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I was trying to find motor cycle rides on RedBalloon yesterday ? I could not find it yet I knew it was there. I had misspelled motor cycle ? at RedBalloon it is one word. So my results came up blank. This is a common mistake, so I asked my Development Guru what could be done ? he said “aha ? we already have a tool for this ? when we develop product we add in the misspellings so that the results will still appear. Of course you have to add in all the misspellings,” he warned. Clearly Motor Cycle as two words had not been considered as a misspelling so had been omitted.

I notice some websites put all the misspellings in their footers. Of course we love the Google engine which knows what we have misspelled and automatically offers us an alternative. (It keeps trying to put a ‘p’ in my name). But apparently this technology is out of reach of organisations like ours…simply too expensive.

His argument is, human errors require human interaction ? this is a people sport ? you must enter all the derivatives. (But there are infinite possibilities of these).

I have no answer ? in fact maybe you do ? so please share. Do we continue down the track of having someone manually make up misspellings? Are we in fact encouraging poor spelling by doing so? Texting is a whole different language ? should we be incorporating that too?

With more than 1500 experiences on our website there are at least 100 misspellings of each….my job is to make sure people can find exactly what they want. I know what’s there so I continue to look, but as a punter would I just give up?

In the end we might invent a whole new language where each word has many different spellings – or will Microsoft’s spell checker win.

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