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PC World knows where it's at

June 23, 1999
Web posted at: 2:44 p.m. EDT (1844 GMT)

by Desiree Everts

(IDG) -- Quantity is no longer the Holy Grail of Web searching. Now it's all about quality, alleviating data overload, and retrieving truly relevant sites, says Internet technology developer WebSideStory. To meet this challenge the company launched, an Internet "surf" engine driven by popularity ratings.
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 * Computerworld Minute starts from the premise that search engines are invaluable research tools, but that there's too much information out there. The more you search, the more obscure links you come up with. Who has time to sift through 55,000 entries?

What's the secret to hitting pay dirt on the first try?'s answer is to provide search results based on quality and popularity. Sites are ranked in terms of the time users spend on the site, bookmark ratios, update frequency, performance, and so on. Traditional search engines return results based on word placement and frequency. employs a tracking system to compile real-time visitor data, similar to a large-scale test of passive profiling technology. Users ultimately determine the sites that will be covered or highlighted. If you need a shortcut to the latest and greatest, and you're short on time, may be the answer.

A Few Good Links

The interface is friendly and fairly well organized. Site categories include general topics such as health and fitness, home and family, entertainment, shopping, and travel. A search on, say, "pro-wrestling" and "Florida," returns links to the top ten returns for your search, ranked according to popularity or quality, whichever you choose.

In exchange for this filtered information, invites you to rate the sites that you visit while you are searching. When you click on a link in, it returns the desired site in a frame; in the remaining frame you can click on a scale of one to five to register your impression of the site. It's entirely your choice whether to participate; nothing happens if you don't vote, and you can close the frame if you wish. also applies its popularity filter and top ten metaphor to categories of Web sites, which creates some pretty strange results. For example, on the day that I tested the site,'s most popular "Society and Culture" link was a site for Anwar Ibrahim, a Malaysian political prisoner. A link to a pro-wrestling site followed close behind.'s strengths lie in leading you to the best and most popular sites for a well-defined topic. But don't come here if you're researching something obscure. relies on the masses to keep its search results realistic, and if the masses don't participate the results can be skewed. For example, if you're doing a search on "villas in Lugano, Switzerland," don't expect to find a whole lot--if anything at all.

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