Gimpsy, A Unique Way to Search

Gimpsy is technically still around, but it’s barely hanging on by a thread. Its name, which could be construed to contain two racial or ableist slurs, makes it both difficult to reference and difficult to surface in search results on its own. While it’s no longer a significant search engine, the way it works is still intriguing, which is why we’re keeping our past research on Gimpsy live on the site. Read on if you’re interested in internet history. 



Gimpsy was a relatively late comer in the search engine arena, having launched in beta on February 1, 2002. Gimpsy was opened to the public on October 30, 2002. Gimpsy stands far apart from the rest of the field when it comes to searching. The interface, the search method, the advertising opportunities, and the actual contents of the directory are all radically different from traditional search engines.

Gimpsy should be getting a lot more attention.

At Gimpsy, you don’t search for information, you do things. Instead of searching for “online Spanish lessons training,” you search “learn Spanish.”

The motto at Gimpsy is “Active Sites for Active People,” and it is reflected in the search interface and in the site selection process. If your site does not offer interaction, then it will not be added to the directory. I want to… “Read marketing hype” is not a search option.

Because Gimpsy only lists sites that do something, it is not filled with promotional sites and affiliate sites, which exist only to lead visitors to other sites. For that reason, searching Gimpsy can be much easier than searching other directories and search engines.

Gimpsy Search Engine Analysis


Your website has to DO something to qualify for a listing

The Gimpsy directory is a human-edited directory. Anyone can submit sites for Gimpsy staff to review.

The first few search results in a Gimpsy search may be featured sites, which have paid for placement. All other matches are randomly sorted, because they all meet the search criteria and editorial standards, and are thus all equally useful to the searcher. The random sort order changes once per month, for fairness’ sake.

The top few matches in a Gimpsy search are usually featured sites. Sites with a red star have won a bidding auction for the placement. Sites which have a reciprocal agreement with Gimpsy have a golden star, and new sites have a blue star.

The Red Star – Gimpsy has an innovative advertising scheme through which webmasters can bid for placement in the top results on any given search. Basically, a site owner bids a specific dollar amount for the placement he or she wants, and if the owner’s bid is the highest, he or she gets the placement for one month, irrespective of how many times the specific search is performed or how many clicks the site receives. At the moment, the minimum bid is $5.00 US and bidding increments are $1.00 US. In the event of a tie, the first bid in wins.

Currently Gimpsy does not share its directory or search engine with any other portal, though on the Gimpsy search results pages, there are links to try the same search on