Avoiding the Echo Chamber: How Live Search Can Help You Find Precious “Hidden” Content Nuggets

by Steve Broback on April 15, 2007

At the last Blog Business Summit, I had a nice chat with Mary Hodder where we commiserated on how we longed for a blog search engine that would let us find posts by authors with little to no formally recognized “authority.”

As experienced bloggers know all too well, Technorati and Google easily help us find posts (and authors) that are linked to frequently, but in my mind that just advances the echo-chamber problem. What I’ve wanted is a way to find authors, articles and posts that are largely “undiscovered.”

We have a blog called bigbusinessjet.com that is sponsored by Greenpoint Technologies and covers the rarified space of owning and operating ultra-expensive business aircraft. Today I found a highly relevant article put forth by Dealmaker Magazine (a site with a PR of zero (?!)) that no one else has blogged about, hence has been ignored completely by Google Blog Search and Technorati.

How did I find it? I used the (thankfully under-appreciated!) Live Search from Microsoft. Live Search has some easily accessed parameters that enable you to find unpopular pages that have been recently been updated — and can even provide an RSS feed for that search. The essential parameters are found under the “Advanced” link, and the key settings are within “Results ranking” which brings up 3 sliders (see below.)

Live Search For Bloggers

What I asked for was newer results that are relatively unpopular but match closely the search string “bbj3″ — which is the industry term for the Boeing Business Jet Version 3. Note how I could just as easily have entered the parameters as text.

Without Live Search, I don’t know if/when I would have found this article. Probably after some other blogger picked it up I guess…

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frank DeVito 04.16.07 at 6:44 pm

Hi Steve, this is very interesting how you have found a way to find un-popular blogs; I just started blogging myself and am learning about the mechanisms of how it works. So if a blog is un-popular and no one post to it does the search engine google not see it? and on the opposite hand if there is a lot of activity with the blog is it put in a higher ranking with the search engine? thanks STeve


2 Steve Broback 04.16.07 at 9:34 pm

Thanks Frank–Google primarily looks for inbound links, so those bloggers with lots of links in get higher rankings. That means those who search on a topic will rarely see those who have not yet benefitted from lots of bloggers linking in.

What we’re looking for is interesting articles and posts from talented “newbies” who are not yet getting a lot of link love. It’s kind of like getting an “exclusive”…

3 Janet 04.17.07 at 4:18 pm

So… Just how ‘Live’ is Live Search? I just ran a search on Attensa (been working on their Live Server announcement today) and the stuff that came up is (ahem) old.

Now maybe I’m missing something important… but I would think it would look equally at relatively popular sites as well as relatively unpopular sites?

Nice to see you’re still geeking with the best of them, Steve!


4 Steve Broback 04.25.07 at 1:50 pm

Janet! Sorry for my slow response. Not sure what you are saying here — I would think that no search engine would pay as much attention to unpopular sites as they do popular ones. Meaning the the engine would not come by for a visit nearly as often.

My sense is that Live Search may not be as comprehensive as some other engines, but the ability to get feeds and dial unpopular sites as a high priority is REALLY handy. Using a tired car analogy — it may only have a four cylinder engine, but at least I can roll down the windows and it has a radio…

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