Real-Time Search Engine Collecta Hits Pause

Depending on your viewpoint, Collecta has either shut down or hit the pause button while the company “takes a step back” and retools it’s approach. I just got off the phone with Collecta CEO Gerry Campbell who was upbeat about his company’s prospects and next steps.

He was candid, however, that the market he and his team anticipated never materialized — or at least not in the way they had hoped. “We had hoped to find ourselves in the mainstream of activity,” said Campbell. Collecta’s ambition was to be both a destination and power the real-time web; and the company built a substantial infrastructure to do so.

Yet one could argue that the major search engines’ incorporation of Twitter’s feed in particular stole much of the thunder of specialized search engines such as Collecta, Topsy, Crowdeye and OneRiot. They’ve all had to shift because of Google and Bing’s “appropriation” of real-time search.

It’s also my sense that consumers never completely “knew how to relate” to real-time content, despite it’s demand in selected contexts: friend feeds, sports, news, politics, financial information. In other words, there wasn’t enough to lure consumers to these sites, especially after they could get some version of it from their familiar search engines.

Maybe it was a problem of packaging and marketing more than anything having to do with the content itself. Indeed, Campbell and I discussed how the “real-time web” and the news/activity feed are here to stay.

Campbell told me he has a number of potential product ideas and directions but didn’t want to disclose them for obvious reasons. Reflecting on Collecta’s impact, he added that he felt Collecta’s UI and streaming results became a model for others including Twitter. “We were a catalyst in the industry,” he asserts.

Campbell observed that the “market has changed radically” in the two years since Collecta launched. However he says he still believes in the technology and the approach that Collecta developed.

He wouldn’t put a time frame on when a new product might emerge but was confident that one would. Campbell told me the team is intact and that Collecta has money in the bank and a very committed and supportive board.

Related posts:

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Real Time Search


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

    Hi Greg,

    While OneRiot, Crowdeye and Collecta have stopped their search operations, Topsy has not, as you suggested, had to “shift because of Google and Bing’s “appropriation” of real-time search.” The internet is full of dead or dying web search engines, but nobody says there’s no opportunity in web search, when done right. We believe it’s the same for real-time / social search. Topsy had a very different approach from day one – we built completely new technology, and operate our own servers. Topsy has a bigger searchable index of Twitter content than Google, Bing or Twitter Search. Also unlike Twitter, Bing or Google, which show streams of updates, Topsy shows real-time results ranked by relevance.

    As a result, we’re now serving half a billion queries a month (mostly over our API).

    more info on our tech:

    Rishab Ghosh
    Topsy Labs, Inc

  • cyhex

    There is a newcomer worth taking a look at ,
    The deference between streamcrab and the rest of so called realtime search engines is that it actually delivers the results in real time and it is not a a bunch of Twitter posts.
    Perhaps it is also worth to mention that it is capable of searching and indexing real time results from Facebook, Dig, News and Blogs.

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