In a world where everyone is waiting for the next Google, Dipsie has to be one of the most-anticipated search companies in some time. Its founder Jason Weiner – a self-taught programmer – has been written up in several publications. And the Dipsie bot has been crawling the web for more than a year.
So it might surprise some people to realize that Dipsie is finally launching this week not as a search engine, but as a company that helps Web sites get crawled by search engines. The company today is launching a service called DCloak, which helps Web site owners “reveal content that is currently invisible to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN.” The service is aimed at Web sites with content that’s stuck in the “deep web.”
The approach is unique. Imagine a site with content that can’t be crawled by a regular search engine, perhaps because its web pages are dynamically generated out of a database. Dipsie takes technology that Weiner has been developing over the last several years and uses it to crawl the hard-to-crawl site. Then the company builds an identical set of static web pages that are loaded onto the Web server and made available to other search engines. In other words, Dipsie takes sites that can’t be seen by search engines and builds identical mirror sites that can.
“In cases where page weren’t visible, they’re now visible,” Weiner told us at the company’s Palo Alto offices last week.
Weiner says he’s developed technology that allows him to deal with situations that confound other crawlers, such as sessions, cookies and forms. Weiner also developed a new grading algorithm that he says allows Dipsie to rank Web pages more intelligently.
Weiner’s plan is have Web site owners pay – starting at $29.99 a month for 50 pages or less – to have their sites crawled and optimized by Dipsie. Dipsie can also analyze the content of Web sites and suggest keywords for search engine ad campaigns. He’s pitching the service to everyone from mom-and-pop Web sites and Fortune 500 companies to “digital ad professionals, SEO consultants and web site managers.”
The company employs about 17 people with headquarters at the semi-famous downtown office building that once housed start-ups Google and PayPal, among others. Weiner resisted VC entreaties for a long time, but finally took $3 million from SVIC. He expects to raise a B round in middle of Q1 next year.
One other note: Dipsie was a Chicago company until recently. But like a lot of start-ups, Weiner realized that he had to be in the valley so he could be in the company of other people who’d built successful companies. The proximity to University Ave. doesn’t hurt either. It’s a good place to see people and be seen.
UPDATE: Here’s the news release.