I just read some of the thread on WebmasterWorld, and wanted to offer my thoughts on Wikiseek. Wikiseek is a new search engine that I had not heard about up until today. Maybe I’m living under a rock — maybe not. But so far, I’m impressed.The basis of Wikiseek is incredibly simple, as the about page discusses…
The contents of Wikiseek are restricted to Wikipedia pages and only those sites which are referenced within Wikipedia, making it an authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes.
Still, there’s more to meets the eye here. As WMW moderator engine points out in the above referenced thread:
… so you know, Wikiseek is from SearchMe and they are donating profits to Wikipedia Foundation. Search Wikia is the home page discussing Wikipedia’s search engine.
While the idea is well and good, Wikipedia is not a saint… I’ve come across a number of questionable outbound links in there — and not surprisingly, the benefiting sites tend to rank well in the Wikiseek SERPS. Also, I think that hyping something like this will cause questionable edits in existing Wikipedia pages. That is, people will start trying to get Wiki pages edited for the sake of having their site’s links included simply to perform well in Wikiseek.
Finally, I think the entire model itself has it’s limitations. While the concept of Wiki is nothing new, it is also not a mainstream task that common Internet users rely on. Therefore, while the search results may be cleaner — the list of sites included are also few and far between. Atop that,the quality of the sites included in Wikipedia are not always a close match to what searchers are after.
As an example of this, search Wikiseek for “golf clubs” and then try the same on Google. I’m willing to bet that if you’re actually searching the ‘net for such an item, you’ll find Google’s SERPs much more appealing. After you compare the top 3 results on each — take a look at the number of results found. 20 million for Google, 5 thousand for Wikiseek. While Wikiseek may try to get you to refine their results (through an incredibly large and invading blue box on the top) — a legitimate search engine shouldn’t require that as a primary part of their interface… Unless of course the results themselves are suspect.