May 22 we reported that Eurekster, a custom search engine provider, had been down for the past two days and users were wondering if the company would be back. Tonight an alert RWW reader spotted that Eurekster has returned to the land of the living. A blog entry dated May 30 from Eurekster states that "we're happy to let you know that our service has been fully restored and all your swickis should be back up and running again."On
There's no official word yet on why Eurekster went down for over a week.
Eurekster provides a service called a Swicki, a search function that lets site owners identify what other sites in their community they would like to have included in their Swicki search results. We've used Swicki here at ReadWriteWeb in the past (disclosure: it was a paid sponsorship arrangement, as it was also on some other top tech blogs). For its user base, the company offered revenue sharing from search ads. Many users had built up a nice revenue stream from the service. In the comments to our previous post, there was some interesting feedback from some of those users.
RWW commenter TomYam, who appeared to be a loyal Swicki user, theorized that Google was to blame for Eurekster's sudden drop in fortune:
"...one of the big reasons why they have dropped is probably because Google made an change in their search algo and what to keep in their index at the end of Nov 2007. And basically all swicki "subdomains" dropped out of Google index. From 2 million indexed swickis to currently 300.000."
TomYam went on to outline how he was making money from swickis (and note we have no way to verify if this is true, but it does show the potential that swickis have as custom search engines with a revenue stream):
"Trust me I know this since I monitored my swickis on daily base and was trying to build up a nice portfolio of swickis on "many" different topics that I came up with while watching TV and reading magazines.
I started creating swickis in September 2006, and basically continued doing them until January 2008.
During 2007 i managed to climb from a few cents per day from Adsense to a couple of days in December when I finally broke 100$/ day barrier.
And then first week in December 2007, they they made the decision to drop adsense revenue for any swicki that was not in their index.
And guess what I only had 3 in there. Never occurred to me to ask them to add my swiciks as the first ones popped up there automatically.
So my +2000 swickis suddenly dropped from a nice +100$/day to not even 1$/day...... and they were really showing a nice pace towards even 200$/day.
1 swicki maybe gave only 0,03$, a few gave 1$ per day, but you add upp +100 swickis that have 10-30 visitors a day then is suddenly picks up.
I made 4300$ from adsense revenue from my swickis during 2007, and was already looking for a prosperous 2008.
Talk about wasted time from my side, to promote and submit my swickis and giving "eurekster" linkpower over the +1 year that I was doing daily management of my swickis and creating new ones.
So for now I have not touched or tried to promote them over 6 months. It's going to be interesting to see what happens.
If they would allow the Adsense or other revenue back on for any created swicki, then I might be interested to promote them again as it would be worthwhile.
Go to http:// shoutouts .swicki .com - and you will see that they are "working on it...
2006 and 2007 I thought this was a nice way to make some extra $$$ in the years to come. Now....... Nope.
Luckly I have other income sources and no debts....
But that is life.. It sucks.
Now is time to concentrate on new ventures... Time for Poker News in Asia."
Another commenter, Kim Remmington, also thought Google was to blame:
"Looking at the chart above its obvious that Google thought that most of the swickis were spam. Eurekster basically said this in their blog. A lot of those spammy swickis were bringing in decent money. When you combine that with the incredible ease of making swickis, swicki farms and swicki universes, Google had something to worry about."
I personally don't believe that swickis are spam, although it does sound like they attracted many 'get rich quick' types. I actually found the swickis I used to be very useful, highly targeted search engines. The RWW swicki for example was a great way to find focused news on web tech, not just from RWW but from other sources that I chose to include (e.g. other tech blogs).
In any case, it's good to see that Eurekster is back. And we'll see if we can get to the bottom of the story for you!