Search Engine Focused on Folks Over 50

CRANKY.COM??? CRANKY???? Why not just call it HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn? OhMyLumbago? BackwardsUphillThreeMilesThroughTheSnow? Anyway, there’s a new search engine that claims to focus on search results for users over fifty, and for some reason it’s called ( ).

Oh, I see. It’s cRANKy. Uh-huh. The press release says that Cranky is “designed to deliver the most targeted search results by applying a 50-plus lens to every query”. Playing with it I didn’t see exactly how that works, but I did get some amusing results from my test searches.

I did a test search for Fred. The first thing that popped out at me was the suggestions to narrow and expand the preliminary search. One of the suggestions to narrow the search was farts. Did I miss something? The first result was for “Frederick’s of Hollywood” — oh my. I think I picked the best search to repudiate the “Cranky” moniker.

There are only four results on the first page — the press release referred to this as the “Power of Four”. In this case the search results were for Frederick’s, Fred’s Stores, the Wikipedia article on Fred Flintstone, and Fred on Everything. Two of these results (the first two) have user rankings, another feature of Cranky. Frederick’s got three stars, while Fred’s Stores got two stars. The review for Fred’s Stores is as follows: “Home of Fred’s dollar stores and pharmacies. Find information on products, find a store.” Why only two stars?

(Additional pages have only four results each as well. If were a grumpy individual, I would note that pages with sponsored listings have two listings, which means that for every two search results listings there’s a one sponsored listing, which seems like a high ratio. Actually I did another search, for strawberry, and got sponsored results above and below the search results, which is a 1:1 ratio. Then I did a search for Hawaii vacation and got SIX sponsored results to four search results, and figured I better quit before it got ridiculous.)

The idea seems to be that the more people rank and use the site, the more 50+ oriented the results will be. The top 5,000 Web sites for folks over 50 have already been ranked and reviewed (I guess this is where Frederick’s and Fred’s came from) but more user input will be required over time to make results more fiftyplusish.

I did not see any options for narrowing down the search — looks like it’s keyword and basic. When I did consumer-oriented searches — Hawaii vacation, or buy a new car — I tended to get good results, with most of the search results having reviews. Strangely when I tried searching for hair restoration drug Propecia I got a Wikipedia article as the first result instead of the official site. Very odd. For the most part my search results were spam-free, though it’s hard to dig through lots of search results when you’re only getting ’em four at a time.

This site is for casual searches who don’t mind four results on a page and are doing mostly general searching. I would like to see how the search holds up after a few million searches have been run on the engine and results have been ranked and reranked by the over-50 crowd.

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