David vs. Goliath: Week One

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A prototype for the new search engine paradigm of Jatalla.com survives its first week and demonstrates viability of user-determined relevancy rankings.

Upstart search engine Jatalla.com, after rolling out a prototype of its unusual approach to relevancy ranking, survived its initial week without major mishaps. Jatalla is the first Web search engine to offer relevancy rankings performed strictly by living human beings rather than computers.

Response from the user community -- particularly experienced wiki users -- has exceeded the hopes of the search engine creators. In some cases, dozens of lexivotes have been cast by a single account holder, establishing a pace which, if continued, could establish a lexivote-based system as a viable competitor in the search engine market within twelve to twenty-four months.

"We could hardly be any more pleased with the prototype's reception," a company representative reported. "Some search queries, such as a query on the word 'news', have already established about a page worth of high-quality results, and given a user base of only about 200 users, that's magnificent."

"If a sample size this small can do as well as this group has done, the lexivote model works even better than we had hoped," the representative continued.

Through Jatalla.com, any World Wide Web user can cast a "lexivote", which consists of two parts: (i) a word or phrase and (ii) at least one URL. Thereafter, when a search query is submitted, all lexivotes matching the search query are counted, and the URLs in those matching lexivotes are then ranked according to the number of lexivotes they’ve received.

Early critics of Jatalla have almost universally focused on the risk of spam, one doomsayer going so far as to predict a “Spamfest.” However, the combination of (i) a search-specific spam report button and (ii) a basic test to make sure that a human is submitting each lexivote has rendered spam a non-issue up to this point.

"We have only had one report of potential spam so far," the representative continued. "Even that one spam report was debatable and did not result in deletion of the lexivote in question."

"It's amazing how people, when given the power and responsibility of making a system work, will rise to the challenge," the representative summarized.

People who would like to begin lexivoting for their favorite sites can visit http://www.jatalla.com.


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Shel Harrison