[thelist] New search engine system: Eurekster

James Aylard evolt at pixelwright.com
Fri Jan 30 12:55:22 CST 2004

Mike wrote:

> This seems too obvious to be true - if they abuse their own system,
> don't you think they would very soon be out of business - ?

    Eurekster does not mine its own search results, it tailors results from
alltheweb. So, it is not truly in the search-engine business. What business
is it in? Personalization. And it works by you providing limited personal
information about yourself (name, email address), but more importantly by
you giving them individualized marketing information with every search you
perform: What search terms do you use? What results earn your click? How
long do you stay at a given result page? Who are your friends and
associates, and what are their interests? What search terms and results are
you willing to share with your circle -- and which ones do you choose to
    Understand, eurekster doesn't need to share your name and email address
with any outside company. In fact, those bits of information are probably
next to useless to them, unless they use them to confirm your existence or
send you email updates. But they do tailor advertising based on your search
results. They're not the first to do that, of course, but they take it to a
new extreme: by analyzing the data that you provide to them with every
search -- and the searches of your circle -- they can draw highly educated
conclusions about you as an individual, not just the generalized assumptions
others make based on aggragated results.
    Some won't have a problem with this, preferring highly targetted,
personalized advertising to a generalized best guess. But others, such as I,
may conclude that the benefit of this approach falls far more generously to
eurekster than it does to me. Granted, there are some interesting concepts
in eurekster's approach, but I'm too much the cynic to view them simply as
tools to make my search experiences more fulfilling.

> o       At any time you can totally unsubscribe and you will not be
> contacted again

    Of course, once you stop using the personalization features of their
search engine, you lose most of your marketing value to them.

> Anyway, I gave them a 'personalized' email address that I don't use
> at other places, and that I can drop immediately if necessary  ;)

    Certainly a wise approach, but realize that by using their
personalization, you are handing them far more than your email address.

James Aylard

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