Does Accoona Suck?

March 10, 2006

Topics: Reviews.

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.

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3 Comments to “Does Accoona Suck?”

  1. That’s great news.

    I’ll look forward to seeing you around the forums. I think the new accessibilty forum has some great potential.

  2. Thanks a lot for that information! I had found a number of references to forum behaviors but not a huge number of specific case references – it’s good to hear a relevant anecdote.

    I recently joined Cre8asite forums, myself (prodded by your post on the new accessibility area!)and am finding it to be a good resource.

  3. Last year, they hit us a few times at Cre8asite Forums.

    One person would make a first post in the forums asking if anyone had ever tried Accoona before. Then, someone else making their first post in the forums would come on and respond, with details about all of the things that they liked about the search engine.

    Funny, they both were posting from the same IP address.

    A month or so later, we saw the very same tag team effort. And then again a month or so after that.

    If they focused on building a better search engine, maybe they wouldn’t have to spam forums like that.