Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Looking for a Pillow Fight? OK, Here are Stories About Cancer and the President.

CNN search is awful and is sponsored by porn. Come again? That's right. I went on to CNN to see a video that was posted about the flash mob pillow fight in Union Square in NYC over the weekend. I had seen a link to it during the day yesterday and didn't have time to watch it until today. It wasn't on the homepage anymore, so I did a search. The results were ridiculous.

I didn't really want a bargain price on a pillow fight from Shopzilla. These results teach me to ignore sponsored results as we used to ignore graphic banner ads.

Getting to the real search results is even worse than the sponsored results. Here are the top results for 'pillow fight':
  1. State of the Union address
  2. Why we're losing the war on cancer
  3. Holiday shopping in September
  4. SAT scoring error
  5. Moussaoui trial enters penalty phase
  6. Entwistle pleads not guilty to killing wife, baby
What do pillow fights have to do with the state of the union or why we are losing the war on cancer? There were 3 other Entwistle stories after this list, so I guess that had a lot to do with pillow fighting.

This clearly shows that people don't use search when looking for news because it fails to give you anything near what you really want. People searching for news must scan, or 'winnow' to quote Jared Spool.

I typed in some different terms to see how CNN search would handle them. It seems that terms like fetish or sex resulted in sponsored results from porn websites. Who knew that CNN is sponsored by www.getiton.com!? Don't tell Farrah Fawcett that searching for 'anal' gets her the top spot in the search results. I also learned that you can get bargain prices on Cleveland Steamers on Shopzilla.

If you are interested, here is a link to the website for the actual pillow fight that I found with a Google search. Funny thing is that dead smack in the middle of the page, is the link to the CNN video that I wanted in the firstplace. Note taken.

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