Lijit, a startup whose widget allows blog readers to search across multiple sites and accounts, is planning to launch an ad network on top of its search tool, and has raised $7.1 million to make it happen.
The Boulder, Colo. company offers basic search services, but its most interesting feature is a tool that lets bloggers tie all of their accounts into a Lijit search. So if you’re just dying to follow not only my VentureBeat posts, but also my every move online — say the sites I bookmark on Delicious or the photos I share on Flickr — Lijit makes it possible to search through all of that in one place. Okay, so I don’t actually use either of those services, but Lijit says it can support any URL or RSS feed. There are a lot of companies that try to tie all your online identities together (social aggregator FriendFeed being a prominent example); Lijit is the service that implements this idea as a blog search.
According to the numbers that Lijit is sharing, it’s an approach that pays off, too. The Lijit search widget was enabled on all the blogs in the b5media network, and reportedly drew three times as much search traffic as the standard search box. The Lijit service is free, but the company is ready to make some money from those results by selling ads alongside them.
This is the startup’s third round of venture funding, and it was led by new investor the Foundry Group, with existing investors Boulder Ventures and High Country Venture‘s Colorado Fund I also participating. Lijit has now raised around $11.3 million.