search engine software

Inout Search Engine Ultimate

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I run a niche search engine on one of my websites using the free Sphider search software. It has served me very well so far, but whenever I feel like I need something more feature rich and developed, I always find myself poking around the feature list for the Inout Search Engine software.

The front end demo looks a bit snazzier than my fairly vanilla Google-esque looking search page that has nothing more than a logo, a search box, and a few text links. Inout has all that too, but they also can display as many custom “engines” (web, images, video, news, etc.) as you want, in up to fourteen different languages.

As for the results, you can easily integrate and display Yahoo, Google, Bing, and YouTube into your search engine. You can also connect to Twitter, iTunes, and a job search function too. (It doesn’t say which jobs database it uses) It has a plethora of other expected search engine features such as suggesting related search keywords, thumbshot option for each result, show search keywords in bold, html code to paste search box on other sites, mobile search support, presentational display options, and more.

The one thing that I’ve longed for that the Inout Search Engine has is the ability to generate revenue by connecting to the Ebay and Amazon affiliate API. I imagine you could create a custom auction or books engine and have every result loaded with your affiliate code. I do the same thing here with the Reviewazon WordPress plugin (that is on tap to be posted soon by the way), but I’ve never had this same ability to do so in my search results.

For everything this script provided, there was always one reason why I continued to stick with my stripped down open source search software over this feature rich commercial model with everything already built into it. That reason was a search spider. My current search software included a spider that I could send off to specific websites to index and include in my search results so I could ensure my niche results stayed relevant.

The Google and Bing engine results are great if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, but that’s not what I wanted. I’d rather target a specific group or niche and provide pertinent information for those searches. Why reinvent the wheel, right? Google is the wheel. I’ll just customize the wheel the way I want it (and the way I believe my visitors want it) to hopefully provide a better user experience that way.

For all I wanted with the Inout Search Engine, I just couldn’t entertain the leap without the ability to micromanage the control of my results, but that changed when the Inout Scripts company introduced the Inout Spider. Yes, now I could do the very same thing with Inout Search that I currently do with Sphider, which is keep my results lean and laser targeted to what my site’s topic is all about.

I’d say the only thing keeping me from moving forward on this right now is time, but I can definitely see this one being in the cards for a future search engine website redesign project.

Search Network Free Search Engine

Update – 7/28/2012: Apparently the now forwards to the MySEOTool website.

Search Network has figured out a pretty good angle on the whole free software thing. They have built a search engine script that is completely free to download so you’re able to either add search functionality to your site or (I’m assuming) you can run it as a stand alone search engine as well, customizing it however you choose.

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This is how I understand their operation from the rather skimpy documentation on the site. You download and install their free software to run your own search engine on your domain. Your search results (no idea if your results are urls added by you or if its a feed) display ads that Search Network has sold and if any sales are made through your site, you earn 20% of the sale. I’m not sure if you can sell your own advertising in addition to theirs, but something tells me you cannot.

This affiliate program sounds like it definitely benefits Search Network a lot more than the person running the individual search engine. By giving away this software, they are creating a massive sales force to display all the ads they sell for a monthly fee starting at $59 a month. On top of the monthly income, I’d have to surmise they receive a portion of the affiliate profits as well.

It might be ideal for someone wanting to add a search to his site and maybe make a few bucks in the process, but for someone serious about creating his own search engine and earning money from advertising, I believe it would be much better to go with a platform where you have more control over the ads.

There’s a tons of commercial search engines out there to choose from and a few free ones as well. By going with another script, you won’t have that network of built in advertisers that the Search Network has created for you, but you will definitely have more control over your ads. This translates to higher earnings down the road when you are able to obtain your own site advertisers.

Perhaps there’s a lot more to it that I’m missing, but if that’s the case, there really should be some additional documentation on the website to explain how everything works in detail. The way it looks from where I’m sitting, it looks like a pass, but I’ve also been spoiled by both free and easy with Sphider.