Techcrunch is a major IT news blog. It is increasingly difficult to get your startup covered in it because of its popularity. But a funny thing happened today. The owner of Techcrunch wrote an article about the most bogus stealth start up I’ve read about all year:
MyLiveSearch? It’ll be fun times when Microsoft sues for trademark infringement over MSN’s own Live Search. That alone should be reason for concern, but apparently not today.
We’ve heard of countless Google killing startups over the past five years, and none have come even close. In fact, its two biggest competitors in the market – Yahoo and Microsoft – are losing market share every day. And yet Arrington, a veteran in the industry, took the bait.
He wrote up an article about this start up, eating up the press release “news article” as if it were a juicy steak:
and goes on to quote founder Rob Gabriel as saying his startup “gives better, more relevant results” than Google and “this technology could be snapped onto any of the major search engines and improve them.“
If they are so great, why are they already talking about being bought out? Nevermind the trademark issues! This is exactly the mentality of companies in the dot-bomb era: make a company that someone else will buy out — who cares about a product! If I discovered a technology that could unseat the current reigning 100 billion dollar champion, the last thing I’d do is sell out for a few million dollars. I mean, if my technology could be 1/100th of Google, that’s still 1.27 billion dollars.
And the claims they make are completely unsubstantiated. Faster than Google? More relevant? Supposedly it will be indexing 4/5 of the web that Google currently misses (so Google is only indexing 20% of the web, supposedly), which when I hear that, I think “spam blogs” or “banned from Google for a reason.” And the whole “live” thing is bogus now that Google does smart indexing, where it indexes dynamic content – such as news sites – more frequently.
Clearly, this company is full of crap and Techcrunch didn’t smell it. Why didn’t Arrington ask critical questions in his post? Why did he simply regurgitate the article without further research? Why did he just tip his hat to this obvious PR ploy? I don’t know, but it’s a shame he did.
So when you want your start up covered by a high-traffic blog, just get ten of your friends to send an email with a link to an article about your vaporware. It worked for MyLiveSearch.