April 04, 2008 |
The claim by the company's Swedish founders is that existing blog searches (such as Google's) were built for an American audience and don't work well in Europe due to the number of languages used. The company was founded in 2006, and offers a search engine for Swedish blogs, as well as providing widgets for newspapers to show which blogs link to their content.
Twingly states in their FAQ that they have accomplished the “stunning feat” of a 99.9% spam-free search by working “outwards form selected high quality blogs, discovering and including only those that are linked directly or indirectly to the quality 'seed' blogs.” And from a first search, it looks great; clicking on one of the “hot right now” links under the search blog took me to a search on Twingly itself. You can sort the search by “TwinglyRank,” date, or number of Inlinks, as well as filter results by timeframe posted, language, and source. Each result shows the number of users who have liked the post, as well as provides a box to report spam. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed of the found blogs, or the RSS feed for the reported results if you'd like to track a particular topic or company.
I'm probably always going to be a developer at heart, and when you test something, you try as hard as you can to break it. I managed to do it on my second search. Allan's piece on Yuwie has been lighting up our comments lately, and I figured the quickest way to find spam is to search for anything that involves affiliate marketing. Good old Yuwie didn't disappoint.
The top Twingle search result for Yuwie led me to an adorable little AdSense-filled mess from Mr. Tour Thailand with no fewer than five different ad blocks, as well as links to “sexy pictures” that people could add containing all his affiliate links. Well done, Mr. Tour Thailand. He didn't even bother to name his blog, leaving it at “Untitled” which, to me, ought to be the first signal that you've reached a splog of some variety, but I'm not much with the algorithms or I'd be raking in the big bucks working for Google.
My second link took me to another “blog” in the loosest sense of the word. The entire content above the fold was a Yuwie banner followed by three AdSense blocks. Since I'm nothing if not a dedicated reviewer, I took the time to scroll down only to find that the “blog” doesn't even discuss Yuwie, but rather, a collection of emails showing you how to join someone's affiliate marketing scheme and make THOUSANDS of dollars a day. I should quit blogging right now and join up. (And by the way, Google, both of these are free blogs hosted on Blogspot. Maybe it's time to clean through there instead of wasting all those AdSense pennies you are paying out? That might be why click-thru is so low.)
Twingly has a great idea here, but they need to do some serious work on the algorithm. Sites like the ones I found shouldn't even exist, much less show up in a search purported to be spam-free. I am a good netizen, however, and did report them to Twingly as spam. Reporting them as spam only puts them in for review, however, and doesn't remove them from the search immediately.
Twingly has given us invites to the closed beta for Profy readers. Leave a comment if you'd like to try it out and I will send you an invitation code.