a false-dichotomy to look at this as all algorithmic or all human”
Couldn’t agree more! One size fits all for only so long…
Jason: “the [short head] will be human, the [fat medium] social, the long tail algorithmic. And he says that the advertising interest is in the [short head].”
This is a great line. The short head has always been human and long-tail certainly requires algorithms…the interesting comment is about the fat medium being social. Thinking about the user submitted content and sharing options that we are building for the beta release of PlayerSearch, I think this is fairly accurate. We already include all the top sports news from ESPN and the like, we use Microsoft Live Search to provide the long-tail content and will rely on our users to submit and share all the content in between. I just wonder what percentage of searches will fall into each section and what the economics will be when the industry matures.
I don’t necessarily agree that advertising interest is only in the short head (that is where Jason’s company is focused) as Google has made billions from advertisers (including me for the Draft Analyzer as well as PlayerSearch!) in the long-tail of search. Brand advertising may be more popular in the short head, but advertisers can certainly get a lot of site traffic from the long-tail.
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