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Media Morph: IceRocket

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week MediaWorks' Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: IceRocket.

IceRocket conducts its searches based on newness, not relevance, believing that what people are talking about right now, is far more important to business than just the number of mentions over long periods of time.

What it is: IceRocket is a blog search engine, like Technorati and Google's Blog Search. But IceRocket's owner, outspoken media maven and NBA team owner Mark Cuban, has pointed out that IceRocket is not a portal, but rather a tracking tool. What he means by that is IceRocket conducts its searches based on newness, not relevance. Mr. Cuban maintains in Web postings that "freshness," or what people are talking about right now, is far more important to business than just the number of mentions over long periods of time.

What else sets it apart: Again, partly in thanks to the personal proclivities of Mr. Cuban, IceRocket has an absolute insistence on no censorship, particularly the more than 1 million Chinese-language blogs that IceRocket indexes. Mr. Cuban is also keen on ways to eliminate "splogs," or spam blogs that produce no original content, or worse, "trick" search engines with things like keyword stuffing and Web-site redirects.

Fun tools: Click "Trend this search" to see a timeline graph with spikes and dips in blog posting indicating hot and not-so-hot days (e.g., George Clooney's mostly flat line went through the roof March 5 and 6, during and after the Oscars). Click "Phone Pics" above the search box to search photos from around the world shot on mobile phones, aka "moblogs" or mobile photo blogs.

Why should you care: Blog searching, and particularly time-sensitive searching like IceRocket, can tip off companies to dissatisfied customers and rumors in infancy. Whether IceRocket beats competitors like Technorati or Google isn't necessarily the point -- or the value for the industry. It is Mr. Cuban's loud, media-attention-getting voice on blog search issues drawing attention and credibility to the evolving space.

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