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There’s No Such Thing As A Google Killer

Google is an amazing story. In a little more than 10 years, they have built not only a multi-billion dollar company that employs thousands of people, but also the world’s strongest brand. This is an anomalous story that perhaps may never be repeated.

So let’s just get this out of the way: there is no such thing as a Google killer. No company is going to play David to their Goliath and slay them with a well-aimed stone from a slingshot. Google is here to stay.

Why do I bring this up? I am one of the founders of a search start-up. One that recently raised money from a couple of great venture capital firms. So whenever anything is printed about us, or even comes up in causal conversation, the term “Google killer” gets bandied about. Again, I think you’re as likely to see a Google-killer as you are to find Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster.

So why join a search start-up then? Because I don’t believe to be successful in this business you need to be a Google-killer. In fact, trying to be a Google-killer is probably the one sure way not to succeed.

If you were to start a soft-drink company, would you be a Coke killer? Would you create a product that tasted exactly like Coke and put it in a red can? Of course not, that would be product suicide. You make something that tastes different and package it differently – Snapple, Red Bull, Vitamin Water.

We think the same about search. Google isn’t going anywhere. We think there are a lot of problems that search isn’t addressing right now that it could be. And that’s where we want to play. Own a category or die. So no, we’re not a Google killer. But stay tuned for more…

Comments (36)

Phil:

Very interesting... so in what category would you put Google search ? and if it's not too early, in what category will be Blekko ?

I agree 100%.

See: Jimmy Wales, Google's worst nightmare with Wikia Search (2008-2009), RIP.

Scott:

Congrats on the VC, Rich. I can't wait to see Blekko's take on search. Keep us updated!

Interesting, although I remember the very first time I tried the Google search.

They were a start-up too.

At that time should you probably have written something like "There’s No Such Thing As A Yahoo Killer" ? ;)

Stefano - let me point out that Rich actually co-founded a startup aimed at Yahoo in 1998 (which got bought by Netscape), so I don't guess he would have written the Yahoo piece to which you suppose :-)

The whole "Google Killer" thing is designed to sell magazines/pageviews.

No one ever clicks on a link that says "Search startup to have slow steady growh and gain a small percentage of the search market" ...

Sadly, I think it's actually bad for the industry to make such hyperbolic claims.

Though I'm pretty sure no one has ever praised tech media for their journalistic integrity ;-)

what a waste:

take my advice, never say nothing will kill google or apple or microsoft or ibm or blah blah

everyone has potential to kill everybody in the business. look at the history. think twice before you write such things. no offense.

Even google founders will never ever say that there is no such thing as google killer.


well..I understand your love about google..but this is too much..

Great post Rich - search is a non-trivial task well served by having many of us working on it. Congrats on the funding!

And your category is?

Interesting! I found this post when a reference to scoutjet in my stats piqued my curiosity. I learned, among others things, that there is such a think as Sasquatch (or maybe not).

Nick:

The bigger question, being on the IM side - what will be the monetization of the site? Where will ads, if any, come into play? Its nice being in on the ground floor of something - especially if the traffic is there.

Nobody Important:

Google really sucks as a search engine as does yahoo.

Google ignore quotations marks and yahoo isn't up to snuff. I have never tried bing, I don't care for MS.

If you can overcome the hate MS factor, the quotation mark issues and not be another yahoo, you can do very well unless you are simply selling your database.

That would make you like all the rest and give me no reason to allow your scoutjet to access any of my sites.

scoutjet.com is not very fourth coming about what it does with the information and I have Yandex and a whole slew of other bots indexing my site(s).

How exactly is scoutjet any different?

Great Post and I like your attitude. Be different and People will love. Don't compare with Big G. Sitting on billions. Find your 'porter' niche and grow :-) good luck

schlong:

I agree 200%.

Very Good Post indeed.

yibin yang:

100% agree, differenciation is the point to be invincible. I like to see blekko, "google killer" bring us surprises.

Japp:

Really you will not believe that many have turned away from Google. For only one reason : they ARE evil. See book-grab.com. See plenty of other such informative and truth revealing sites.

There is ixquick.com
There is ehm ... bing.
We have long stopped using Google.

As the number of sheepish followers and stupid souls decrease the Google abandonment will more and more increase.

It's true that some one needs to be

- even better than Google
- and more importantly even more focused than Google like: we want Search to search, not to social net, buzz, email, ad or other non-sense things.

And we want an honest brand, and self-esteemed brand. What about the self-esteem here?
We want not yet-another site with facebook and twitter buttons. Does facebook have a twitter button? Does twitter have a facebook button? We hope you get the point. Let others use your button.

Whether Google is killed or not does not matter at all, we are waiting for something that is not EVil, and not sheepish follower of fb-twtt-s.

Thanks.

You are right : being original is more usefull than being a G-killer.
Keep going and keep us informed !

People keep coming up with new phrases to describe/compare products but ultimately it all comes down to delivering over & above what everyone currently thinks of the term "SEARCH".

Even if you are going for a different type of market/category or whatever, it is still important to rise above Google & show the users that you are better in some segment of search if not all. As your post rightly says "not a google killer", but you will always be judged against the best... u know the answer to that already!

James:

Depends on how the search engine operates. Yahoo Search has deteriorated ever since Microsoft inserted themselves. If Blekko gives me better results, I'll switch! I don't depend on Google that much for search.

I like this philosophy and can't wait to see what blekko will bring to us!
And of course, big congratulations for the VC !!!

I like to think that, as much as the world is uniting through social networking, Web 2.0, wikis and search engines, it is creating more opportunities for individuality and variety. I myself use multiple search engines, and I feast on a variety of content sources daily. OF COURSE there's room for fresh ideas from a new search engine!

Thank you for making the trek through the start-up wilderness. As a veteran of multiple campaigns, I say hats off to you. I'm looking forward to Blekko's release.

Well to be honest this the the best advice i have. Own a category or die.
Google is indeed has become somewhat a part of our life but yes there are search needs that even Google can't satisfy like a service that can let you customized your search results and then publish it for future reference. So the space is there and yes the opportunities are still open. :) good luck to you guys. send me my invitation pleas :P

IMHO, Google succeeded (among other reasons) because they fit (look, feel, query type) the search abilities of common users: in the very beginning, it could not be different. With time users will demand other kinds of search: we're all learning how to use the machine, and as soon as we'll be more specialized, we'll not stand on the plenty of noise results and rude ways of searching (keyword, no delimiters, and so) that currently we use. We're expecting for new ways (Wolfram Alpha, now Blekko?) more effective ... who thinks about killing anyone? We'll use different tools for different purposes, as in real world happens. Thanks in advance for your effort.

I hope Blekko get more market than Bing. Bing is loosing the battle and was to late in innovation. But there are so much search engine's Like Bing, ask, ixquick and also arledia.com When get Blekko online for testing i can not waiting wich suprise we get.

Congratulations on the VC. I can't wait to use Blekko's. Go Go Go !!!

Sounds great and I think blekko has everything to establish as a tool for experts: http://bit.ly/bleKKo
It would be awesome if you send me an invite.
I´ve already send a request per Twitter. So please, please, please!

People are getting restless but they are still dumb ass a flock of sheep. these corporations suck all your money away. the rich believe they are a class much higher than everyone else and the rape and sodomize all of us by controlling media, money and just about everything else. money sucks, google sucks, people suck. what the crappity smack everybody? fix this shit up. the government crappity smacks you up the ass. google crappity smacks you in the ass. corperations crappity smack you in the ass.

I have heard of many new websites that are the next Google. Take Cuil for example. That was a complete flop.
However there is what I think a chink that google is only just becoming more fearful of.
The problem is its too late for Google to effectively protect itself from Facebook.
Facebook now affiliated with Bing and bings search volume is improving by the day.

Facebook may be the next best thing to a giant killer.

Good luck "David" everyone needs a bit of competition to keep 'em on their toes. Just saw Blekko in my logs.

Good luck with this venture with writes ups i have read so far on Blekko is looking good

We hope that blekko will do things better and faster. Like I read, there are also the founders of DMOZ inside the new boat. DMOZ is not really alive anymore I guess. We are trying to be listed since one year!!! Hopefully blekko will handle things faster. In germany we are waiting for you. Best regards from Volker

Google will be killed

We will focus on our core that differentiates us

There is enough space for more search engines to survive in the market. Starting small and focusing on a different core will help. Finally, no matter where you are - Google will be there.

Remember, Wolframalpha and then comes Google Squared.

Google won't miss it - but Google won't change it's focus core for producing search results as soon as a small start-up can.

There is no question about competition - competition with Google is guaranteed. The question is - who are we playing for ?

P.S: Searchers don't have loyalties.

I don't really agree with the Coke analogy. In that category, people want variety. I wouldn't drink Coke, Snapple, Red Bull, or Vitamin Water on the same occasions - one doesn't necessarily replace the other. Under what circumstances would users choose Blekko over Google? I obviously don't see the same benefit to variety in search, which would probably be influenced by habit as much as it would brand loyalty.

Rico:

And there's nobody going to beat IBM at their PC compatibles. And nobody going to get bigger than Microsoft. Let's be clear on that.

Be careful.

Not sure if there will be a Google killer, but Blekko is on the right track!

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