The Three Forms Of Search...And The Rise Of Curation Spam
There seems to be three forms of search emerging as Internet users try to deal with the tsunami of information and the increasingly effective techniques of spammers.
The first form of search is Google, and this will continue to be important, as much from habit, and as much as there isn't much of a choice.
The second is tapping into your own socal network to find what you need. This is limited to the subjects that your social circle knows about and depending on its size, and the time of day, it might not yield much.
Also, there is a less trust in "peers" as a recent Edelman survey found, and more trust in "experts."
The third way to search is by looking at content that has been curated by "experts." You don't have to be an accredited expert but you have to be passionate about your topic.
Pearltrees, for example, has a large community of such experts. (Pearltrees is an advisory client.)
Curators derive a pleasure from their activities, and it is also a form of altruism to collect the best information, and that's why the product of curation is usually well thought out and highly relevant.
Curation, at least so far, is relatively spam free. That's because it doesn't lend itself to be easily created by algorithms or affected by spambots. Machines are good at aggregation, but aggregation is not curation.
However, curation is not immune to spammers and this will become a greater problem as the role of curation expands in terms of the number of creators and users.
And it depends on how Google will evolve its search algorithm. The search giant has been talking about looking for signals from a wide variety of "social" and other sources to include in its algorithm. It could tap into the various curation communities to look for those signals.
The original Google algorithm was heavily based on PageRank, which looks at the links in a web page as a form of human-powered curation of what's important.
As it continues to look beyond links and include other signals such as that in Pearltrees communities, or the content that people are sharing on Facebook and Twitter, the spammers could move over to those communities in an effort to game the Google ranking system.
For example, Demand Media, uses SEO techniques to make sure that its content ranks high in Google results. Although it is not a spammer, as such, Demand is a good example of how it is possible to use scale across a large amount of content to make it stand out in Google.
Demand has more than 17,000 writers, it could easily harness this army to move into curation and to set up curated content that is in tune with Google's algorithm changes.
And others could do the same to varying degrees.
It'll be interesting to see if the curation community can resist the coming influx of spammers and how that will be done.
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