Search engine upstart, Blekko, continuing it's quest to form an alliance against spam has partnered with Stack Overflow, "a programming Q&A site built by programmers for programmers". This follows a blog post at the start of 2011 from StackOverflow's CTO, Jeff Attwood which cited Trouble in the House of Google and, along with a rising tide of criticism, ultimately caused Matt Cutts to launch a new algorithm that attacks 'junk' sites, such as those Made For Adsense (MFA) and content farms. We're seeing better Google results already, but Blekko is still putting pressure by endeavouring to take an even stronger stance against spam.
This latest move shows how Blekko's strategy to editorialize search results is chiming with high profile members of the web community.
Stack Overflow, one of the largest programming communities in the world, will help curate programming 'verticals' on Blekko in the hope that the search engine will return only the most relevant programming search results. Furthermore, the aforementioned Jeff Attwood, also founder of Coding Horror, will be the official editor for programming related slashtags.
The partnership is mutually beneficial - Blekko get a high profile trusted editor in return for displaying Stack Overflow's logo next to results edited by Attwood.
Time will tell who brings the most benefit to the other. 88% of Stack Overflow's traffic comes from Google so Blekko will need to make a dent in that search referrer statistic to justify the worthiness of the collaboration. However, the key is scale - if Blekko can continue it's charm offensive to recruit industry leaders in other verticals to curate other verticals, and bring their tribes with them, then it will be able to significantly increase it's market share.
Also, in terms of monetizing Blekko - is there not an opportunity here to start a paid search type program that splits revenue with Slashtag editors? Thereby rewarding the editors who bring their audience, and thus their search queries, to Blekko. Microsoft AdCenter seems like an obvious advertising partner.
If they can keep the momentum up there could be a lot more opportunities on the table now for Blekko. They already have super niche Slashtags covering topics such as gluten-free, college football, and the Grateful Dead. If Blekko can obtain, even the most minor, celebrity editors for other niche topics then it stands a chance of experiencing the kind of runaway success of Twitter.
It does not seem much of a leap for me to say that what Blekko really needs, right now, is Oprah Winfrey to start curating it's lifestyle Slashtags. Failing that, perhaps they should approach /conservative Glenn Beck is currently bashing Google and has previously endorsed alternative search engines. Either way, whatever your definition of spam is, celebrity audiences could prove important to Blekko's growth and a definite tactical advantage in marketing their search engine against Google.
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