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New Social Search Engine Targets Boomers

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Eons, a social network for the over-50 crowd launched last year by Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor, has launched a new Web search engine that will apply user behavior from its network to sort search results.

Cranky.com is built on a base of Ask.com's index, with editorial oversight from Eons' team, and an initial behavioral "lens" created using data from market research firm Compete's panel. Compete has been tracking the user activity in its panel for more than a year, and will extract the top 5,000 sites visited by users in the over-50 demographic to use their behavior as a relevance filter for Cranky.com's search.

"Popular search engines are easy to use, but it can be difficult to understand the results, " said Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of Eons. "For the one-third of Web users over 50, relevance and getting overwhelmed by information can be big issues."

The SERPs for Cranky have been simplified to show only the top four results on the first page. Subsequent pages will show 10 results each. Users are also invited to submit ratings or reviews of each site in the results, and that input is used in the next iteration of the ranking algorithm.

"We've talked a lot to users in this age group, and we've found that they're more interested in getting fewer results that are very good than millions of results," Taylor said. "For this group, a search engine with a narrower user interface, focusing on the top-ranked sites, can be more useful."

Cranky will also display Ask Sponsored Listings' text ads on the SERPs, as well as display ads that Eons sells throughout its network. There are no paid inclusion programs to get a site on the first page, just the ratings and behavior of users.

"Eons knows that the 50-plus market has a distinctly different set of needs and behaviors than the general population -- specifically, they use search engines as navigational devices to find key sites on targeted topics such as health and travel," said Rob Rubin, SVP of engineering at Eons. "To make these searches better, Cranky is aimed specifically at the Boomer generation, as opposed to a category."


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