Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Popular Searches

I've noticed a growing trend with sites that have created "popular result" links made up from keywords that folks used to search their site. It's often fun to know what people are looking for. The idea being that you may search a site and find information that you hadn't even imagined was available. It's also like peering into a dark hole in the wall, and seeing what people are really interested in finding. You may remember some time back when many search engines advertised a box that displayed the last ten or more words that folks searched for. The results were often so filthy and insulting that you won't find that feature in use any more.

So have a look here at the popular results from a photo-dump site which now supports word tagging. The bigger the word appears, the more often appeared in the results.

Now let's have a look at Microsoft's Live page, where the search results aren't actual ... but rather the text has been sized differently to give the illusion that they are real.

You can't fool me Microsoft, I know what people really search for. And while I doubt "mom" is truly a popular search, I am betting that "milf" is.

It looks like Microsoft is attempting to gain interest in their "Live" project, by allowing people to create MySpace-ish pages. While I am sure that they know they can't wrestle away the MySpace crowd, they are targeting parents who might be concerned about all of the filth on MySpace. In their recent "At Home Security" newsletter they say, "If your kids use social networking sites, help protect them from online predators by following the advice in this article". Naturally their advice starts with bringing your child to the safe havens of Windows Live Spaces.

Windows Live Spaces is an unapologetic MySpace ripoff, but with a few pluses. Number one, there is not nearly the amount of advertising. The pages seem to load in a reasonable amount of time, and I am not seeing the constant error pages that I get with MySpace who just can't seem to manage their popularity very well. When you create a Live page, you are combining a: blog, social network circle, photo album, and a profile. I may just have to try it out and see what all the fuss is about.

And by fuss, I mean the targeted Microsoft advertising - not the "buzz from the community" which went right on using MySpace and complaining about how bad it is.