Language English

Launched 2003
Closed 2008, the Australian version closed in 2014

Developer Capper, Liesl & Jondarr Gibb

Country of Origin Australia

2003 - 2008 Mooter Media

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation, Australia, New Zealand

Clustering SeEn

Used SeEn

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Roy Hornsby (2003):»Mooter is a new Brisbane based search engine with a difference. The difference is, that Mooter returns the results of your search as a cluster. As you can see from the image below, a search for ‘royby’ is returned with royby in the centre of its own cluster. Clicking on any of the outlining clusters brings up a further cluster …and so on. Mooter fits with the spatiality of the Web beautifully. There are some interesting people behind the scenes at Mooter which is funded both privately and through Government resources. Moot on!« Source

Liesl @ Webmaster World (2003): »Why we don't want to be like traditional engines: most search engines tackle the non-trivial task of organizing massive amounts of info from the same angle: 'lets decide on behalf of the searcher what is most relevant, based on what the bulk of the general public thinks is relevant.' We decided to rather expend our efforts watching how individual PEOPLE actually search, see where it hurts, fix that. So, you know how it goes: type in search phrase, 3 mill results, read, read, read, scroll, click, back to results, read, read, click, then go back and type in a different phrase to educate the engine more about your needs. So there already are about 10 things you have to do, and that’s assuming the sort of search where you have a pretty clear idea what you after to begin with. While you are reading, your mind is forming a sort of scaffolding with all the data. Hanging around in fluid nodes in this scaffolding are roughly held together conceptual groups – we don't really like handling more than 3-5 chunks at once. The reason for this is pretty simple - back in our troglodyte days you would die rather quickly if your mind didn’t work like this: you had to focus on essential clumps on data (and clump details if there were too many), and discard anything extraneous (even though the 'extraneous' in today’s world may be critical info). This means sometimes we got it wrong, by putting things in wrong nodes or assuming incorrect relationships between nodes, but it was better than slowing your decisions down and being eaten by something meaner and (possibly) smellier than yourself. That’s why so few people go past results page 2 of traditional engines. And that’s why we group conceptually, rather than try override human hardwiring. Some of the things MOOTER does are not as readily apparent as the opening starburst of clusters. When you put in a search phrase, mooter analyses all the results. The clusters are not formed by counting up batches of keywords, but by some fairly intricate linguistic analysis of underlying themes. If the user is traditional-engine trained and needs a long list of results, we give a list in ‘all results,’ but have put our DAA algorithms on them. Because mooter understands the themes underlying websites, we are also able to pick up dynamic trends in your searching. So lets say you search for ‘dog,’ but then for the next few minutes all you do is look at sites with Chihuahuas, we are able to figure that out and push Chihuahuas plus dogs up. We also have a few other interesting algorithms, but I won't go into detail on those just yet! SO in short: Mooter is slow this week because of massive largely unexpected press & traffic (working on that), and also slow because MOOTER is actually thinking (or partially thinking anyway, for AI purists) not just regurgitating.

We would much rather have a dedicated niche of smart users than dominate the planet.

We are global search - we did mistakenly assume that we wld get mostly Aussie traffic for the first few months, so our index is currently a bit Aussie-heavy, but we are working on that. We have a bit of a multinational team - our CTO speaks Esperanto and I think has Scottish roots. The Neural Network PHD guy is Greek, I was born in Central Africa etc...

We never thought this would be easy, but we were always intrigued by NN and search. Penfold25 I concur, Webmasters and SE's shld be in a gorgeous symbiotic dance, not antagonists.
'content is king, not what someone else thinks i would like' that’s just the point. Who do you know has honestly ever looked all the way up to result number 107698345 of 200 million results? Where's the choice or ability to see relevant content in looking at the first 10 or 20 sites (which most ppl only do), as decided by the great big SE? Anywhere in the first 200 (at best guess) is probably buried the most relevant site for that human at that point in time, but who even looks to 187? MAYBE the site that would meet yr needs best is at number 1, as decided by the relevance algorithm, but maybe not. So isn't the traditional SE deciding on the top 10 a stronger example of being told what to do? Plus at a recent SE conference we heard constant speculation that up to 65% of search pages may end up being paid. In contrast, our first cluster page represents sometimes hundreds of most relevant pages to yr keyword, but mooter gives you the choice where you steer into that sea of content. So optimizing for MOOTER will be about simply ensuring general concepts and groups of thought in website content are what your user is looking for and are what the site is about.« Source

Company history (2007): »Mooter was founded in February 2001, to develop computer technology that enabled web users to better organise their search results through personalisation. Mooter secured an R&D Start Grant of $273,000 in September 2001, $1m of seed capital during 2002 and launched the beta version of the search engine in October 2003. A patent was first filed in the USA in November 2003 to protect the Mooter technology consisting of methods of applying psychological parameters to the online search process, which involves both enhancing the search experience for the user and increasing the advertising revenue derived from online activity. The Patent was published in the US on 30 June 2005. Further protection by way of a filing under the International Patent Cooperation Treaty is currently in process.« Source


Liesl @ Webmaster World (2003): »Moot means open to debate, no two humans are looking for the same thing when searching, so why should search engines assume relevance is the same for all? If you use 'all results', we actually re-jig results dynamically based on underlying themes of websites you looked at. sort of dynamic personalisation. Don't collect info on searcher though, session based only.« Source

Critical points

Features & Functionality

Mooter search technology: »A search engine which clusters results into concepts, allowing faster decisions and deeper digging with less clicks.

Mooter analyses the choices you make while searching, then reorders the results based on what you are actually looking for at that moment, without you having to go back and rephrase exactly what you want.

Instead of giving you long list of results scrambled together, Mooter gives you simple, utterly sensible categories of information. As you work, the Mooter algorithms shuffle the results in the background, so that more relevant results to you at the moment come up first. This means that no two results are the same for two different people – you are looking for something completely different to the person next to you. So, even using the same original keyword, your results will not come up in exactly the same way as the person next to you

But Mooter does not take profiles or store information on you; Mooter works on the fly while you work, so your privacy is secure.« Source


The Australian version closed in 2014. Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN): n.a.
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

Roy Hornsby (2003): Mooter Search Engine URL:
Webmaster World (2003): Mooter URL:
Mooter search technology URL:
About the company URL:
The Management URL:
Loren Baker (2004): Unusual Search Engines URL:
Company Update Presentation - 2008 URL:

Created: 2018-05-20