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Skrenta, Blekko to Make a Run at Google

Posted on 1.02.2008
Rich Skrenta, co-founder of the Open Directory Project and Topix has thrown down the Gauntlet. His start-up, Blekko is going to make a run at Google in the search space. He doesn't like what he sees taking place in the world of search and, frankly hopes to become a billionaire. In his blog post about the new venture he says, "The web is big. Really, really big. It's literally billions and billions of pages. It's Carl Sagan big. And it's doubling in size every year or two.

So the idea that what you can see in positions 1-3 above the fold on Google are the sum of what the web has to say about every possible query is crazy.

And yet they have 85%+ market share, and little effective competition. At the same time there is such a fabulous business in search. It's the highest monetization service on the web, by far. Why does this Coke have no Pepsi?"

In this case, Google does have a Pepsi (Yahoo), a 7-UP (MSN) and an RC (Ask). It's just that none of these other colas have been able to get close to Google's dominance. They have yet to become an official word in Webster's dictionary - and that's going to be a huge issue. Users are so used to "Googling" something that it's going to be hard to change their behavior. My parents still use AOL.

Skrenta goes on to say, "Google and it's copy-tition were designed 10 years ago. But the web has changed significantly in the past decade. Google was built to index a web that no longer exists... a web where people still engaged in social linking behavior, for one thing."

So Skrenta and Blekko will take their $2 million in funding and get back to the Internet roots, developing a business in a garage. Which may be exactly the type of anti-VC effort that's needed. Either way, with the developing of Mahalo, the soon-to-be-released Wikia Search and others positioning themselves to make a run at Google, it's going to be a fun year in search. Of course, Google's Knol project might get in the way of disintegrating the multi-billion dollar behemoth.
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