We recently brought Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta into our office to talk about why his company’s recent attempt to enter a market where two search engines hold 90% of the market share is not completely insane. The prevailing “Blekko is doomed” argument holds that because Google already does search so well, it’s fruitless to for anyone else to bother trying.
Granted, it’s hard to imagine a future where people Blekko themselves. But, once you get past the goofy name and syntax, the idea of a category search deserves some exploration.
Blekko’s killer feature of being able to search crowdsourced “Slashtags” shouldn’t be too off putting for any sort of Google power user, but certainly isn’t a Google Killer. Skrenta answers this point by stating that Blekko isn’t trying to kill Google, and that if anything it is trying to kill Ask.com which currently has 4% of the search market share.“We’re cool with being number three,” he said.
Operating under the motto “there is no one-size-fits-all” for search, Skrenta is targeting both early adopters and power users with Blekko, holding that everyone has their own Blekko usecase.
After our interview, I asked Skrenta for his top three searches that you could execute on Blekko and not on Google, and they were, in this order:
- Searching for links to yourself by time i.e. http://www.techcrunch.com/ /link /date
- Searching for sites in a Google Ad network through an Adsense ID i.e. techcrunch /adsense
- And searching for coverage of a certain topic over a certain period of time by a certain media sector, like (to use Skrenta’s example) running a search for initial coverage of Cuil to see if people predicted that it too was doomed cuil/dr=2008/techblogs
In accord with his logic, Skrenta’s top three Slashtags are drastically different from my top three. Blekko’s SEO tools are amazing with regards to transparency and the http://www.techcrunch.com/ /seo search is a gold mine of inbound link data (Any writer or web editor that’s ever had to track links will really appreciate this). I’m also fond of its direct API search features like Deer licking a cat /youtube.
And I’m a huge fan of the simplicity of Blekko’s “most recent” category search /date. In fact, I just used the information found in Foursquare valuation /date to tweet out this pithy attempt at cleverness, “Meg Whitman could have bought Foursquare, and kept the change.”
Heh. I know. But it’s the little things that keep you using a search engine. Says Skrenta on Blekko’s longevity, “The more people see the Slashtags the more they will use them, We got a lot of money in the bank [$24 million to be exact] so we’re not going anywhere.”
You can read more about Blekko in “TechCrunch Review: The Blekko Search Engine Prepares To Launch” and learn more about how to personalize its features in the demo video below.