A company called SearchVortals has launched a service that lets publishers develop their own branded web search portals called “Vortals,” a combination of “Portal” and “Vertical.” A Vortal lets visitors search a publisher’s web site and also produces contextually relevant web search results. According to an example given by SearchVortals, a user’s search for “books” on a baseball-related site will yield search results relevant to both “books” and “baseball.”
SearchVortals believes that their Vortal search results will be more relevant to users than those of a regular search engine because Vortal searches return results related to the site a user searches from. “It skews the search based on the content of the website it came from,” said a SearchVortals spokesperson. Vortals also increases the rank of frequently search for items, and users themselves can vote or de-vote search results they think need to be modified. “It enables the users to re-rank the search listings after they receive them,” the spokesperson adds.
While the interactivity and the automated search ranking system lets a Vortal provide relevant search results, and encourages user interactivity by giving then the option of re-ranking items, it also lets publishers earn money. They use their own proprietary search technology, and their PPC advertising network placed targeted PPC ads next to the search results. Currently, SearchVortals is plugging MySpaceVortals, a premier service that lets MySpace users add Vortal search capabilities to their site.