Monday, December 11, 2006

I Searched For An Idea And It Found Me

Search engines are great tools. Blogs are great tools. But both have their short comings. You see, you can't easily control most search engines so that you limit them to only the types of results you want to get. Take Google for instance: a search for the word, "poet" brings up any number of listings but look at the #4 listing. It's a software company that has absolutely nothing to do with poetry.

And what's wrong with the first and second listings? They're both the same website. And coming in at #3 is dear old Wikipedia. Look, I like Wikipedia, I use it daily but it's predicted that at Wikipedia's current rate of growth Wikipedia may well become the #1 result for every single query in all of the major databases sometime in the next two years. The first actual listing of a real live poet comes in at #20, the second at #42. That would be Billy Jones of (Yes, that is your's truly.) So why is it the #1 and #2 poets on the Internet today are placed #20 and #42 in a Google search for the word, "poet?"

Note: Search engine results change often, a few months ago I was #1, last month I was #5 and next month I might not even be on the radar.

Now, let's move on to blogs, shall we. Blogs are great, I love 'em, they help build communities, and they're fun, but most blogs are all about one person, that being the author of that blog. No matter what the purpose or the context, most blogs are still about an individual. Not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm thinking there has to be more.

So I came up with two blogs that combine search and blogging limited to certain topics, the first being and the second being Blogsboro411. Unlike search engines, I can control what websites are listed in either database. is a database of poetry bloggers and Blogsboro411 is a listing of bloggers who live in the 11 county Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. The bloggers submit their blogs along with their bios and anything else they consider to be their passions be it their business, volunteer efforts, personal info or anything in-between.

A similar project limited to 100 entries in each category is Any listing can be added to, the only questions are how will they list you, will your listing remain in their top 100, or will you be deleted from their database?

Oh sure, human edited search is nothing new, the Open Directory Project has been around for years. I use Open Directory to power two search applications, and but you won't find my websites listed in either one. You see, despite the fact that I've 3 books in print (two of them poetry books) have no less than 3 novels online, post poetry online every single day, and edit the world's first and only full-featured poetry aggregator-- the "editors" at Open Directory have never bother to accept my application as a poet. Their editors consider my blogs to be personal websites when the one topic I shy away from is blogging about my personal life. And have you ever tried to get your own listing at Wikipedia? Did I mention I'm the #2 poet on the Internet today?

Look, I'm not mad, I just decided to do something about it and so can you. Is there a subject you specialize in? If so then why not own a piece of it? Odds are we'll not see another Google, Yahoo, or MSN emerge in our lifetimes but the niches are out there for those of you who desire to fill them for fun and for profit.