There’s been the tiniest bit of preview press given to Sphere, which bills itself as a weblog search engine and has been in soft-launch mode for a little while now. Today, the service actually went live, so I figured a little exploration might be in order. Alas, after spending a little time with it, I concluded that the folks in charge of Sphere might want to change its billing to reflect that it’s more a splog search engine — the sheer number of spam weblogs in the search returns is pretty amazing. That, combined with Sphere’s apparent indexing of quite a few non-weblogs, makes its usefulness dwindle quite a bit.

Here are a few example searches, looking at the first page of ten hits that Sphere returns:

  • razr v3c”: returns five spam weblogs, two questionable spam weblogs, one overt non-weblog, and two legitimate sites.
  • honda accord”: three spam weblogs, one non-weblog, six legitimate sites.
  • bluetooth headset”: four spam weblogs, three legitimate sites.
  • dual core intel”: three spam weblogs, one questionable spam weblog, six legitimate sites.

I don’t claim for these results to be rigorously scientific, only representative of the experience that’s led me to relegate Sphere to the bin of sites that seem to have gone live without addressing all the issues inherent in their areas of focus, and as such, aren’t really all that useful.


You’re completely right about the spam, but the Sphere search has at least one other major flaw: it doesn’t seem to index Live Journal. That’s like not counting teens 13 to 19 in the national census. It’s just not comprehensive enough. I searched for a couple of strings from Live Journals that appear in my RSS feeds and came up with bupkes.

• Posted by: Grant Barrett [TypeKey Profile Page] on May 2, 2006, 8:25 PM
Please note that comments automatically close after 60 days; the comment spammers love to use the older, rarely-viewed pages to work their magic. If comments are closed and you want to let me know something, feel free to use the contact page!