We have heard about them time and time again. But do they really exist? Is there a startup out their that is going to take over the hearts and minds of users? To become the one and only Google killer. No one believed Overture could be a big player in the industry. Everyone pretty much felt the concept was doomed to fail. As I mentioned in this article. They were in fact wrong. This concept is now widely used and is making search engines profitable. So are the only true Google killers Yahoo and MSN? Or can a new start-up come and take the wind out of the Google sails? I recently read about two companies that think they have the concept to do just that. One is Blinkx. I read about this company in a recent InformationWeek article. A previous article can be found here Search Underdog To Take On Google, Microsoft, And Amazon September 29, 2004. Seems a lot like Google Desktop. Blinkx was first to beta. But honestly how many people do you hear talking about them? TheScreenSavers definitely never featured them. Unless I missed that episode. So my point is this. Does this new company have or can it obtain the name recognition to even compete with Google? At this time I'd say no. Blinkx versus Google for the average user. They are going to know Google and say who is Blinkx. I've never heard of them. Without a ton of ad campaign money. Your just not going to win this battle in my opinion. I truly believe word of mouth can in fact make or break a company. I've seen this before many times. But at this time I don't hear anyone telling me about Blinkx. Except for a magazine the average user may or may not be reading.
This brings us to another company AnooX. An article in the November 2004 edition of CPU Magazine says that it's founders ” hope to undo Google in the goodie-two shoes department”. Their concept is – they want to be the search of the people by the people. Allowing users to vote on what sites get top ranking in search results. The company will run as a non-profit and share 40% of ad revenue profits with registered participants. Users voting to determine who gets placed at the top in search. Really doesn't seem like a new idea to me. The search by democracy has been done before. If memory serves me right Etour added such a feature to their offerings. You also have the Open Directory Project. I've personally never found the last one all that useful. They claim to be the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. If you ask me their not very “comprehensive”. So we come back to the question of – does AnooX have the ability to do things so differently that users will flock to their product offering? Personally for me – the name doesn't really roll off the tongue to well. Not that Blinkx is exactly memorable. Can the product being offered overcome this negative? Is word of mouth really out there for either of these companies? Do you see popular technology shows ( as few as they are ) talking about these products? Are your friends talking about the offerings of these companies? I think the majority of end users are going to say who? what? when? where? No!! We've not heard of or tested either of these companies search tools. Makes me wonder how they truly expect to become a Google killer. Maybe they have some brilliant marketing strategy that will blitz the world soon. I honestly doubt this.
As much as I love competition. I think the odds are definitely stacked against these two companies. Then again many thought that of Overture years ago. So I might be surprised in the end. I've heard it mentioned a few times recently. That a few people feel the old dot.com spirit of 1999 might be floating back into play. Will we again see startups with wild fresh new ideas risk it all on venture capital? Are there still venture capitalist willing to fund such high risk ventures? Does another Amazon, Google, EBay, Paypal or ZoneLabs exist out there? These companies came to the scene during the dot.com era and made good by word of mouth alone mostly. The companies survived the crash and have become highly successful and profitable ventures. Anyone have the feeling Blinkx or Anoox have the staying power and product offerings to mimic the success of these other companies? I guess time will tell.