Interview with Alistair McInTyre, UKWizz

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Last year in September 2004, I conducted an interview with Alistair McIntyre from UKWizz, UK-specific search engine. Here is the transcript:

SY: Hey Alistair, tell us a bit about yourself.

AM: Hi Sid, My name is Alistair McIntyre although ?Mack? will do. I live on the west coast of Scotland (UK) and have been involved in web development since 1999.

I have always been interested in web directories and search engines. Until the early part of this year I owned www.click4choice.com

Click4Choice is now in the safe hands of Vincent from www.cw3host.com , Vincent intends to continue growing the site and is doing a great job of achieving this.

SY: How did you start UKWizz? When did you find that the UK needs another search engine?

AM: I started work on www.ukwizz.com about a year ago. I decided to go ahead with it and to be honest it is only starting to come together now. The aim is to remain as UK specific as possible. I feel that there is a real need for a UK orientated engine. We have many great engines out there but they are letting the UK searcher down in terms of relevancy. Some of the bigger engines are now phasing in localised search but it doesn?t really go far enough.

SY: Say if I have a UK-specific website which I think would fit perfectly in the UKWizz index, what can I do to get it in there? Will the UKWizz bot find it, eventually?

AM: In theory it may find it?s way in, but this method will not always lead to a site being included.

Currently I am trying to get a clean database as a building block, when I am happy with the quality of the results I will be allowing URL submissions.

The time scale from adding a site until it is in the index should be around about 1 week, although not all sites will be accepted into the index at all.

SY: Do you have any more plans for expanding UKWizz? I see you have a Weather section which lets you check the weather throughout the UK. Are we expecting anything else?

AM: Working on quite a few features just now. As you mentioned we have weather reports for different UK areas, we also have news search in beta. You can view some of out other ?work in progress? here: http://ww.ukwizz.co.uk/tools.

Most of these services will be up and running by the end of the year. I will also soon be offering web services where other sites can display my results using the RSS API and a parsing script.

SY: What is your approach to keeping UKWizz UK specific?

AM: I use IP filtering. I have compiled a database of all known UK IP ranges. Currently the spider (Mackster) will only index content that resides on a UK range. It is not perfect although we do actively remove non UK sites from the index. If I want it to work out well i need to be a little brutal when it comes to weakling out unsuitable sites.


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