Can the blogosphere create buzz and voice pent-up demand? Ask Tony Conrad, CEO of blog search company Sphere.com.
"Last November we just launched this (blog search) algorithm," said Conrad, one of the co-founders of Sphere.com. "Next thing I know, 80,000 people sign up for the beta."
Sphere.com officially launched its web site on Tuesday and announced that it has secured $3.75 million in series A funding, led by Trident Capital.
The company's blog search site allows people to search on keywords or browse through blogs on about 15,000 topics. Despite the high sign-up rate for the beta, the service has only been available to about 3,000 people until now.
Conrad said that there is a huge difference between searching the Web at large and blogs specifically. Compared to the existing Web search portals, Sphere.com's search results are weighted toward timeliness, he said.
"The blogosphere is all about a conversation. It' not to say that the content you produced (on a blog) a year ago is not important, but it may not be the most relevant," he said.
To that point, Sphere.com has developed a "bookmarklet," which allows users to search for blogs related to the page they are reading, such as a news article.
For competition, Conrad said that the six-person company faces Technorati as well as the mainstream search companies. But he still sees an opportunity to do what Google did for Web search.
"We looked at blog search in 2004 and feld that nobody really nailed it," he said.
Conrad envisions the company providing search for other user-generated content, including podcasts, information from bulletin boards, and forums.