Barry Schwartz, of Search Engine Roundtable, posted a short note at Search Engine Journal today about theAccoona search engine. Accoona describes itself as an "Artificial Intelligence Search Engine" – which seems like it may be a bit glorified, to me.
The basis of its so-called Artificial Intelligence technology is that the search engine learns to "learns to ‘understand’ the meaning of words, so users can ‘super-target’ keywords during searches for relevant results in priority order." (ABC News) In my brief play time with the search engine, I saw no particular evidence of any behavior which was different from any other search engine, however. Perhaps they haven’t launched this technology yet – the article above, from ABCnews.com, didn’t clearly specify this, although it did state that Accoona was expecting to "upgrade its American portal and to launch across Europe within 2 months."
(A rather ambiguously phrased statement.)
Regardless, I saw nothing inherent to the search engine to say that it was a bad search. The results I got in my test searches were more or less what I had expected.
Yet, there are grounds for being "anti-Accoona" – thus the creation of sites such as Accoona Sucks. It has little to do with the quality of their search, and a lot to do with some underhanded marketing techniques found on a few forums.
Forum marketing is a scary world, though – the fact is, there are entire companies dedicated to marketing in web forums. I can’t say I approve of this kind of underhanded behavior. A forum is intended as a place where people can present their honest opinions, and can assume that what they are reading is somebody’s honest opinion. To be paid to post on a forum seems a long way away from best practice marketing.
I can’t easily judge what really happened with these forum posts – perhaps Accoona was acting in bad faith, perhaps an employee went overboard. However, on the whole, Accoona is going to get a thumbs down from me – from boredom, if nothing else. The search engine just doesn’t seem to have anything unique to offer. Maybe later.