Zakta

Zakta

In July, I told you about a new experiment in search that was refreshing. Zakta is a new search engine — I know, I know. Who in their right mind would try and compete with Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on? — but one that has some legs. I mentioned it in one of my Pitch Log Mashups but with their recent full launch, I revisited them and want to make sure you understand the implications of what they’re doing.

Zakta allows you to do two things with your search results that other engines do not: 1) Edit and cull your results to be more reflective of what you’re really searching for and 2) Share those results with other users. There are a bunch of other interesting facets to the tool, but these are significant for a couple of reasons.

  1. If you find yourself searching for similar terms over and over again, you can save and simplify your searches.
  2. Sharing your searches with others, and following the searches of those on the network you trust is, at least theoretically, a powerful feature.

Imagine needing to know something about the New York Jets. You know Gary Vaynerchuk is perhaps the biggest Jets fan on the planet. If he were a connection on Zakta and had saved a search about the New York Jets (you know he would), wouldn’t you trust his editing of the search results better than keyword-based or even semantic-powered search results of some computer? I would.

The reason this is significant for businesses is that, if (and it’s a big if … more in a moment) Zakta takes off and becomes a relevant player in the search business, your company could become a go-to resource for relevant search results in your industry. By building trust with an online audience, providing relevant links, information and resources, you could be looked to as the thought leader or authority for your industry or location. If you then share your curated search results for the topics people trust you for, you’ve provided them with additional value and reason to trust you.

The key is not abusing that trust, of course.

Here’s where I think Zakta has challenges, and it is a fundamental point I hope many start-up types are paying attention to:

The biggest challenge you face with a new product is if the success of it depends on changing people’s behavior.

Zakta will have to prove, through relevancy, immediacy and usefulness, that changing people’s behavior from starting at Google, Yahoo, Bing or some other engine, is worth the switch. Will they do it? I’m cautiously optimistic.

I don’t know that my friend’s curated search results are the deal-breaker for me. Bing has changed my habits a bit, but only if I notice the first few Google results to giving me what I want. I still start with Google. Zakta’s connection tool only yielded one friend on their network for me. Granted, Pete Blackshaw‘s search results are worth looking at. Dude is smart. But without a wider net, Zakta becomes less appealing.

Still, I’m fascinated at the possibilities. Sundar Kadayam, Zakta’s CEO, is the former founder and CTO at Intelliseek and was also with Nielsen Buzzmetrics. He knows how to build successful web-based businesses. There’s a ton of relevance and power behind the Zakta idea. I just wonder how the masses will come. If they do, it has game-changing possibilities. If they don’t, they still may have enough technology and juice to get sold to someone big with big money.

Either way, it’s a tool worth looking at and spending some time with. My friend’s search results, culled and curated for my edification, are useful. If we all did it, we’d have something, now wouldn’t we?

What’s your take? What search feature would change your behavior? Is someone you know editing search results for a certain topic relevant? Why? Why not? The comments are yours.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

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  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Like you said: Completely depends on the network on there. This also could lead to massive gaming attempts on the system…has Zakta done anything to address that?

    • sundarkadayam

      Stuart, You are absolutely right about the possibility of massive gaming attempts on the system. Nearly every promising system has come under these pressures in the past. It would be audacious of me to claim that we've foreseen all possibilities and have a game-proof system. However, I will say that we spent a considerable amount of time understanding the typical motivations for gamers of systems like ours and nullify them in the very design of our system and the processes that surround the use of key capabilities. i.e. We've gotten a basic safety net in place now, but we have to remain vigilant for innovative gaming that is bound to occur as the system grows in popularity.

      Thanks
      Sundar Kadayam
      Founder & CEO, Zakta

      • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

        Thanks for the info Sundar :)

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  • sundarkadayam

    Jason, Thank you for this thoughtful post. You correctly point out the promise and potential as well as the challenges facing Zakta.

    Within my tiny team, we've always considered the vision and promise of Zakta as “Web search for YOU and people YOU trust!”. So trust is a key element at many levels in this. Your example of the use of Zakta by businesses (or for that matter, independent consultants, subject-matter experts, researchers, librarians, small business owners and others) to position themselves as thought-leaders or the authority on the best information in their industry or subject is spot-on.

    “Who in their right mind would try and compete with Google …” – my wife has been asking me that for a couple of years now, since I first sprung the idea of Zakta on her, back in 2006, and your post has only reaffirmed her view of me :-)

    On a serious note, your “cautiously optimistic” comment is a vote of confidence for my team. Our job is to execute well on many fronts from here, and we certainly plan to do our best in that regard. I have a request for your readers – we'd love to get feedback on what we could do better to make Zakta work really well for you! Please write to us and share your thoughts.

    Sundar Kadayam
    Founder & CEO, Zakta

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    This is a really important viewpoint and one picked up by the concept of a Branding Engine from M4siz limited in the UK. If you are in SEO or internet advertising then it is almost like the co-opetition of Microsoft and Intel. They are competitors but also work closely together to ensure new product upgrades drive sales for each of them. So too for SEO and search engines.
    The M4siz approach reverses this idea within the consumer search market and says “how do brands create space for themselves in the complex world of SEM ?” Their approach is to create a competitor free environment by focusing on brand campaign hooks or triggers that can then be typed directly into the address bar of the browser, bypassing the search engine. This provides greater independence from the vagrancies of SEO while allowing brand managers to take real time control of campaign performance. It also provides brand managers with options for multi-level and multi-source data queries to monitor several factors impacting on any give campaign or indeed project.

  • http://www.torrentbasket.com Torrent Basket

    This is a really important viewpoint and one picked up by the concept of a Branding Engine from M4siz limited in the UK. If you are in SEO or internet advertising then it is almost like the co-opetition of Microsoft and Intel. They are competitors but also work closely together to ensure new product upgrades drive sales for each of them. So too for SEO and search engines.
    The M4siz approach reverses this idea within the consumer search market and says “how do brands create space for themselves in the complex world of SEM ?” Their approach is to create a competitor free environment by focusing on brand campaign hooks or triggers that can then be typed directly into the address bar of the browser, bypassing the search engine. This provides greater independence from the vagrancies of SEO while allowing brand managers to take real time control of campaign performance. It also provides brand managers with options for multi-level and multi-source data queries to monitor several factors impacting on any give campaign or indeed project.

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