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CEO Richard Jalichandra talks about improving blog search and making money
As Technorati - the pioneer in blog search - expands to focus on being an advertising network, Google is focusing on improving its blog search. Google this week launched a new blog home page so people can "browse and discover the most interesting stories in the blogosphere... Grouping them in clusters lets you see the best posts on a story or get a variety of perspectives," according to Google Blogs.
In this interview, prior to Google's new blog destination site, I asked Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra if Technorati was better than Google Blogs, and why. "We're quite different," he said, adding that Technorati has improved its search significantly in the last year. Technorati completely overhauled the search infrastructure, making the search speed time 2.5 times faster than last year, he said.
Additionally, "search will be more prominent than it's ever been," he said, hinting at technology changes this fall that will dramatically enhance the search experience. "We've re-dedicated ourselves to search." Technorati is also trying to do a better job highlighting the voices of authority across the blogosphere. Recently, Technorati launched its "State of the Blogosphere" report.
What about Twitter as a search engine? Do you see it as a competitor? I asked.
"I'm a big fan," he said, suggesting that people will want to be able to search for Tweets and 500-word essays on blog posts.
Richard and I spent much of the conversation also discussing Technorati's two-pronged strategy of building out an ad network under Technorati Media and pursuing an improved blog search platform with an automated ad platform under Technorati.com. The automated ad platform is not designed to compete with Google. "I would never want to compete with Google," he said. "We're not going to do keyword advertising."
Richard also talks about the business model behind the ad network, which already includes 30 to 40 sites.
Richard shares a lot in this third-part interview. So, I won't give it all away.
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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests.
Where did the idea for Twitter come from?
Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.
How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes.
We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.
How do you make money from Twitter?
There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.
In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet.
At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.
Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.
What's next for Twitter?
We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users.
We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.
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The recognized authority inthe blogosphere, Technorati collects, organizes, highlights and distributes theonline global conversation, surfacing this content to millions of consumers.Founded as the first blog search engine, Technorati has become the definitivesource for the top stories, opinions, photos and videos emerging across news,entertainment, technology, lifestyle, sports, politics and business. Technoratitracks not only the authority and influence of blogs, but also the mostcomprehensive and current index of who and what is most popular in the blogosphere. The Technorati Media network matches bloggers and social media creators with marketers who want to join the conversation www.technorati.com