It looks like IceRocket is taking another shot at establishing a foothold in the blog search market amid a new look and feel, according to Data Mining. IceRocket is best known for once having Mark Cuban as an investor but its turn in the spotlight was as short as Cuban’s dalliance in the business. (He sold his stake in 2006 to Think Partnership).
IceRocket’s attempt to revive itself will be a huge challenge given its shot at success has likely come and gone, but the blog search market is still ripe with opportunity because it still doesn’t have a dominant player. Unlike general search, Google is battling for share along with Technorati, Sphere, Bloglines, etc.
Blog search is ripe for a hot, new start-up to capture the imagination of people looking for a search engine that works well. For all the investment in me-too companies in the photo-sharing and social networking markets, it’s been puzzling not see more activity in the blog search business.
Maybe entrepreneurs and investors believe it’s not worth pursuing because Google has moved into the neighborhood but if you’ve used Google Blog Search, it doesn’t take long to discover that, for whatever, reason, it’s far from terrific.
Still, if you don’t want to go head-to-head with Google, another golden opportunity waiting for someone to step up is vertical blog search. With more than 110 million blogs (and thousands more created a day), a blog search engine focused on a specific vertical (travel, technology, sports, business, music, etc.) could have enormous potential by offering an effective way to meet the needs of people looking information in a market clogged with lots of flotsam and jetsam.
For anyone who may scoff at the idea of a vertical blog search engine, look at how the vertical search market has thrived in recent years as players focus on markets where Google can’t or won’t target. Kayak.com, for example, is steadily building its travel search business through organic growth and the recent acquisition of Sidestep.
So, is this the year that vertical blog search jumps into the spotlight?
Update: Rich Skrenta, who co-founded Topix and the Open Directory Project, has launched a new search start-up called Blekko (doesn’t exactly roll off your tougue, does it!). Why a search start-up. His explanation: “Simple – the idea that the current state-of-the-art in search is what we’ll all be using, essentially unchanged, in 5 or 10 years, is absurd to me”