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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.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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