Life is not easy for search engine startups. FIrst, it’s hard to create something that doesn’t fall flat against Google. Too much hype (Google Killer!), whether the company drives it or not, inevitably leads to disappointment.
Any search engine startup with a shred of common sense wouldn’t want to create a lot of hype about itself before launching. There are too many dead bodies lying around to prove how badly that strategy works.
But on the other hand: ambitious startups need to hire talented engineers, and they need lots of money. Crawling and indexing the web is expensive and requires thousands of servers. Those servers aren’t free. So there needs to be at least a little awareness of the startup out there for hiring and fundraising purposes.
New search engine startup Blekko has been trying to figure out exactly where pre-launch press should begin and end. They’ve said very little up to now and haven’t made any big promises at all. We first covered them in early 2008, and have subsequently noted some high profile investors that have put money into the project.
But that’s it. The company has said clearly that they don’t want press, and most bloggers and other journalists have respected that. Not only that, all their website has on it is a cute paper bag puppet. No ridiculous promises of anything at all. We had to beg them just to get a logo (the puppet looked absurd as their logo in CrunchBase).
So why the slight buzz yesterday and today? They’re preparing to launch later this year and they are raising more money to ramp up. They’re starting to show people a little more of the product. We’re impressed. As are others.
Is Blekko a Google killer? I don’t think so. And the company isn’t claiming that, either. But I do think they have a really cool search product that a lot of people are going to love. I look forward to writing about it when they prepare to launch.
But until then we’re going to give them the privacy they’ve requested to fully bake the product. Because the last thing we need is another over-hyped pre-launch search engine that’s called a failure just because they aren’t a Google slayer a week after launch.