Is 'Racial Profiling' the Way to Compete with Google?

Dennis Faas's picture

Is "racial profiling" the best way to compete with Google? It would seem that InterActive Corp (Nasdaq: IACI), the owner of, thinks so. The company has introduced a new search engine site called to provide more relevant search information for the African-American searcher.

The new search engine was created using behavioral targeting techniques. Researchers analyzed the results of the most popular search terms used in geographic areas that have large black populations. The site then catalogues the 'click-throughs' from those results to determine the sites of most interest. Those sites are then moved to the top of the RushmoreDrive search results. (Source:

A RushmoreDrive search for "olympic games" will turn up the not only the International Olympic Committee's website but also a site featuring the African-American protest at the 1968 Olympics. That search on Google will not produce the 1968 Olympics on any of the first half dozen pages of results but a Google search of "olympic games black" will return it as the number one result. In a general search for "food" the top result is the Food Network followed by "Soul Food -- A history of soul food". Similarly, a Google search for "food" will come up with anything but soul food in the first several pages but a search of "food soul" will immediately also bring up the history of soul food page as the second entry.

The RushmoreDrive site also includes a rating system to provide user feedback to the search engine and allows users to suggest sites that they think should be included.

According to Yankee Group analyst Mike Goodman, the RushmoreDrive strategy is the best way to compete with Google. "You have to attack them on the flanks, and that's what makes sense here," said Goodman in a recent interview.

Other reviewers are not as comfortable with the IAC strategy. called it "Discover Less Here" in a take-off of RushmoreDrive's tagline "discover more here" and described it as a "site for my grandfather". opined that they would "regret seeing the open prairie of the web marred with fences." (Source:

IAC, of course, has positioned the RushmoreDrive site as the beginning of a new breed of search verticalization citing that the same methods and technology used to create the site can also be applied to creating other ethnic- or culture-focused sites.

But is that a good thing? "Racial Profiling" is the practice of determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act based on racial or ethnic characteristics. Isn't the RushmoreDrive strategy the same thing? In essence it determines whether a user is likely to commit a 'click-through' on the basis of racial or ethnic characteristics.

One could argue that until RushmoreDrive, searches were devoid of racial, ethnic or religious segregations. Not any more and it makes one wonder where this will lead. Will there soon be white supremacist search engines in response? We can only hope not.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet