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E-mail Interview with Palayok.com creator John Gavilan

by S mabelle@msc.net.ph

A new Filipino search engine was launched recently. W!P interviewed Palayok.com creator John Gavilan, a Filipino-American based in Chicago. Below is the transcript of the e-mail interview with John.

    WIRED! Philippines : What is Palayok.com?

    John Gavilan : Palayok.com is a search engine for Filipino related or owned websites.

    W!P : When/How was this conceived? Who thought of it?

    JG : I was thinking of ways to reap the potentials of the internet, so I came across the idea of a search engine. It's one of the few kinds of websites that actually serve a purpose. I figured that the hardest part of setting up a search engine is programming it, and since that is something that I can do, I went ahead and created the site.

    W!P : What are the features of Palayok.com?

    JG : Palayok.com features an extensive database of Filipino related websites, current news headlines, and free advertising, for webmasters. In the near future, we plan to offer email, web hosting, and all the other services that the big non-Filipino search engines are offering.

    W!P : What search capability does Palayok.com use?

    JG : Right now, Palayok.com only allows for simple exact phrase or all words type searching. In future releases, the search capability will include more detailed searches.

    W!P : How comprehensive is your catalogue of Filipino sites?

    JG : The catalog is rather comprehensive, considering the length of time that Palayok.com has been in operation. It's still nowhere as complete as I would like it to be. A search engine is only as good as the submissions. In the last month, Palayok received around 20 site submissions which I think is really good, given the amount of time the engine has been on-line. The catalog is also constantly being populated by a search robot, that averages about 200 new pages a day.

    W!P : How did you start Palayok.com initially in terms of sites already available for searching?

    JG : I wrote a search robot that initially performed a search in the major (non-Filipino) search engines for Filipino sites. The robot would then list down the URLs of the resulting sites. Another robot would then look through the URL list and then visit the first URL on the list. While visiting the site, the robot scans the web page, makes sure it is Filipino-related, and then populates the search database with information such as keywords and descriptions, and other URLs - that also gets added to the YRL list. Then it visits the next URL on the list, populates the search database, and then populates the URL list with new links, creating an endless cycle. The result is a search database that gets better and better everyday.

    W!P : How does the site attract visitors? Advertisers?

    JG : This is the most difficult part of the whole process. Right now, I am using a popular Filipino banner exchange program and word of mouth. I believe that if you give users a reason to visit your site, and more importantly, a reason to come back, eventually the site will become popular.

    W!P : What makes Palayok.com different from the other Filipino search engines already in existence?

    JG : Palayok is different from the other Filipino search engines because it offers a service from the point of view of someone who is not based in the homeland. I believe that this is the very reason that Palayok would provide a comparable, if not a better service because I believe Filipinos abroad tend to value the little things they find on the web that reminds them of the homeland, that could othewise be ignored by Filipinos based in the Philippines. This, and the fact that Palayok is running with very little overhead costs which allows us to offer so many services like advertising, for free. Right now the site is purely a search site. In the future we plan to add other services such as email and web hosting. Keep an eye on Palayok.com in the next six months. We exist to bring good services and value for the Filipino web surfer.

Visit Palayok.com at http://www.palayok.com.

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