I get shivers down my spine whenever I hear a new startup position itself as a “faster, more robust search engine alternative” to search giant Google – just ask Cuil. But the team at NowRelevant.com believes they are on to a good thing – that there’s a place for a site that pulls information only from the past 14 days on any search topic.
Launched last week after a three-month beta testing phase, NowRelevant monitor millions of sources and feeds to give you the most up-to-date and pertinent information on a subject from only the past two weeks to provide the most-pertinent and timeliest online search information. A “slider” feature allows even users to choose the number of days in which to search for a particular term.
The upside of such a search on NowRelevant, as opposed to what you’d find on other engines, is that it eliminates SEO overload that ends up yielding more clutter in a search, rather than valuable, relevant results. The site’s niche marketing and trend-finding algorithms – called the Internet Time Machine – eliminates all spam and SEO dummy sites, providing users with a clean interface with relevant blogs, forums, RSS and XML feeds, social media sites, tweets, video and other sources that are not merely set up to fool a search engine. “Search engine optimization overload can dramatically slow users’ quest for pertinent online information,” said Curt Dalton, NowRelevant’s founder and CEO.
Check out a video of how a search on the site compares with Google:
A 14-Day Niche in Search
What some would term as NowRelevant‘s weakness – searching for results only within the past two weeks – is actually its unique selling point. “Many search engines try to show millions of millions of results for a subject, when in reality, the user knows about a subject, but just wants the latest information on or about it,” says Curt. The service, he says, is focused on the ‘heartbeat” of the Internet’ – what people are saying about a topic – like blogs and forums to find relevant information and feedback for users as opposed to corporate feeds and major news feed results.
NowRelevant is positioned to target the Twitter and Facebook crowd that digests information is small bites and moves on to new subjects quickly. “They don’t have time for 4 million results, they want current information on their topic and then they move on to a new search,” Curt explains. “Attention spans are much shorter thanks to Twitter and social media sites, so search engine time has to be altered to meet that new users’ demand.”
Curt gives an example. “Let’s say the user searches for the band U2. They don’t want 5.4 million results including someone’s music paper from graduate school circa 1993. They just want to know what is new with the band, what are people saying about the tour, and what are the reviews of people that went to the shows. They don’t need things like Amazon links, a Wiki description of the band, or offers for CDs, t-shirts, or ticket scalpers.”
In A Search For Growth
Traffic to NowRelevant is just budding at up to 1500 unique searches a day, which is to be expected without any major advertising or promotional campaigns. “Like any Internet venture, spreading the word and attracting users has been a challenge, especially in a market that is dominated by a super giant and then two other entrenched companies,” Curt admits. But he says the company didn’t set itself up to ‘challenge’ those companies or ’emulate’ them. “We have always wanted to just give the user a different experience from what they have as current options.”
In terms of revenue, NowRelevant will introduce a pay-per-click (PPC) model that allows for videos to be used in PPC ads as as well as small banners – the first search engine to do so. “Text-only PPC ads are elementary and the user has gotten used to see ads in those designated areas, so PPC has to evolve to the video age to engage a user,” explains Curt. “The user can click a video ad, watch the video while staying on the results page, and the advertiser only gets charged if the user continues to their link.”
The search engine was created and managed by a team that’s spread out around the world. “We work in a virtual office as we have people in London, Boston, Texas, and other cities,” says Curt. NowRelevant is completely private at this time; Curt declines to mention how much investment have been pumped into the company.
Entrepreneurship – “Riding A Roller Coaster”
“Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart,” Curt shares, adding that while there’s glory, there’s a lot of ‘roller-coaster riding as well. “That is what you sign up for when you decide not to go with the safety of the “9 to 5″ route.” Curt says that entrepreneurship gives great rewards, but require a lot of hard work – and takes time as well.
“For every successful start-up that gets bought out or goes public, there are ten that have failed and that you never hear about,” he muses. “I think being patient and not getting too high with the highs or too low with the lows is a key lesson. Building a success company or project is a marathon, not a sprint, you know you will have good days and you know there will be bad days, you just need to keep at it, never give up, and when you do get knocked down, get back up, learn from it, and move on.”
He says he hopes other new business owners can read this and get some wind under their sails. “Don’t give up, if you work at something long enough, your dream will come true.”