Why Decentralized Search is Good, Especially for Blogs

In a previous conversation, I made a rough list of types of blog search directories and search engines.

Blog Discovery:  I’m sure directories are not the best solution for blog discovery, but like blogrolls they have a place at the table because they are low tech and cheap. Here’s a rough hierarchy:
  • Do In A Pinch: Blog acting as a directory.
  • Minimum: A proper directory script (ie. phplinkdirectory or similar) This allows for blog owner to submit their blog, write a description etc.
  • Better:  A directory script that not only lists blog URL but also lists blogs RSS feed.
  • Better x 2: Directory described above which also generates it’s own RSS feed for each category and subcategories.
  • Better x 3:  Some sort of fusion of the x2 directory above, and Indieweb stuff to some degree.  Maybe a fusion of a standard directory with Kicks Condor’s Indieweb.xyz.  This is just brainstorming.
  • Better x 4: Probably an RSS search engine like the old defunct Daypop or Icerocket. Because this leads the searcher to individual posts about a topic in close to real time.  Such an engine could use Post Kinds as filters for the searcher to refine their search.  There used to be a lot of RSS blog search engines I could find only RSSMicro today.
  • Best: Some sort of hybrid directory/RSS/crawler engine listing only blogs.  The search crawler digs deep into a blog for those posts from 2015 or before that are buried and won’t appear in feeds.  The RSS search engine for the newest posts.
I think I need to expand on this.

The more advanced the solution, the greater the technology bar to entry.  Just about anyone can start a human edited directory, but creating an RSS search engine requires more programming skill.  Moreover, the more advanced solutions require more money to run which again raises the bar to entry.

We see this now with web search, the cost to build a search engine that will rival Google is more than many countries can afford.

But if we only follow the technology route we create another set of silo’s like Google and Bing.

So in the blog world we need lots of different ways to discover blogs and blog posts.  We need ways for new blogs to be found by readers before their bloggers lose heart in talking to themselves.  We need many high tech search engines and many low tech directories so that the blogosphere does not become consolidated once again into a few silos.  No one source is going to index the entire blogosphere, and that’s okay. because each index is a collection.

The Indieweb plays an important role in this.  Webmentions will become the new backbone of making the Web the social network.  And they will also help blogs get discovered.  But right now Indieweb adoption is relatively small.  We also need to find audiences that are just readers who do not blog.  Because even siloed social networks have their own search function.

  • If there are 100,000 bloggers, then we need 100,000 blogrolls.
  • We need site searches, like phinde, that can index multiple domains.
  • We need many dozens of blog directories of all sorts: human reviewed and, somehow, Indieweb automated.
  • We need a dozen blog and RSS feed search engines.
All at the same time.  Let people choose their trusted sources.

Other reading:

Search Engine History

Bomis Webrings had Important Differences.

Indieweb, Discovery and Search.

Brad Enslen @bradenslen


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