Over at the Infodoodads blog, Laurie blogged about a new search engine for older adults called cRANKy. The cRANKy search engine was created by the Eons Company, which has a 50+ social networking site called “Eons”. Rob, a member of Eons technical staff, wrote that “Eons editors review thousands of sites, and our members push those rankings up or down as they use the sites and rate them. You get to the most helpful sites faster, because the search results that cRANKy presents first are the ones our community has ranked the highest.”
This is a quick review of the cRANKy search engine. First of all, you do not have to be a member of the social network to use the search engine. However, you do need to be a member of the Eons social network if you want to rate or review websites. I tried a sample search using “caregiving” as the search word. At the top of the search results are suggested terms or phrases to narrow or expand the focus of the search. Some of the suggestions were helpful, such as “caregiver stress”, while some weren’t relevant at all, such as “Where Can I Find an Example Paper on APA Style”. Next on the page is a colored box with 2 sponsored links. Then there is a link to an article about caregiving, written by a Eons staff member. Next, the page gives four results from icareforyou.net, caregiving.org, thirdage.com, and caregiver.com. The MedlinePlus webpage about caregiving was not listed until the second page of results. At the bottom of each page of results, there was a second batch of four sponsored links.
Overall, I think that the search results were ok. I would have been happier if the MedlinePlus page was ranked a little higher, but it was much higher in the search results than the Google search results for the same search, so the site was easier to find. However, I do not think that having two “sponsored links” boxes on each page is a good idea. Having so many ads makes it harder for people to find the unbiased websites. On the other hand, I do like the idea of people being able to rate and review web pages. It will be interesting to see how popular this search engine becomes. As with all social review and ranking websites, cRANKy’s value will grow in proportion to the number of people who contribute reviews.
Have any of you used cRANKy? What do you think about it?