Evan Britton attended the ’140′ Twitter conference in Los Angeles last fall, went home and hired a programmer via Craigslist, and days later had launched a real-time search engine called Sency. That’s only possible when you keep things simple, and simplicity is what Britton hopes will distinguish Sency in the growing field of real-time search engines.
“We’re not trying to build a site for the most tech-savvy individuals,” Britton says. “We’re going after the mom-and-pop searchers.”
To be sure, Sency is simple enough for moms, pops, and pretty much anyone to understand. Do a search and the results page only offers two options: the latest tweets about your query and today’s most popular links related to your query.
There are some pretty basic social media sharing buttons, widgets that webmasters can install to add real-time content on their sites, four international versions of the site, and that’s about it.
Actually, there’s also some interesting SEO and marketing going on. Pretty much everything on Sency becomes its own web page, including both of the tabs you see in the image above. Plus, every result shown in both tabs gets its own URL, like this one showing one of the popular NCAA links and some of the users that mentioned it.
Britton says Sency is currently getting about 10,000 page views per day and between 120,000-150,000 unique users per month. His goal is to get traffic up to a million users per month while keeping overhead low. “Our model isn’t to get bought; it’s to grow traffic without a lot of overhead. I guarantee we’ll be here in three years.”
One other thing that may distinguish Sency from its competition is that Britton seems to have a realistic view about where real-time search fits in the overall search landscape. “Real-time search is better than Google maybe two out of 10 times … maybe,” he says. “But, real-time search is powerful those two times.”