Home Trouble at Eurekster? Things Don’t Look Good

Trouble at Eurekster? Things Don’t Look Good

Social/wiki search engine provider Eurekster has been down for the past two days and users are wondering if the company will return to provide the site search functionality that many have come to depend on. Things look rough for the company.

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 for some time, as have many other blogs and online communities. The company offered revenue sharing from search ads. Eurekster says that more than 100,000 sites have created Swickis and traffic to Eurekster used to be strong.

What’s Going On?

Both Eurekster and Swicki.com are down and users report to us that’s been the case for the past two days. Traffic to the site has plummeted since the start of the year and key executives have departed. According to their LinkedIn profiles, VP of Engineering Blair Cassidy and VP of Product Development Tac Leung left the company in March and April respectively – but both are still listed on the company’s management page. As we publish this, neither emails nor phone messages have been returned by the company. Channel Marketing Manager at Eurekster Alex Holmes sent out one Twitter message two days ago reading “temporary service outage on http://www.eurekster.com . Swickis will be back shortly.”

Eurekster was founded in October of 2003 and raised more than $6 million in venture capital, most recently a $5.5 million round in March of 2007.

What Might Have Happened?

It’s always interesting to ask why a startup may not have succeeded, though to be fair Eurekster could come back at a moment’s notice. The company’s method of determining relevance in search was always a little unclear. Google Site Search is easy to install and its results are fairly predictable. Many users wanted search results in chronological order, but that’s not the first place Swicki searches took you. Finally, the Swicki usually lived in a blog sidebar. That’s a hard place to build a business.

Those are our theories about why Swicki has struggled. What are yours? We hope to hear from the company soon, it’s never a pretty sight to see a startup sputter out.

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