The new search engine for business is called, um, Plonked

Technically Incorrect: Plonked claims there's a need for more advanced, business-specific search. It says there are far fewer than six degrees of separation between companies. But, oh, that name.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


plonkers.jpg

It's new. It's Plonked.

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You know that tech is an incestuous business, don't you?

Everyone knows everyone or at least seems, in some distant way, to be connected to everyone.

Where they talk about humans having six degrees of separation from everyone else on the planet, it seems far fewer with companies.

In fact, it's less than four degrees of separation.

You might be suspicious of my confidence. I wouldn't blame you. However, I am quoting the alleged expertise of a new search engine that claims it's designed just for businesspeople. And, in its first iteration, mainly for tech businesspeople.

It's called Plonked. Please can we not dwell on the name right now? I have to keep a straight face. We'll come back to it.

Instead, here's Plonked founder and CEO Ankur Varma's view of the true closeness among companies, even in tech.

"The average degree of separation for most tech companies is 3.5," he told me. "In other words, even the most obscure small businesses are in fact connected to the other 24 million businesses in the United States in just three to four hops."

Plonked therefore wants to give searchers whose interest might be mergers and acquisitions, employment, or lead generation a much fuller picture of the interconnections between entities.

It's like your average Polish wedding -- disclosure: I'm Polish -- when you look around and realize you have 143 cousins. (By the end of the evening, a couple are often removed.)

How is it different from simple Googling? Varma says that you can conduct a generic search on Google. But Plonked is more like an extra tab that would sit next to the ones that say "YouTube" and "Images." This one is marked "business."

"We believe that just searching for companies often isn't sufficient," Varma told me. "Users want to see more color behind the search. Is a company growing? How is its brand perceived? Are they hiring? How large is their ecosystem of partners and customers?"

He said that Plonked -- which is currently a free service -- has created a metric that shows how much buzz one company is getting when compared with another.

The founders are, naturally, big data types whose experience encompasses Prism Skylabs, Concurrent, Topsy Labs, Twitter and Silver Spring Networks.

I can't delay this any longer. The name Plonked.

It doesn't feel entirely businesslike, somehow. There's almost a childishness about it. Yes, I know you'll tell me that Yahoo, Google and the rest were also straight out of kindergarten. But Plonked has a certain onomatopoeia that suggests the noise of a cell phone disappearing into a toilet bowl.

And then there's this: In the UK, where I was forced to grow up, the word "plonker" is used quite often. The Urban Dictionary offers these synonyms: dope, idiot, moron, wally, pillock, dunderhead, dimwit.

The Plonkeders were, understandably perhaps, unaware of this.

They told me the name "Plonked" comes from a story the founders were told by a salesman who was tired of having to "plonk" down substantial sums of money for lead generation that led nowhere.

But if people who work at Google are called Googlers, what are people at Plonked called? Varma told me he'd prefer it if they were called "Plonks."

Sadly, there's another British phrase. It means dope, idiot, moron, etc.

It's "thick as two short plonks." Well, almost.

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