Dir.bg, one of the first and largest web portals in Bulgaria has just announced on its website the launch of a new standalone service – Diri.bg. “Diri” in Bulgarian is an old-style word for “Tarsi”(v), meaning – “Search”. This new service is in direct competition with the already existing Jabse (info: New Bulgarian search engine gaining visibility). Bellow I’ll attempt to dig into Diri.bg and to make a comparison with Jabse.com, which has gained much more traction since I last wrote about it.
Visitors to Diri.bg are presented with a very clean interface – just search box and tabs with vertical search suggestions. The verticals are as follows: News, Images, Video, Music, Products, Blogs, Forums, Wiki, Jobs, Law, Real Estate, Auto, Mobile Phones, Cinema. At first glance they seem quite nice, but as it turns out, searching in Images, Music, Law, Products, Forums will only return results from corresponding section of Dir.bg. The other tabs include like 4-5 sites in which the search is actually conducted. The vertical searches have too poor diversification and are also a lot Dir.bg oriented.
Next thing you notice right away is the Wiki tab, which returns results from Wikipedia only. Diri.bg also employs a concept, similar to the “universal search” concept at Google: images, video, news and Wikipedia results, relevant to the search query are presented on the right side of the page, paralell to the main organic results.
Another thing to note is the “Helper”, which is a drop down box that drops as you type and shows you keywords that the engine thinks are related to what you are typing.
If you look at speed – it’s a bit slower than Google but still fast enough.
So far with the relatively good stuff. Aside from poor diversity in vertical search, the user expirience suffers hugely from the worst ordering and grouping of the results I’ve seen so far in a search engine. There is no apparent order in the results, you are in no way presented with the most relevant results first. Many queries were subject to testing with this in mind. The grouping of results is poorly implemented, so if you search for Titanik in the Cinema area you’ll get 11 pages of IMBD.com results (which are in English, thus not accesible for a lot of the potential users). The next 3 pages are filled with results from Dir.bg itself. You can also try “mp3″ in General search. It currently returns 3 pages with results from just one domain – mp3.bg. Searching for “blog” presents you with 100 pages from just one domain – Blog.bg.
Currently advanced search operators and options like the ones we are used to in Google, Yahoo, MSN are not supported at all. The engine does not use robots.txt or meta tags to forbid its SERPs from being indexed by other SEs which definitely raises some eyebrows.
On the webmaster communication side things are bellow zero. Absolutely no information is available for site owners / webmasters. Nothing about their web crawler. Nothing at all.
A quick comparison with Jabse:
Populariy: Jabse had increased its traffic by 400% in the last year to 20 000 unique visits a day
Index Size: Has 5.5 million pages in index
Business model: All revenue is from contextual ads served by Easytrader.bg
Remains with strong position as far as quality of general search and image search results are conserned.
Popularity: No traffic estimations yet, but it will have strong support from Dir.bg
Index Size: Claims 50 million pages in its index
Business model: Diri.bg has not presented a business model so far, so nobody has a clue about how will it support itself.
Looks better in some verticals, can look even better if it diversifies its sources. Could perform better general search if the ordering and grouping of the results are improved. Diri.bg has better perspectives for future development, given the resourses it can operate with.
Will Jabse or Diri.bg develop enough to become a factor in the Bulgarian Internet, despite the presense of Google is yet to be seen.