Blekko offers a tool kit enabling users to build their own vertical search engine on any topic, Skrenta added, but because a lot of users were unfamiliar with the functionality of slash tags, Blekko developed technology to match relevant slash tags with general queries, a development that was deployed in the middle of last year.
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When asked if Skrenta has a goal date for when he would like to see Blekko catch up to Google in traffic, Skrenta said the search engines goal is to stay focused on providing spam-free search, not on indexing every piece of information on the Web like Google. What Google does they do well, Skrenta said, noting also that his firm wants to succeed at something different and give consumers an editorial alternative in search. Skrenta said Blekko provides their own point of view with regards to results in the search engine, much like there is a difference in what is delivered via newspaper publications such as The New York Times or the BBC.
In terms of future plans for monetization, Skrenta said tests have commenced with partner firms showing standard advertising on the right and top of the page, and Blekko will be likely continue to roll out more advertising over the course of the year.
Skrenta attributed his ongoing success to daily exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep. “There are so many stresses when working at a start-up,” Skrenta said, “you have to drag yourself outside – it’s key.” Skrenta also said that he tries to stay on top of all the industry trends, but stressing that most important is to maintain a connection with those people working alongside you. Being in a start-up is like a roller coaster, every start-up is like that, and there are times when you have the night terrors and nausea, so you have to stay on the boat, eat right, exercise and have a good attitude, Skrenta concluded.