Spam—email spam, link spam, splogs, social media spam—is evil. I waste too much of my time dealing with it. It was inevitable that this Wired article about a new search engine would intrigue me:

[T]here’s a new search engine in town that’s got a fresh approach to weed out the ever-proliferating junk and spam sites polluting search results.

It’s no mean feat — it’s taken 3 years, some $25 million in venture capital, and a gamble that there’s enough people who care about good search to make its model of curated results work.

And Blekko does works, thanks to a little thing called slash tags.

Basically slash tags tell Blekko to limit your search to a human curated category of websites — a custom search. So say you want to find good resources for learning about arrays in PHP? Type “arrays /php.” Need a good pumpkin pie recipe. Yup, you guessed it – append the /recipes slash tag.

What happens is that an editor or set of editors decide what sites return good results in that particular category, and blekko only searches those sites when you include a slashtag in your query.

Why is such a thing necessary?

Well, according to CEO and co-founder Rick Skrenta, it’s because the web is filling up with spam and low-rent webpages from content farms like Demand Media, saying the web now has 100 billion urls, most created by bots.