Where's the Sphinn advanced search?

Mon 29 December 2008 08:42, Bas van den Beld

Where's the Sphinn advanced search?

As Chief Editor of a new blog on Search in Europe I am constantly looking at our content. I want to know if its good enough. I want to now if people like it and what can we do better.

There are several ways of finding out if a post is received well. A good way of finding out if a post "works" is to see if a post gets a lot of respons on sites like Digg or Sphinn. For Searchcowboys Sphinn is obviously the more logical place to submit an article. So off course I want to know how the articles on Searchcowboys are rated on Sphinn. That turnes out to be a lot harder than expected.

As a website-owner you'd expect it would be easy to find out how you're posts are doing on Sphinn. Just type in your website and voila, here are all the sphinned postings, is what I was hoping for. Well, no such thing. It's easy to look at the posts you submitted yourself or the ones you've sphinned, but there it ends.

Since you don't always submit posts to Sphinn yourself looking at your own profile doesn't have the wanted effect. And if you own a groupblog like Searchcowboys is, its even harder. So I tried out some other things to find out which posts were submitted to Sphinn and which were not.

First of all I tried a search on Sphinn. A search for "searchcowboys" gave me back only one result, a posting I submitted myself. It turned up because I used the term "searchcowboys" in the description. So no luck there.

I then turned to Google. Google has a pretty good site-search so that just might do the trick and it almost did. I tried looking for www.searchcowboys.com within the site. It gave me back a lot, and I mean a lot, of results. Too bad they weren't all Sphunn postings... :).


Turnes out Google found every page in Sphinn which had the url in it. That's nice, but that means that also the profile pages of those who sphunn an article are displayed. A lot of 'duplicate content' therefore. It takes a lot of time filtering out the right pages. We have just started with Searchcowboys so for now its do-able, but when we really 'hit the world' this is going to be a problem.

So no luck so far. I then turned to Sphinn itself to see if anybody before me had run into this problem. Am I the only one? Apparently I am. I looked at the betanotes, the wishlist and   related posts and only once, in the comments of the betanotes, I found someone talking about an advanced search...

The solutions
So what are the solutions for this? How can I find out how my posts are doing? There are a couple of ways.

Sphinn button on the website
To make it easy for myself I could put a "Sphinn button" on the website next to every post. A lot of blogs do this. You can then see the sphinns right next to the post. Very handy and a good feature. However, we have a pretty neat design for our blog and I think my designer will refuse to put the button there.


Ask for a comment when sphinned

Off course I could ask everyone who wants to sphinn a post to leave a comment at the post saying 'sphunn', but to be honest I don't think many submitters would do that...

Search for every post with the exact title
The way I solved it now is I copied the exact title of a post and put that in the sphinn-searchbox. That is a lot of work to do for all the posts... Especcially because the sphinn-search engine is not one of the fastest ones. I actually got an error multiple times:

Eventually it worked, but with a lot of hassle and the use of Google....

As you can see, none of the above ways is the best way. How easy would it be to just get a list of all the posts on a single website and see how they rank in Sphinn? That's why I'm hoping for the Sphinn-owners to take a look at this.

I absolutely love Sphinn, but how on earth is it possible that a website which is all about search and which is this important in the search-world does not have a proper working search engine? Let alone an advanced search. What I would like is a advanced search where you can look for submitted articles from one specific blog. How hard can that be?

Update: after comments on Sphinn I was pointed to the fact that I didn't adress the Sphinn-owners directly. This is true and I probably should have done that. I want to reassure that I really love Sphinn and that this is NOT a rant.

Also Danny Sullivan (one of the owners of Sphinn) let us know that by the end of the first Quarter of 2009 Sphinn wil be relaunched with an approved search!

Comments (5)


  • And off course, if you want to Sphinn this post you can :)


    Ma 29 dec 2008, 14:17

  • Note: update after comments on Sphinn

    Ma 29 dec 2008, 20:35

    • Ramon Eijkemans

    what about http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=linkdomain:searchcowboys.com+site:sphinn.com&y=Search&fr= -> you could even use filters for this to see which ones become popular etc, use it with the yahoo api and you're done

    Vr 16 jan 2009, 16:40

    • Ramon Eijkemans

    or monitor the 'what's new' page for references to searchcowboys.com with an alerting service

    Vr 16 jan 2009, 16:41

  • Hi Ramon, the Yahoo-search is the same as using Google: a lot of irrelevant pages. Monitoring the what's new page is a good option. But Danny assured me the Sphinn search would improve with the new site, so we'll wait and see ;)

    Vr 16 jan 2009, 17:12


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