Feed Your Coders Hassle-Free with ZeroCater

Most companies in Silicon Valley know if you provide food for your employees their productivity goes up. It’s a nice perk that keeps them happy and in the office coding away, rather than getting in their cars to go downtown to grab a one hour burrito lunch.

In 2004 at Topix we started with Maldonado’s Pizza on Fridays. The navy blue shag carpeted office above a trophy shop strewn with old couches reminded me of my fraternity days in Delta Upsilon. Soon enough we had names for the pizzas, notably the ‘Hot Bob’ with hot sausage, pineapple and jalapeno. My creation the ‘Burnszilla’ oozed with hot sausage, mushrooms and caramelized onions. New offices a few years later and pizza turned to catered food from local restaurants.

And then there was AmberGate; our administrative assistant ordered Amber Indian food a la carte for lunch and the bill came to $639! Later on we bought an outdoor propane grill and I would make bourbon-apple juice baby back ribs. We would have a picnic outside in the parking lot with nothing left but pork bones. Good times indeed.

Fast-forward to blekko seven years later and the palates of software engineers have evolved, or perhaps devolved. It’s just more complicated because they expect more and you have to deal with lacto-ovo, ovo, vegetarians, vegans, fishetarians and chickentarians. A huge innovation in pizza lunches occurred by having Amici’s Pizza on Mondays instead of Fridays because the pizza leftovers would last all week instead of drying up in the fridge over the weekend. Soon after pizza was supplemented with Waiter.com on Wednesdays; Thai food, sushi and falafels were the main staples.

Ron Conway recommended ZeroCater.com for us to use. You just have to tell them how many employees, how many people are vegetarian, the date and time and lunch magically appears. No hassles, no preordering. The average meal costs about $12.50 per person, which is not too bad.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blekko Results Now Include Facebook Comments!

You know what’s more important than President Obama speaking at Facebook headquarters yesterday? The fact that you can now discuss President Obama speaking at Facebook straight from your search results!

Today on blekko we’ve launched a great new feature that integrates Facebook comments into search. Now you not only get our trusted web search results, but also the breaking news, opinions, insight and updates of your friends. Search results and social results literally living side by side. Pretty cool, eh?

Check this out. The other day we felt an earthquake at our office, so I searched for ‘california earthquake‘. Low and behold, three of my friends had posted about this in their news feed. I know this because now those posts show up directly in my search results! And with the comment widget, I can talk to them directly about their posts, my search or anything else.

I can click on ‘view all /facebook results’ or just use the ‘/facebook’ slashtag to get results of all your friends’ Facebook comments.

For the first time your friends have an active presence in your search results. Search for ‘sushi‘ – straight from the search results page you can discuss with your friends – anybody been to any of these places? which of these are the best? any good ones missing?

Depending if I’m feeling social or not, this feature can be turned off or on in the blekko preferences. So, login to blekko and connect with Facebook and give /facebook a try!

More coverage…

TechCrunch: Human-Curated Search Engine Blekko Adds Facebook Comments To Its Search Results

Search Engine Land: Blekko Adds Facebook Comments To Search Results (But Why?)

WebProNews: Blekko Deepens Facebook Integration as Google Continues to Ignore It

Posted in Features | 1 Comment

Road Show or Road Kill: 8 Ways to Come Out Alive

We just spent four grueling weeks on the road in four cities in March. SMX West, SXSW, SES and Web 2.0. Before we left I felt like Flounder in Animal House exuberantly exclaiming, “Oh boy, is this greeeeaaaat!” and by the end of the month I felt like Chris Tolles’ alligator jacket after a four night bender in Miami Beach.

With a full tank of gas we started off with a local gig down the road in San Jose at Search Marketing Expo West where Rich was on two panels ‘The Spam Police’ and ‘Ask the Search Engines.’ Mike also presented to a packed crowd of search engine experts explaining the benefits of blekko’s free SEO data.

A few days later we landed at SXSW in Austin, Texas co-hosting the ‘Search Party‘ with Chomp, Hipmunk, PopChips, SV Angel and aplusk. The party was successful with over 500 guests hanging out on the roof top patio of the Hangar Lounge. SXSW was gigantic this year as the film, interactive and music components were all combined in the expo hall. The blekko booth was swarmed the first morning and we gave out over 600 shirts in the first three hours of the show. Downtown Austin turned into Mardi Gras meets Fort Lauderdale spring break as soon as the music segment of the festival started. At this point I was content hiding under the covers of my hotel room bed.

Tips for the Road Warrior at SXSW:

  1. Register and book your hotels nine months in advance if you want to stay downtown instead of in San Antonio.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes that you can wear for 24 hours straight.
  3. Stay hydrated, try to eat healthy and take your vitamins.
  4. Try to hit every BBQ joint in the area to find your favorite for next year.
  5. Go see some live music. You’re in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World.’
  6. Get sleep and take naps whenever you can.
  7. If you drink, stick with one drink; don’t mix. Lone Star beer surprisingly agreed with me.
  8. Experience some real Austin culture and visit places away from downtown like Artz Rib House, The Broken Spoke and the Horseshoe Lounge.

After spending a short weekend at home doing laundry, we headed to New York City for the Search Engine Strategies Expo for two days of expo hall excitement. The last show of the month was Web 2.0 in San Francisco and at this point the extrovert in me had become an introvert and my brain was turning to mush. The blekko elevator pitch robotically rolled off my tongue like Twinkies off the Hostess assembly line. Fueled on Starbucks, banana walnut bread and warm Pepsi we gave demonstration after demonstration to an unrelenting crowd.

As I look back it was all good. We gave away 4000 trading cards and 2500 t-shirts and 4 iPads. Large amounts of pork were consumed. Everything arrived on time thanks to GES Logistics. Folks in the crowd constantly yelled out, “I love blekko!” and others were convinced to give us a try. It’s all part of spreading the word and you can’t do that without hitting the road.

Posted in Marketing & Tradeshows | 4 Comments

An Algorithm For Finding, Killing Spam

Since the launch of Blekko, we have had a clear mission; and that is to eliminate spam from web search. With thousands of slashtags created by our users to help reduce spam, we are making quick and significant progress in achieving our set goals.

In the past, our efforts to clean-up search have included our partnership with the Stack Overflow community, and our public banning of the top 20 sites most users marked as spam at Blekko.

Today, we are taking the next giant step forward with the launch of Blekko’s new AdSpam algorithm. This new technology will dramatically change search. It’s the first search algorithm ever created to find spam rather than rank results. The algorithm is specifically designed to recognize pages which are spam and eliminate them before they ever appear in search results.

Blekko has used the AdSpam technology to eliminate more that 1.1 million domains that support multi-millions of pages.

So what is exactly is AdSpam? In short, it is a machine-learning algorithm that examines pages for a specific spam signals — the presence of multiple display ad positions on a single page and thin to zero content. Unlike algorithms used by other search engines, AdSpam is being used in conjunction with human curation to detect to continue the War on Spam.

So in a time where spam-free search is becoming increasingly important, you can be sure that Blekko’s new AdSpam technology will scan every new page on the Web before it gets added to Blekko search results. We believe the way to better search results is by using an algorithm that was created to kill spam, not just crawl it.

Coverage here:

New York Times

TechCrunch

Search Engine Land

Posted in Technology | 17 Comments

/blekkogear: Free Widgets, Toolbars, Badges and T-Shirts!

Today we launched /blekkogear where you can get blekko site badges, toolbars, widgets, t-shirts and trading cards, all for free!

  • Getting ‘Rick Rolled’ was so 2009, get ‘Link Rolled’ in 2011! The link roll widget allows you to see who is linking to your site.
  • Drop in our embeddable search box and help your site users search your site or your favorite slashtags.
  • Join the crusade against spam and download the blekko toolbar for your web browser! It allows you to search blekko, view site’s SEO statistics and mark sites as spam.
  • If you haven’t already, make blekko your default search engine.
  • Want some instant web cred? The blekko site badge displays our site rank score and the number of inbound links.
  • So you’re one of those RSS reader types. Generate RSS feeds for any search term or slashtag.
  • Want to look Silicon Valley chic? We’ll give you the shirt off our back! Free blekko t-shirts for everyone!
  • For a limited time we have some awesome blekko trading cards to collect. Act now!

More on /blekkogear here:

TechCrunch: Blekko Now Offers ‘Blekkogear’ Publisher Tools: Badges, Widgets, And Toolbars, Oh My!

Search Engine Land: Blekko Offers New Linkroll Widget & More Publisher Tools

Posted in Marketing & Tradeshows | 2 Comments

Get your blekko trading cards here!

Hello World.

Today, we are excited to welcome you to the blekko blog! This is a small corner on the internet where we’ll be keeping you informed on all things blekko. That means details on new products, new features and announcements. It also means a place for us to talk about stuff that we think is cool, funny, interesting, whatever.

To start things off, we thought we’d give you a sneak peak into some of the cool shwag we’ll be giving away at a bunch of tradeshows next month. We commissioned some creative types to do some comic book art and baseball style cards based on blekko and slashtags. What they made blew us away. Here are a couple of examples:

There are 20 different cards so like the old saying goes, collect them all! Oh yeah, the cards also tell you how to get in on the free blekko iPad giveaway that will be happening at each of the shows.

Swing by our booth at SMX West in San Jose, March 8-10, SXSW in Austin, TX, March 14-17, SES in New York City, March 22-23 or Web 2.0, March 29-30 to check out more or to just say hi. We might even give you a free t-shirt too…:)

Posted in Marketing & Tradeshows | 14 Comments

Searching the bottom of the web

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