PlayerSearch Blog

by Ted Kasten, Founder of PlayerSearch

PlayerSearch Highlighted in Yahoo BOSS Mashable Challenge

PlayerSearch is highlighted in the Yahoo BOSS Mashable Challenge.


October 3, 2008 Posted by | Announcements | , | Leave a comment

Player Search on TechCrunch

Mark Hendrickson mentions PlayerSearch in his article titled Yahoo BOSS used to create Powerset for images and more.

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

PlayerSearch Spotlight on Yahoo BOSS

PlayerSearch is spotlighted in a recent Yahoo Search Blog post on “What’s Being Built with BOSS”.

After Yahoo released their latest open search initiatives under Yahoo BOSS, we quickly (and easily) changed the web search component of Player Search to leverage their open search APIs. They have a great tool set that was very easy to build on. Users will never know where we get our web search results as they are seemlessly integrated into our site…which is great for our branding and improves the user experience by minimizing clutter. We can also sell our own ads alongside the results which is critical for our business model.

I am a huge fan of the open search APIs that Yahoo and Microsft provide. I am hoping these innovations enable them to compete better with Google…if that happens, they will be highly incented to continue innovating and supporting other search start-ups such as PlayerSearch.

How we use Yahoo BOSS:

Yahoo BOSS powers our “Web Links” search results. For most player searches, these links end up being for the player’s page on WikiPedia and some other major sports sites such as or ESPN as well as the player’s personal website if they have one. The links are great and definitely helpful, particularly for searches that we don’t know (“open search”). Searches for players that we do know (such as Brett Favre), we can add a lot more to the search results such as breaking player news from local and national sources, stats, performance charts, game highlights from NFL Network, clips from ESPN’s SportsCenter, press conferences, fan generated videos on YouTube, photos, fantasy stats and much more. We have existing sports focused products (, so we are familiar with the sports market and will continue to build on top of Yahoo BOSS and other APIs to improve our sports focused search.

Additional Coverage:

TechCrunch writes “Yahoo’s Search Blog has posted a list of some of the most promising new web apps being built using its BOSS search platform.”

CNET writessome of the more interesting mashups are aiming to aid niche Web users. For sports lovers, the PlayerSearch sports search engine pulls in content from a host of sources” “There was one app that did just fine – PlayerSearch. This BOSS app is great for sports fans – especially Fantasy Sports fanatics. This site worked just fine. Have at it, sports junkies.” writes Imagine a place where you could go to get the latest sporting news from the best resources on the web. You can stop imagining it, because is here.”

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Innovations in Search | | Leave a comment

Surprise, surprise…Microsoft acquires another search start-up (Powerset)

As everyone knows, Microsoft has publicly stated many times that they are going to be aggressive in their pursuit of Google (with or without Yahoo). They recently announced they are buying Powerset, a “natural language” search engine that recently released its beta product. While the beta product only searched Wikipedia, and the results weren’t any better than Google’s search of Wikipedia, the UI was innovative and they are one step ahead on natural language search which is apparently worth close to $100 million to Microsoft.

After releasing their Beta product, Powerset was at a major decision point of whether to continue to fight the search battle alone or sell to one of the larger search engines. It would have required another $50-$100 million (on top of the $20mm they already raised) to start indexing the entire web themselves and to remain independent. It was certainly a great move to join Microsoft as they have huge incentive and deep pockets to invest heavily in what Powerset started in order to compete with Google. I hope we see Powerset features in live search very soon (they claim some features will roll-out by year end).

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch interviewed the Powerset Founders here.

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Acquisitions, Innovations in Search, Semantic Search | , | Leave a comment

One way to capture market share in search…

…bring your search to users. According to a study completed by ComScore, MSN, AOL and Yahoo had search market shares of 39.4%, 50.0% and 46.2%, respectively, in a certain market as compared to their overall market shares of 10.3%, 4.8% and 27.8%, respectively. What was that segment of users? It was the segment of users that purchased internet access from ISPs that had partnerships with each of these companies.

The moral of the story…if you make it easier for users to use your search engine than it is to open a new browser and go to (assuming it isn’t already their home page, which it is for me), then you can gain significant search traffic. This is a big reason why Toolbars are critically important and why Microsoft just struck a deal with HP to get their browser/search box installed on every PC by default (Google has done this with Dell for many years).

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Google News not as dominate as Google Search

While Google continues to increase is market share in search (68% and growing; second place Yahoo is at 20% and falling), ROI Research for Doubleclick reports that more people use to search for news than Google.  users still use many other sources to search for news.

Here are the top ten sites, with the percentage of participants who use them for news search:

  1. CNN – 57%
  2. Google – 53%
  3. MSNBC – 41%
  4. Yahoo – 40%
  5. – 31%
  6. – 25%
  7. YouTube – 22%
  8. Google News – 18%
  9. – 15%
  10. Google Video – 14%

The report has more statistics, but it is interesting to see how different the market is for news search than it is for general search.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yahoo: Out of the pot, into the fire

Yahoo, combined with Microsoft, had a fighting chance to compete with Google (not a great chance, but a chance; Google is en route to a dominating monopoly with search advertising, the most lucrative on-line business, just as Microsoft has with Office, the most lucrative desktop business). Now Google owns even more of the on-line advertising market.

Which of these companies should Yahoo be more worried about as a competitor on-line?

Google will surpass Windows in revenue this year and with its rapid growth may surpass Office in revenue in the not-too-distant future.

Google is incredibly smart and just landed a huge win if this passes anti-trust obstacles. Yahoo on the other hand…well, my bet is that this error will soon dwarf the $5.6 billion they wasted on the now defunct They just waived the white flag and removed themselves from the most lucrative on-line market ever.

I know there has been a lot of talk about Yahoo partnering with Google to fend off Microsoft or to force Microsoft to pay a little more…I never thought they would actually do it.  It appears Michael Arrington agrees.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch states that we are all worse off with Yahoo giving up and strengthening Google. That statement is especially true if Microsoft cedes the market to Google and stops pouring billions into their search efforts to compete. I do think Michael underestimates Microsoft’s willingness to continue to fight…these guys are the ultimate competitors…they have been around a long time, fought many battles (operating systems, applications, browsers, games and global anti-trust battles) and unlike Jerry Yang and Yahoo they never give up.

I love Google, but as a search advertiser and founder of a vertical search engine for sports (, I will have to cheer for the underdogs to keep a competitive search advertising market with multiple options for advertisers and consumers. I guess I will finally have to sign up for an advertising account!

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Google | , | Leave a comment

ESPN loses if Google wins

Derrick Eckardt of RotoNation recently came across sports scores included at the top of Google Mobile search results (sports scores searches are dramatically higher on mobile phones than from desktops on a relative basis, so it makes sense Google would experiment with these results on their Mobile version first).

This is great for the user as they save a click (and the time required to load a new page, which is significant on mobile phones) to get their answers.

ESPN clearly loses out as they have the top ranked result and would have garnered this traffic.

Google is clearly becoming more and more of a destination site…to the detriment of ESPN and other sites.

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sports is the worst vertical for Google

According to the latest Hitwise traffic figures for the top search engines, Google accounts for 8.81% of traffic to sports websites, the lowest total of any category for Google. To be fair to Google, they have done very little to improve their results for sports focused searches…yet. Most of the people I talk to rarely use Google to find sports news and information because the results provided aren’t what sports fans are looking for.

I don’t expect Google to stay out of sports forever (77 million on-line users is large enough to attract some attention from Google) and Derrick Ekhardt at RotoNation reported here and here that Google has already added sports scores to its Mobile search results (they obtain these scores from an unnamed third party that I know very well). I am sure there is more to come from Google. The real question is how far will Google go to change their search results to accomodate sports content and stats and how deep will their content be. PlayerSearch will never have the brand or mindshare that Google has (does any on-line brand?), but if we can keep our search results 10x better than theirs for sports focused searches and we can make it easy for users to search PlayerSearch from their favorite sports websites, then we have a fighting chance.

Good coverage from TechCrunch here.

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Google | | Leave a comment

Worst move for vertical search ever…

Kosmix has traditionally been a vertical search for health, autos and travel.  They have made great improvements to the UI of search results and built a solid audience (the companies claims of 15mm UVs has been highly refuted as compete shows 50-100,000 UVs; although that may not count about 1mm UVs for their auto verticals).  I generally liked what Kosmix was doing in vertical search (they have a similar approach to what we are doing for the sports vertical).  TechCrunch is reporting that they are now moving to a general search engine.  Why???  They are now competing head-to-head with Google with no clear advantage or differentiation.  Worse yet, they couldn’t possible provide better search results for general searches.

June 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment