Searching the blogs, scanning the posts, feed-powered search: there used to be more startups offering blogsearch than there are characters in a Twitter message today. But no more. Today blogsearch engines fade away all the time and almost no one notices.
But when Ask.com shuttered its blogsearch engine this month, I noticed. It made me sad, because it was the best blogsearch engine in the whole world. And now it's gone. You, dear reader, probably didn't even notice. But let me explain what we're missing out on now that it's gone.
"We decided to sunset this feature on May 4 for two reasons," Ask's Jon Murchinson told us today by email. "1. there was low usage of the product and 2. we are dedicating all available resources to our [November launched] Q&A strategy."
The Strengths of Ask Blogsearch
- Great spam control.
- Sort by source popularity.
If a blog didn't have a meaningful number of subscribers in Bloglines, but it showed up in search results, Ask suspected that it might be a spam or low-quality blog. Likewise, you could sort results by most-recent posts but sometimes it was really nice to see what was being said about a particular topic by the most popular bloggers in a given niche. That was a useful feature.
And now it's gone, and that's a real shame.
Sometimes you're looking to see what experts in a field are writing in long-form on their blogs. Not spitting out on Twitter. Not posting on a static website. Blog posts. There is an incredible body of knowledge in that medium, and search by popularity was a really useful way to sort it. Surely someone offers a similar service. Who?