Source: European Search Engine: neutral & confident – US Version

This is a quickie, first impressions introduction.

Unbubble bills itself as a European meta search engine, based in Germany with all other operations based inside the EU.  Normally I don’t get too excited about meta search engines but this one caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

  • One of the search engines it uses is my favorite: Mojeek
  • Exactseek is used. Exactseek’s search results are actually pretty good, but given the nature of the Exactseek parent company I wouldn’t exactly associate it with privacy. Hmm.
  • EU privacy laws.
  • Unbiased results by using many different search sources. Yeah I like.

The meta search engine for the US mainly pulls results from Exactseek, Mojeek and Yandex as the heavy lifters. That’s a pretty good trio because just those three blended can produce a very good search result.  But add in Qwant, Faroo and some others and the results get even more interesting.  Unbubble specifically talks about “directories” as being providers and I like the sound of that.

Search results pages are clean and neat without too many distractions.  Search results are very good, although sometimes the search is a bit slow.  The pages use a lot of JS so that might be the cause.

There is a search plugin for Chrome (why TF are you using Chrome?) and also an assistive search installer for other browsers that may not normally allow you to add search engines.

How Private is Private?

Unbubble makes it clear that they don’t share information other than the search keywords with any third party.  I’m a little blurry on if Unbubble keeps any personal tracking info on you for themselves.  If they do keep any identifying info, it’s protected by EU laws.  And maybe I need to read the privacy policy again.  In any event, Unbubble appears to be way more private than Google and Bing which is still a major plus.

Bottom Line:

Unbubble is definitely worth trying.

 

Notes on Exactseek:

  1. Their search results are really quite good.
  2. They claim to be a directory, but their search result algo is way better than any directory I have ever seen.  And they must have a huge index.
  3. They are owned by Jayde Online Network. Which is a marketing firm.

This was also posted to
/en/search-engines.

 

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Since I’m splitting my posting time between here and Indieseek.xyz blog I thought I would post some of the selected posts you may have missed over the last two weeks, on Indieseek.xyz:

Building a Multi-Directory Based Search Portal

Use Any Door You Want

Finding Your Directory Niche

Building a Local Directory

Thoughts on a Directory of Hyperlink Nodes

How to Build a Town News and Event Portal

As you can see I have shifted all of the directory postings to the directory blog.  There are some gray areas that I’m not totally sure which blog to post on: discovery, search engines, webpage building as part of a Neo Web 1.0 Revival, etc.

Thanks for reading!

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In Reply to: Directory Features. Kicks Condor.

I’ve worked out a search index that’s entirely done in JavaScript

 

If you chose to go with a search feature, I was going to add you to the search engines at the bottom of Indieseek’s SERP like I did with Wiby.me.  That way I could share traffic – like someday when I have traffic, with your directory.  So, please, add working out a search string for that js search to your bucket list of future stuff to do.

But in any event I think your adding search is wise.  I gives the end user options.

I think one of my primary questions these days is: will the future be blogcentric? I feel like things are going to change. Although they could get more hyperactive.

 

I think our choice of tools is widening.  I’m going to experiment with Dokuwiki.  And you really need to check out Federated Wiki.  It’s that copying feature, in essence “forking” another persons post, that really caught my eye and made me think back to all your conversations with h0p3.  Anyway, I think blogs are just one tool in the box.

Features:

We talked before about these.  Right now on Indieseek I have ratings (stars) and Comments enabled.  I addition to the public using them, I intend to use them to write comments about certain sites on things I notice or recommendations I may have about the service or thing.  This means I can be more neutral in my descriptions of listings.

On the usability front: since I added Indieseek search to my browser, I notice I search my own directory more!  Interesting that I’m that lazy. Heh.

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… can I keep it?

It’s a sorta selfdogfood directory called Indieseek.xyz.  I hope this will encourage others to try their hands at small directories or search engines of the fun web, the Independent Web.

More from the source in a bit.

 

 

Special thanks to:

Kicks Condor – for the discussions on directories, discovery, advice and encouragement.

Chris Aldrich – for the early encouragement to keep experimenting (complete with cow picture.)

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Gah!  I’m in a bit of a quandary about seeding this directory project:  how much is enough to start out with and how much further seeding just adds noise?

I have raided my bookmarks, read laters, memory, etc. and have come up with about 300 links which, on the face of it, seems pitiful for a general web directory if I built it circa 1998 – 2003.  But times are different now, those old directories where trying to be comprehensive: Dmoz had over 4 million listings and in the end it was a pittance compared to the ever expanding size of the web.

I’m not trying to be comprehensive, just a place where one might find useful or interesting things off the beaten path, and find them quickly.

My past experience in niche directories is of limited help here.  Back in the day of static HTML sites, those sites were not huge, I could poke around and get a good feel for the value of the site rather quickly.  Today, everything is blogs or sites built on platforms.  There could be hundreds of posts and pages.  Compounding that so many blogs are abandoned.  Yes a blog abandoned in 2014 may still have some very useful articles but that is not something I can dig out in a reasonable amount of time.

All this is to say, I feel like I am forcing it.  I am now just digging up links just to fill categories not because they are special.  And that means quality starts to slip in favor of quantity.

A web directory never should quit growing, but I think I’m near the point where I need to open it up for submissions of links by the public while I also continue to add listings at a slower and more measured pace as I find things.  Things need to grow organically.

Which means I need to get cracking on finishing up help pages and UI tweaks for a launch.

Any thoughts?

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Despite my earlier protestations, I am working on a web directory project on a different domain.  It’s not a big deal but there is work to do, like: seed the directory with a starter set of links.  I mean you go to a directory to find web pages or websites and it better have something for you to find or you will never come back.

Yeah, so I’ve got this used web crawler/indexer, that would be me, who is an old, slow and cranky, old git, but  works cheap. The slacker likes taking a nap during working hours. This could take awhile.

Plus I’ve got to edit CSS font sizes which I’ve never done, and write help pages that explain what the heck I’m trying to do.

All of which is to say, I’ve got to cut back on blogging here for awhile and just get this directory ready for launch.

Thanks.

Signed, Me.

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I’ve built a lot of different niche web directories over the years.  Frankly there are some that I have forgotten about.  But here are some highlights.

Planet Doom – 2001 – 2005 this was my first directory/portal.  I learned a lot operating it and it had quite a lot of traffic.  At the time, Google was pretty poor at delivering results for niche searches so they would often put niche directory categories in their SERPs.  In effect they would “hand off” the search to the specialists.  As Google got better at it they moved away from featuring niche directories in the results.  Template – custom. Logo – custom both by Lynne Scott.

I went with Scifi/Fantasy/Horror in order to make myself a little different from most of my competition who were doing just Scifi and Fantasy.  Doing all three never was a good fit.

This is the directory that got carpet bombed by Google after my host, Searchking.com, sued Google.

Scifimatter.com – 2003 – 2012  Once it became clear that Google would never send traffic to Planet Doom (above) ever again, I took the backup database from Planet Doom, discarded the Horror listings and created Scifimatter.  The earliest version used a free version of the Gossamer Threads script which had a flat file database.  Later versions (pictured) used WSNLinks, if I remember right.  At various times this directory offered webring hosting and banner exchanges for webmasters.  By about 2008 it became clear that directories had had their day.  I stubbornly hung on to this neglected site until 2012 when I finally pulled the plug.  This was my favorite.  Template – off the shelf.

Shadowdark.org – This was a catchall domain.  From it I ran lots of different perl and php scripts on subdomains to save some hosting fees.  The sites were of all sorts of genres.  Three directories stand out and are listed below.

Planet Doom II –  experimenting, I revived the Planet Doom name as a Horror, Dark Fantasy and Scifi Monster Directory.  I used the free version of Fluid Dynamics Search Engine which worked pretty good for search but was hard to administer. The categories are fake, if you hover over a category you see it triggers a search engine search.  It did okay but was never super popular.  Ironically, today, using a site search engine script, something like this might make a better niche directory than a directory script.  PD II might have been ahead of it’s time.  Template – off the shelf.

The Ring Codex – I rushed this out to take advantage of all the hype about Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies which were forthcoming with fevered anticipation.  I used a free version of the Gossamer Threads perl script.  Codex had a lot of people using it.  I should have spent more effort on promotion and building the index.  The script had no captcha protection on the Add URL form so it eventually attracted automated spam submissions.  I think at one point I was manually deleting, one at a time, 200 spam submissions a day, with very few legit submissions.  Rather than spend money on upgrades, I closed it down.  Template – off the shelf.

Spy Fiction Guide – I was getting burned out on SF/F/H,  but espionage fiction had always been a favorite genre of mine.  With the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual collapse of the USSR the spy genre seemed to be dying out. So this was sort of a labor of love on my part to keep the genre alive.  It was never wildly popular but I had fun.

The index of most of these were built by me using a dial-up internet connection which was a very time consuming process.  Niche directories were at their best when people were still building serious websites on Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire and the other free web hosts.

If you have read this far, I thank you.  This post was an itch I had to get out of my system.

 

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This is a follow on of: Let Us Build a New Web, so you might want to start with that.

Here I want to talk about expanding beyond a static site or just a blog.  For most of these I think I would probably also have a blog just because it’s easy to post updates and announcements on one.

Website Ideas:

Wiki – if you have used Wikipedia then you already have used a wiki.  Wiki’s are very good for collaborative websites.  You can build a knowledge base  with a wiki. You might not need a blog if you have a wiki.  Wiki’s are best for making vast globs of sprawling information able to be found through the wiki’s site search and hyperlinks.

You can use one for group journal type role play.  I have always wanted to use a wiki for world building for table-top RPG’s like D&D, CoC, Metamorphosis Alpha and/or Traveler.

Knowledge Base – a KB is great for making a detailed manual.  You see a lot of knowledge bases used in software support.  Here is an example for WSNLinks.

So if you have some detailed, step-by-step knowledge you want to share, a knowledge base might be perfect.

Some KB ideas: how to paint RPG miniatures, naval miniatures wargame rules,  table-top RPG rules manual, any kind of howto guide.

Directory – I’ll talk about two variants, there are more but I’ll stick with two for now.  1. Links Directories and 2. Business Directories.  Links Directories are collections of hyperlinks to websites (ie. Yahoo started out as a links directory.) Business Directories, may or may not have hyperlinks, but they generally list the name, address, phone number and hours of operation of a business.  Most include a map showing the business location (ie. Yelp, and the online Yellow Pages.)

  1. Links Directory – this could be something as simple as using a directory for hosting your own bookmarks.  (ie. back in the day I knew someone who had a “Cool Directory” which was anything he thought was cool.  Basically his bookmarks.)  Make a topical directory, links to websites about a topic you are passionate about. (A cause, hobby, science fiction, anime, comics, etc.)  I do think that a blog compliments a directory well.  It gives the directory owner a voice.
  2. Business Directory – these make perfect local directories, their strength is they can list bricks and mortar businesses that do not have a website.  These can also be used as restaurant review sites.  I always thought a directory of weird old tourist attractions would be cool.

Forums – forums are an old school social network.  For niche sites they can be perfect for like minded people to have in depth discussions. One advantage a forum has over social networks with moving timelines, a post or a reply, much like email, will sit there waiting for you until you return.  So maybe you only visit once a week, all activity will be there waiting for you.

Most hosting accounts have a couple of free forums scripts ready to deploy at the touch of a button.  I like SimpleMachines forum the best. YMMV.  If your community thrives and becomes big you can move up to something like Invision Community.

The down side of forums are they are very hard to get started.  They work best when you and a few friends decide beforehand you need one.  Otherwise, start a blog on the topic first, attract a following and then ask your followers if they would be interested in a forum for more chat.

For almost all the above I think you should have a blog.  It is always a good way to reach out by syndicating to social networks.  You can mix and match all the different scripts described above whatever works for you.  Again if all you need is X number of pages and then your topic is exhausted just make a static site.  Do it for you. Do what pleases you.

If you have ever had the yen to build a website the above can give you some ideas.  Feel free to comment if you have ideas of your own or questions.

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Here is an interesting artifact from the Web 1.0 past.  A list of known search engines and directories.

See the List Search Engine List

  1. This is only a partial list.
  2. This does not list the thousands of niche, national, regional and local directories of that time.

Almost all these are gone.  If you want a glimpse at what web search was like in 2001 click the link.  A list from 1999 would be even better and more vibrant.  A lot of these search engines had no hope of surviving in 2001, but at least most of them had their own index.  Now we are down to 2: Google and poor second Bing, plus a couple of smaller engines with their own indexes.  And you don’t call that a monopoly?  You don’t call that a silo, and a dangerous one at that?

Look at that list – at least they were trying.

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