Bulgaria’s Search Engines, Yogurt, and Kotooshu Sumo
Admittingly, I do not know much of Bulgaria besides that it is a former quasi-Soviet Republic, produces excellent yogurt, and is the home country of Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov (aka. Kotooshu). But more on Stefanov later, as I’ve just learned of a new export from Bulgaria – search engines. While reviewing Multilingual Search, the International search blog, I ran into a piece by Georgi Georgiev entitled Bulgarian search engines – where are they?. Geogiev feels that Bulgaria is lacking its own national search engines since Google is filling the needs of the people with its own Bulgarian lanuage offering, but does pinpoint two home grown engines with their own spiders, despite little traffic.
Krasta.com claims to have indexed 179,192 pages only. Its index has not increased for six months and its bot is showing zero activity. This is in complete contrast to it’s previous behavior. Its official counter shows an average of 300 visitors per day. This engine, a one man project, is not showing any signs of life.
The second one, Paiak.com, has 411,028 pages in its index, as stated on its front page. It is also showing zero spider activity and the number of indexed pages has not changed in the past six months, even though it used to increase its index size on a regular basis. There are no publicly available statistics about the usage of this search engine, but it is even less popular than Krasta.com. This project, released in year 2002 by BG WEB Ltd., also seems like a dead one.
With a population of 7,450,349,according to the CIA World Factbook, Bulgaria does have quite a small population for net usage, but Georgiev notes that the country has millions of Internet users. Maybe there is a market to be found here.
One reason this piece on Bulgarian search caught my eye is because of my recent fascination with Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov, the Bulgarian Sumo Wrestler here in Japan. Stefanov, known to Japanese Sumo fans as Kotooshu, is a bit of an unorthodox Sumo wrestler because of his speed and height in a sport domainated by weight, strength, balance and stamina. At 6’8 and 314 lbs, Stefanov is a haus who does not resemble the normal Sumo because of his obvious lack of Sumo-style body fat. Sure, Stefanov is a huge guy, but when he pairs up against an average sized Sumo wrestler of 6 feet and 400 lbs, the match kind of reminds me of that scene from Game of Death where Bruce Lee fights Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Back to reality, Stefanov is taking the Japanese Sumo world by storm and almost won the championship last weekend in the Fall Sumo Tournament where he would have become the first European born Sumo Champion. Stefanov lost in a final death tie-breaker to Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu. The second reason for my interest in Bulgaria is that I’ve been eating Bulgarian yogurt daily as part of my recent training routine. Bulgarian yogurt is quite sour, but when mixed with a bit of honey or jam is quite tastey, full of enzymes and cultures, and low in fat.
Now, enter the Japanese advertising industry and we have the genius of capitalizing on Stefanov’s popularity in an effort to market yogurt. In the above picture I found on a search of the Japanese engine Goo, you’ll see that the company which sponsors Stefanov is a Japanese dairy producer which sells none other than Bulgarian yogurt. The symbols on Stefanov’s sumo gear spell out “Bulgaria” in Japanese Katakana.