Spock Helps You Find People

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Spock Helps You Find People

By Mike Moran

Most of us find people the same way we find information, by firing up Google or our personal favorite search engine. I have been playing with Spock, a relatively new search engine that might make it easier for you to find the people you are looking for.

Read on to find out why using Spock might be worth your while.

If you're like me, you've been invited to join enough social networks that you'd like the e-mail invitations to have their own personal spam folder. And I had the same reaction when I was invited to Spock last year. But because it was from Chris Sherman of Search Engine Land, I accepted this one.

I dutifully claimed my profile and added some information to it. But when I started searching for people, I didn't find the results any better than what I get in Google. So I filed it away and decided to look at it again in a few months. I tried it again this week and have been pleasantly surprised.

Because Spock and Google are not trying to do the same thing, I can't really say that one is better than the other. Google is ranking Web sites that contain the person's name you entered, while Spock is ranking people whose name matches.

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So, you'd expect see a lot of duplicates in Google results when you search for someone even somewhat famous, because they'll show up in many Web sites. There's a lot less duplication in Spock, from what I've seen, because Spock attempts to automatically link together profiles for the same person. I did find some duplicates, but Spock includes pictures, so that alerted me to them right away.

I found Spock especially useful when searching for someone with a common name, especially if someone else with that name is famous. In Google, I might have to scroll through several pages of results to find the person I am looking for, because the famous person dominates the top of the results across dozens of sites. In Spock, the person I am looking for is very near the top, because the famous person takes up just result #1. And the pictures make it far easier to pick out the person you are looking for.

Spock claims that it uses both algorithmic and social factors to do its ranking based on reputation. If so, my reputation is not as good as my PageRank, because I am third on Spock and #1 on Google for my own name. But that isn't important. What is important is that vertical search facilities have rarely caused me to pay attention, but this one looks more promising than most.

Marketers who work in people-intensive businesses, such as consulting, should consider optimizing their entries in Spock. Just as people use LinkedIn and Facebook to find people, they might start using Spock, too. When they do, you want them to find you.


About the Author:
Copyright Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an IBM Distinguished Engineer, expert on Internet marketing, and the author of Search Engine Marketing, Inc., the best-selling book on search marketing. Mike also writes the popular Biznology newsletter and blog.

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