Own the Water Cooler: Boost Your Traffic with ROCKZi

We launched ROCKZi to help bring communities of like-minded people together to discuss and comment on relevant and timely content. Hot on the heels of “Create a Board,” we are taking it to the next level and giving you the tools to embed fully customizable ROCKZi boards on your own website. Social content, people. About any topic. On your site.

Example of a ROCKZi board on a website.

We believe discussions on topical content are best served where experts reside. ROCKZi’s “embed” feature provides a powerful platform to bring content, conversations and traffic back to site owners. All the content is pre-wired into the holy trinity of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) – so when you add a ROCKZi board to your site, every share, tweet, and pin will drive links and traffic directly to your site, not rockzi.com. Go ahead, you can say it. That ROCKZ!

There are a lot of social news sites and aggregators out there. We want to provide you with a toolkit to add the functionality of social sites onto your own website. Adding a board requires very little effort, yet the feature is chock-full of easy-to-use tools that allow you to create boards based on your interests and customize them to fit your brand. You can even feature your own original content. It’s a fantastic way to share your voice and perspective on what you care about.

You can find the “Embed” button under the title, in the center.

Quick and easy customization tools!

Customized, primed, and ready to go!

Have a tech blog? Embed Geekery. Do you write for a website about parenting? Add ParentZ. Or as we mentioned, tailor the board to your site by creating one from scratch. Own your expertise, engage users, keep them coming back for more!

Here are a variety of websites that have put ROCKZi’s functionality on their site. Go ahead and give it a try - add a board on your site and let us know what you think!

Earth Echo - marine and environmental awareness
Beats for Boobs - breast cancer awareness
Faculty eCommons (1) - online course enhancements
Faculty eCommons (2) - learning technology tools
Guitar Shop TV - guitars and music scene
Bikelane.com - cycling
BottleCount- wine
BurnsMoto - motorcycles
Curious Bits - arts and culture
Glinka - classical music
Photodrug - photography
Reagan News - conservative politics
Sutherland Gold - tech
We Are Notre Dame - Notre Dame football

See it in action right here!


Posted in ROCKZi | 5 Comments

Share the Love! Create Boards on ROCKZi

We are excited to tell you all about our new “Create a Board” feature on ROCKZi! As the product evolves, we have you in mind, dear User, and ways you can get more out of ROCKZi. What better way than to put the power in your hands to create boards based on your interests?

Sure, we have over thirty great boards to peruse, running the gamut from politics to entertainment, but what about those niche topics that really make your eyes perk up – your favorite band, theremin, baking – you get the picture.

Because ROCKZi is a social product and relies on viral growth, user-created boards are interactive and shareable for the ROCKZi community. As the creator of the board, you will get credited, score karma points, and have editing privileges. The board itself will be available for all to enjoy, and open for article submissions.

To create a board, you can use the search box in the drop-down menu to see if a board already exists. If it doesn’t, you will get to a page that gives you the option to create it. Here, I did a search for “ny fashion week” in the search box.

You can also click “Create Board” at the top of the page to go directly to the “create” page.

Once you hit the “create” button, you will see a preview of your board along with a list of feeds to get you started. You can delete the feeds you don’t want. As the board creator, you can also delete individual stories at any time – whether they are generated by feeds, added by you, or submitted by other users.

Hit “Accept” and voilà! Shiny, new board.

The boards you create will be accessible via your user profile and the menu search box. A handy tip as you create boards: make your topic search as clean and direct as possible, and watch out for spelling errors. This will allow us to return the feeds that are the best fit.

When we started out with our original batch of boards, we took the same approach as our blekko slashtags in that we manually curated high quality news and blog sites. At the same time, our coders have been honing the system to automate some of the process. Whether curated or crawled, we look for sources dedicated to topics as well as news results to grab board content. Since we look for news feeds that are about specific topics, there may not be enough content for some board ideas. For instance, vanity boards may not work out, unless you’re famous like Britney Spears.

In the rare instance where ROCKZi doesn’t float up content when you feel it ought to, contact us and we will do our best to bring the board into existence!

Check it out and let us know what you think. Happy board-creating!

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Blekko Goes to BlogHer

Today we bring you an interview with our director of business development, Nicole Patterson, and original content editor, Adrianna Gould. Adrianna and Nicole were the lucky gals from blekko who got to attend BlogHer, a conference attended by thousands of women (and some men too) to network with fellow citizens of the blogosphere.

You’re accustomed to going to library conferences, so BlogHer is a different scene. This is also the second year you attended. What does blekko value about BlogHer that keeps you going back?

AG: BlogHer is a conference focused on women who blog. These women have powerful stories and an audience of readers. There are brands there trying to get bloggers to talk about their products. This is a very powerful and inspiring group of women. Blekko wants to be part of the conversation.

Give us a sense of the vibe at BlogHer. I want to hear it all – the energy, the sessions, the big-name speakers, the parties. What is the big draw for bloggers and exhibitors?

NP: BlogHer is a lot of fun. You can feel the energy and everyone seems genuinely excited to be there. I was inspired by all of the women there who blog in their free time as well as hold down jobs and run households. They feel they have valuable information to share so they take the time and effort to write about it.

AG: This year Barack Obama, Katie Couric, and Martha Stewart were some of the speakers addressing the bloggers. You’ve got exhibitors giving away lots of fun women-focused products. And then you’ve got the awesome after-parties, so you can imagine how much energy there is at the conference.

Syndication seems to be an important takeaway for attendees. How can bloggers use blekko and ROCKZi to their advantage?

AG: Bloggers can submit their articles to ROCKZi boards. We have over thirty topical boards, including CraftZ, which is about crafting, and ParentZ, which is all about being a parent. I’d also encourage bloggers to check out blekkogear, where they can get free badges, widgets, and search boxes for their site. Lastly, we’ve got great SEO tools that bloggers can use to get analytics for blog traffic.

You mentioned people got excited about ROCKZi. What did they love about it?

AG: It’s a new digital offering that has a lot of potential. Brands can create custom ROCKZi boards to engage with their audience, and a lot of companies were getting excited about that. I heard people saying that it’s tough to find fresh content, but ROCKZi pulls in all the fresh content using blekko’s realtime crawl of the web.

Which session stands out to you?

NP: I attended “Blogging for the Love of It” where they talked about ways to earn money through blogs that are very low touch.

What was your favorite piece of swag?

NP: A lot of organizations had great swag, I liked the homeopathic booths where they were giving away full-sized products like Oscillococcinum and Zicam.

AG: I loved the free trade bracelets from India. The company was supporting female entrepreneurship abroad, paying fair wages to make the bracelets.

Outside the conference activities, did you get to see some of the sights? What was your favorite New York moment?

AG: The New York delis are awesome. You can’t get a sandwich like there anywhere else. I saw a Broadway show, of course. But my favorite moment was having dinner at Birdland, this famous jazz club that’s been there since the 1940s. There are candles on the table, a neon sign in the window, and red velvet curtains behind the band. It was an unforgettable night.

Tell me about Sparklecorn! Is it as amazing as it sounds?

AG: Yes, it is…. Imagine an open bar, a unicorn cake, a DJ, and a room full of bloggers dressed to the nines and dancing the night away. Oh yeah, and throw in some unicorn balloon hats and rainbows.

Any tips for first-timers planning to attend BlogHer13?

NP: Bring lots of business cards and marketing materials to give out.

AG: Bring an extra duffle bag in your suitcase, because you are going to need room for all that free stuff. Don’t be intimidated by all the new faces; just strike up a conversation and make a new blogger friend. And bring a sparkly dress for Sparklecorn.

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Introducing ROCKZi

In life, there are some pairings that just work — wine and cheese, Bowie and Queen, Nutella and pretty much anything. Today, we are pleased to introduce ROCKZi and the beginning of a superb pairing with blekko. Temporal content is incredibly important when featuring both news and search results. ROCKZi is our answer to tackling the search and social divide.

ROCKZi is a news website that features high quality news stories and organizes them by topic — from celebrity gossip to the latest elections updates to water cooler fodder. But people don’t want to simply read news; they want to interact with it. More and more, we are seeing that people want to curate the web, and ROCKZi gives them the right set of tools to curate in a way that is easy and seamless. Everyone reading content on ROCKZi is essentially curating it. By voting up an article, leaving a comment, or submitting links, users are socially driving news and collecting the stories they care about.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of the features, shall we? The site is visually pleasing and organized so you can quickly find the type of news you want. Clicking the “this rockz” button automatically puts the article onto your own user board and gives the article more weight in terms of buzz and popularity. You can also submit articles that you want to share with the ROCKZi community and your Facebook friends by clicking the “submit” button on the board, or by using the nifty browser bookmarklet. The bookmarklet allows you to add stories from any website to ROCKZi news boards.

This Rockz← Drag this to your Bookmarks Bar

We are constantly thinking of ways to empower our users to help shape web results. Given our powerful search engine and our editorial perspective on search, we believe we can use the social application of ROCKZi to improve blekko search results. ROCKZi currently has 30 top-level topics, but with the hundreds of existing blekko slashtags, the possibilities are vast. In turn, social signals generated by ROCKZi users will translate into search signals that we can use to identify the highest quality search results.

My favorite boards are MuZe for the latest in the books and art scene, and PopRockZ for entertainment news. Plus, with the Olympics coming up, I’m sure I’ll spend lots of time poring over OlympicZ 2012. How about you? Give ROCKZi a whirl and find your favorite boards. And don’t forget to tell your friends.

Posted in Features, ROCKZi | Tagged | 2 Comments

Blekko Upgrades SEO Data

Blekko integrated the up-to-date crawl information that powers our search engine index directly into our SEO product offerings. Not only is the data more comprehensive, but there are major improvements in real-time updates to our SEO pages.

When it comes to pages crawled, the sweet spot for blekko is a little more than 4 billion pages. To keep our crawl fresh, we update at least 100 million pages each day. As soon as our crawler, Scoutjet, crawls a webpage, users have access to information about it through blekko’s SEO product. We want to enable people to see the Internet the way a search engine sees it, especially what the rest of the internet is saying about an url.

Scoutjet updates the top ranked starting pages on the Internet around every hour, while other high quality pages are checked at least every week. The continuous updates to blekko’s SEO data include page content, meta data, duplicate text, and inbound link counts. Staying up-to-date is as much about forgetting the old as finding the new. So, we eliminate inbound links that are no longer live and duplicate content that is no longer available.

Since our traffic continues to grow rapidly, we are bringing more machines into service to keep our site humming. While we were upgrading our site to handle more traffic, we decided to leverage our highly customizable NoSQL database to make real time access to our crawl publicly available. Our “combinator” abstraction proved critical in quickly making the right tradeoffs between crawl throughput and user request latency.

We hope you will be pleased with the new and improved performance for web search and SEO data!

Posted in Features, SEO | Tagged | 11 Comments

Mozilla accelerates search navigation with blekko

We’re thrilled about the new Add-on the Prospector team at Mozilla Labs created! Back in March the Mozilla team invited us over to their offices to give a brown bag presentation about blekko. Afterwards, some team members approached us with some questions and some ideas to kick around. After a couple of meetings and a bunch of back and forth between our teams, the result is now live! The add-on they built creates a drop down suggestion with a favicon to help identify results faster, saving the user a click. They used our auto-suggest API and Nick here at blekko linked it to our nav query list to obtain the icons.

When you mouse over the suggested sites a preview pane appears for quick referencing without going to the site with a click. Now when you search, blekko can detect from your first letter what you may be searching for. “f” triggers facebook, fandango, frys and food network.

You can save time by searching faster than ever with this new blekko search add-on. Install the add-on in Firefox and make blekko your default search engine in the search bar. Give it a try and you’ll soon be hooked.

Install it today!

Mozilla Labs blogs about it here.

Posted in Features, Partnerships, Technology | Comments Off

Librarians Love Blekko

Computers in Libraries 2012

And blekko loves them back. You may have heard by now that our Content Team has a strong foundation in Library and Information Science. Librarians build taxonomies and dig ontologies. Librarians understand the complexities of organizing data and disseminating information. At blekko, this knowledge drives the creation of slashtags which in turn intersect our web results.

Picture the summer of 2011 in New Orleans. The American Library Association (ALA) conference is in full swing and a great deal of the revelers on Bourbon Street are librarians in town for the meeting. Blekko is there, attending our first library conference. Since then, we have made it a point to attend all the major meetings. Why, you may ask, does blekko sponsor and attend library conferences?

Our search engine appeals to librarians because of our focus on curating high quality content – similar to a librarian directing people to better resources. In our case, our resources are slashtags. The things that matter most to our librarian users are the advanced privacy features, especially handy when used in schools, and a more protected search in general. Here are some more qualities and features they appreciate about blekko:

1. We are a free and customizable service, making slashtag technology accessible to all users.

2. Blekko returns targeted results based on quality rather than SEO. We meet librarians’ needs by offering a variety of trusted resources that are easy to distinguish.

3. Librarians can embed our search engine into their respective domains.

4. Libraries can adopt custom slashtags.

5. The slashtag directory and our indices.

6. Advanced search features such as /date and /daterange. Try out /edu and /gov to search only .edu and .gov sites.

Useful Slashtags for Librarians

We make it easy for librarians to stay up-to-date on the latest news in librarianship. If users want to know what kind of programming for teens other libraries are offering, they can do a targeted search for “teens /librarianship /date”.

Users have the option of doing a straight web search or searching exclusively within a given slashtag. You don’t have to be familiar with our slashtags to get great web results. If a query is relevant to a slashtag, we will integrate slashtag content to improve the quality of the search results.

When you enter the query “research libraries”, it is easy to see which sites are in the /libraries slashtag. Boosting slashtags not only improves results, but also offers a visual cue to provide higher confidence in our results. Since librarians serve populations with a wide range of needs, these topical slashtags are quite useful. They may be assisting students with research projects (“us constitution”, “cure for cancer research”) or directing a community member to job resources (“sample resumes”).

Based on feedback we’ve received at the various library conferences, here are some well-loved slashtags amongst the library set:

We will be exhibiting at the library conferences this summer. If you’re attending, drop by the booth for a demo and a free t-shirt!

Upcoming Conferences:
Medical Libraries Association, May 19-22, Seattle
American Librarian Association Annual Conference, June 22-25, Anaheim
Special Libraries Association, July 15-18, Chicago

Posted in Features, Marketing & Tradeshows | 1 Comment

Searching without PageRank

… implemented in an hour (!)

[ Discuss this post on Hacker News ]

I recently saw a nice Hacker News discussion about millionshort.com, an experimental search engine that makes it easy to search the web, minus the million most popular websites.

blekko’s search engine has a feature called slashtags, which can be used to either restrict a search to a list of websites, or remove that list of websites from the results. We typically use this feature for human curation, for example, picking out the best health websites. Hm, I thought, what an interesting hack! I’ll take that list of the most popular websites, and make slashtags which can be used to either search or exclude the most popular 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, or 100,000 websites. Our current effective limit to slashtag size is 100,000 websites, so I couldn’t do the most popular 1,000,000 sites.

The way you search with a slashtag on blekko is to add /slashtagname to your search. In this case the top-100,000 site slashtag is named /top10/top100k, and we use a minus sign to exclude those sites:

And, after about an hour of work, voilà! Here are a couple of examples of our new bottom-website search engine in action.

great concert

This query happens to show another blekko feature in action, autoboosted slashtags. When you search for great concert, we automatically figure out that you’re interested in music, and so we use our curated /music slashtag to improve the results:

great concert

But, for the purposes of this experiment, let’s turn off this autoboost feature by adding /web on the end of our query:

great concert /web

Now let’s look at the web, minus the top 10, 100, etc. websites:

great concert -/top10/top10 – Voilà! amazon.com disappears.

great concert -/top10/top100

great concert -/top10/top1000

great concert -/top10/top10k – mtv.com and emusic.com disappear.

great concert -/top10/top100k

hugo winner

The Hugo Award is given annually to the best science fiction book of the year. Let’s see what the bottom of the web thinks about it:

hugo winner

hugo winner -/top10/top10

hugo winner -/top10/top100 – flickr and about.com disappear; davidbrin.com appears.

hugo winner -/top10/top1000 – goodreads disappears, librarything appears

hugo winner -/top10/top10k – io9, boingboing, and Esquire disappear; dpsinfo, sfwriter.com, and mabfan.livejournal.com appear

hugo winner -/top10/top100k – no change

Try it for yourself!

[ Discuss this post on Hacker News ]

Search the top 100,000:
Search all but the top 100,000:
Search the top 10,000:
Search all but the top 10,000:
Search the top 1000:
Search all but the top 1000:
Search the top 100:
Search all but the top 100:
Search the top 10:
Search all but the top 10:
Posted in Technology | 3 Comments

Infographic: blekko by the numbers

JBofill Creative Partners made this infographic based on the recent press about blekko. This is super cool. Thanks guys!

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Up and to the right!



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