After scarcely a peep for much of the summer, a handful of the real-time search startups we profiled earlier this year have ramped up their offerings this week. They’re part of a wave of companies that are mining the increasing amount of data shared on sites like Twitter and Flickr to offer search results based on what’s relevant now.
In general, we’re seeing more traction from companies that are trying to distribute their search and data collection technology rather than centralize it in one destination site. One of the older companies, OneRiot, turned on its revenue model this month by selling sponsored search results. (It has a distributed approach, partnering with at least 40 other companies to feed its results into other sites.) Tweetmeme, which has a retweet button that’s seen at least 50 million times a day in addition to a search engine, launched analytics for companies that want to track the viral spread of their content through Twitter.
(Here’s a basic primer on all of the companies for background.)
And then here’s what’s new:
Topsy, which raised $15 million over the summer, released two plug-ins: one for WordPress and another one for your browser. When people tweet about a blog post, the plug-in will find it and include it as a “native” WordPress comment at the bottom of the post. The browser plug-in adds a Topsy search bar to the top right-hand corner of a browser so users don’t have to navigate away from the page to search.
Crowdeye, founded by former members of Microsoft’s search engineering team, now lets users tweet directly from the site. Visitors can also track the most popular content from specific domain names like VentureBeat.com (see the snapshot below or click here to test it out).
Scoopler, founded by two recent college graduates who met in the U.K., cut the load time on its pages and added a “Discovery bar” at the top of its page to show trending topics and recent searches. The company also added channels of content, making it easier for visitors to keep track of popular links in topics like technology and sports.
To help publishers and brands figure out how much additional traffic Twitter is driving them and optimize it, U.K.-based Tweetmeme launched sophisticated analytics features. Tweetmeme will break out retweets by geography and show a publisher who their most influential readers are based on how far they drive a piece of content through their social network.
A little over a week ago, OneRiot, unveiled what it believes will be its primary revenue model. It’s selling text ads that will appear alongside relevant search results. The layout is similar to Google’s but OneRiot is selling sponsored placement for content, not commercial goods and services. This is because the company believes that when visitors search for real-time results, they aren’t necessarily in the state of mind to buy products. They’re looking for context or news, unlike in traditional search. Therefore, ads for goods and services won’t necessarily work. Instead, publishers will pay to have their relevant content promoted when visitors are looking for recently published items.