Oodle Rolls out Personal Search

4 Comments
Oodle Personals

Introduction: Oodle Rolls out Personal Search

Last week, Oodle launched its personals search service, extending its role as a classifieds listings vertical search tool which currently covers everything from job to real estate listing.

Personals is a booming industry, a recent Pew Study notes that “31 percent of all American adults (63 million people) know someone who has used a dating Web site, while 26 percent (53 million people) know someone who has gone out with a person he or she met through a dating Web site.”(1)

With such a large market available, Oodle Personals has found a useful niche:

  • With over 800 dating sites on the web, it will be difficult for a person to necessarily find a niche dating website catering the to the person’s criteria.(2) Oodle helps a person discover these websites.
  • Relating to above, Oodle can help smaller niche online personal websites with greater exposure, with a person finding a website they would not other wise meet if they stick to the majors like Match.com. As in its classifieds sections (or search engines for that matter), listings returned based on a user’s query links directly back to the original websites.
  • Oodle seems to allow for more flexible keyword-based queries on personal listings than would be currently possible on some of the sites it indexes.
  • Oodle crawls beyond strictly dating sites to include social networks like Friendster to increase the pool of profiles to view.

Vertical Search: Expending the Definition of Search Engine Optimization

Oodle, and others like Vast.com, are the type of sites that are helping shape a broader image of what is search engine is, going beyond the general search tools of the Big Three.

Indeed, as mentioned in “Organic Traffic Optimization? Doing Agnostic SEO“, the growing lists of vertical search engines places emphasis on the need at ensuring a website’s content is indexed beyond Google, Yahoo and MSN. Content should also be looked at how competitively positioned it is on vertical search tools. For example, people doing online dating search can be very picky – on ethnicity, religion, age, interests – does the profile easily lists all of such data? Is the data listed in a way people would search for? Available on feeds to engines like Oodle? Publicly (like LinkedIn does now)? Note that there are also privacy issues like “What control does the user has to be indexed by a third-party?”

Disclaimer: I know several Oodlers quite well and have even attended a Oodle sponsored event (To SMCers: and not, I didnt get a free drink out of it).

Sources:

  1. Gottlieb, Lori, “How Do I Love Thee”, The Atlantic, March 2006
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_dating_service

4 comments

  1. Oodle’s multi-vertical market presence is indeed is impressive. However, Oodle fails to return consistently relevant search results.

    Case in point,a search for an ‘insurance specialist’ job returned a position for ‘Forklift Drivers and Material Handlers’.

    Oodle’s inabiity to discern the contextual relationship of search keywords marginalizes the user experience.

    Clearly, it can (must) do better. After all – isn’t that why we call it search!

  2. Mid-week Update: confab.yahoo, B-to-B vertical search, Oodle, GenieKnows.com, Trulia…

    Yesterday, I was over at the confab.yahoo event on Prediction Markets . You can read my report about it over on the Read/WriteWeb . (Thanks, Richard MacManus, for the opportunity!) The big news in vertical search this week was a…

  3. Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Oodle does have ways to go on improving their search technology, but I still believe they are unique positioned in terms of their product. I think this is even more apparent when comparing Oodle’s positioning with users compared Edgeio’s.