At first glance, blog search as a category is oversaturated. Ok, at second glance, too. Not only did Google enter the market directly in late 2005, they’ve also increased the rate that they index blogs and other regularly updated sites for core Google search. TechCrunch, for example, is now indexed multiple times per day by Google, and new posts are often available in a normal Google search within minutes of posting. Most people today say the best blog search engine is, simply, Google.com.
And there are many competitors. The Comscore chart below shows the relative traffic of the major ones – Technorati, Google Blog Search, Ask Blog Search, Sphere and IceRocket. Feedster is gone, although there are additional smaller engines like Zuula and Blogdigger as well. Every one of those companies is U.S. based (note that Paris-based Wikio has blog search as well as a Digg-like service).
Now Europe will have it’s own blog search engine – Twingly. I met Martin Källström, the company’s CEO, at the DLD conference in Munich earlier this week. Their focus, he says, will be to have a spam-free engine (something none of the others can claim) at the cost of inclusiveness. And at least at first, the engine will be focused on European blogs. Twingly’s search engine hasn’t launched yet, although I do have a screen shot of what the home page will eventually look like:
Twingly already has a product – a nifty screen saver that shows blog posts on a world map as they are written. The new search engine will use some of the back end technology they’ve developed for the screen saver – mainly their ping server (see here for our overview of what ping servers are) and existing index of blogs.
The search engine will be different from others, Källström says, in that it will be almost 100% spam free. How are they doing that? Instead of trying to index every blog in existence and then removing spam via black lists and other methods, they are limiting the blogs they monitor to those that are proven to be legitimate. They started with a small list of known blogs, and then spidered out from there based on links to other blogs. The assumption, which is fairly sound, is that good/real blogs will not link to spam blogs. The end result is a white list of real blogs that are indexed – everything else is ignored.
Källström says that, in addition to the consumer-facing search engine, they’ll partner with large content news sites to show blog posts related to news content. This is something both Sphere and Technorati have had success with in the past, and the company can do revenue-sharing deals on additional page views. Content providers like it because it incentivizes blogs to link to their content (to get a link back). Twingly may not be able to compete with Sphere and Technorati in getting U.S. based partners, but he says he already has some deals with large European publishers completed.
The company has raised €1 million in a July 2007 round of financing from Servisen. They have seven employees. Look for a launch of their search engine in the next month or two.