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Blekko Screenshot.png
Blekko home page
Web address www.blekko.com
Type of site
Search engine
Available in English
Owner IBM (International Business Machines)
Launched November 1, 2010
Alexa rank
negative increase 2,247 (February 2015)[1]
Current status Defunct (March 27, 2015)

Blekko, trademarked as blekko (lowercase),[2] was a company that provided a web search engine with the stated goal of providing better search results than those offered by Google Search, with results gathered from a set of 3 billion trusted webpages and excluding such sites as content farms. The company's site, launched to the public on November 1, 2010, used slashtags to provide results for common searches. Blekko also offered a downloadable search bar. It was acquired by IBM in March 2015.


The company was co-founded in 2007 by Rich Skrenta, who had created Newhoo, which was acquired by Netscape and renamed as the Open Directory Project.[3] Skrenta "is still remembered most for unleashing the Elk Cloner virus on the world".[4] Blekko has raised $24 million in venture capital from such individuals as Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway, as well as from U.S. Venture Partners and CMEA Capital.[5] The company's goal was to be able to provide useful search results without the extraneous links often provided by Google. Individuals who enter searches for such frequently searched categories as cars, finance, health and hotels will receive results prescreened by Blekko editors who will use what the New York Times described as "Wikipedia-style policing" to weed out pages created by content farms and focus on results from professionals.[6] Use of slashtags will restrict the set of search results to those matching the specified characteristic and a slashtag will be automatically added for search categories with prescreened results.[7] Queries related to personal health are limited to a prescreened list of 76 sites that Blekko editors have determined to be trustworthy, excluding many sites that rank highly in Google searches.[3] As of Blekko's launch date, its 8,000 beta editors had developed 3,000 slashtags corresponding to the site's most frequent searches.[7] The company hopes to use editors to develop prepared lists of the 50 sites that best match its 100,000 most frequent search targets.[3] Additional tools allow users to see the IP address that a website is running on and let registered users label a site as spam.[8]

At the time, Blekko announced plans to earn revenue by selling ads based on slashtags and search results. The company also planned to provide data on its algorithm for ranking search results, including details for inbound links to specific sites.[6]

As part of a permanent post in Blekko's help section was the following "Web search bill of rights":[9]

  1. Search shall be open
  2. Search results shall involve people
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
  4. Web data shall be readily available
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
  8. Search and community go hand-in-hand
  9. Spam does not belong in search results
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

One writer referred to the bill of rights as "what we assume is a poke at Google".[10][11]

In 2011, Blekko announced blocking "content farmy sites", to reduce spam, in line with its bill of rights.[12]

In May 2012, Mozilla announced an "instant search" browser plugin for Firefox designed to cache repetitive search requests, in partnership with Blekko.[13]

In August 2012, Blekko put all its SEO statistics behind a paywall,[14] despite previously declaring that "ranking data shall not be kept secret"[11] in its bill of rights.[14]

In March 2015, IBM bought Blekko, leaving people accessing its site unable to make any searches and redirecting them to an IBM blog post here. The post tells readers that Blekko's web-crawling abilities will be integrated into IBM Watson, in addition to the acquisition of AlchemyAPI. It compares itself, AlchemyAPI, and Blekko to an oil field. In this metaphorical oil field, Blekko's technology will be used to crawl the web and deliver data to the technology acquired from AlchemyAPI, which will "refine" the information. Watson's existing systems will deliver the information to users.[15]


Blekko used an initiative called slashtags,[2] consisting of a text tag preceded by a "/" slash character, to allow ease of searching and categorise searches. System and pre-defined slashtags allowed users to start searching right away. Users could create slashtags after signup, to perform custom-sorted searches and to reduce spam.[6]


The following features were available to all users:


Blekko offered a downloadable browser toolbar or search bar which changes default search and home page URLs of the user's web browsers.[16]


In 2010, John Dvorak described the site as adding "so much weird dimensionality" to search, and recommended it as "the best out-of-the-chute new engine I've seen in the last 10 years".[8] In Matthew Rogers' review of the site, he found it "slow and cumbersome", and stated that he did not understand the necessity or utility for slashtags.[17] In his PCMag.com review, Jeffrey L. Wilson expressed approval of some search results, but criticized the site's social features which "bog down the search experience."[18]


  1. ^ "Blekko.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b "About". blekko.com. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Efrati, Amir. "Start-Up Aims at Google: Blekko.com Taps Users to Narrow Results, Avoid Spam Sites", Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.
  4. ^ "Prank starts 25 years of computer security woes". CTV.ca. Associated Press. August 31, 2007. 
  5. ^ Wollman, Dana (November 2, 2010). "Blekko launches human-driven search engine". News & Record. Associated Press. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Miller, Claire Cain. "A New Search Engine, Where Less Is More". New York Times, October 31, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Van Grove, Jennifer. "Alternative search engine Blekko launches", CNN, November 1, 2010. Accessed November 1, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Dvorak, John C. "Blekko: The Newest Search Engine", PC Magazine, November 1, 2010. Accessed November 1, 2010.
  9. ^ "What is Blekko". help.blekko.com. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Hales, Paul (November 1, 2010). "New Search Engine Takes a Shot at Google". Thinq. 
  11. ^ a b Jeffries, Adrianne (February 1, 2011). "Upstart Search Engine Blekko Blocks Demand Media and Other "Content Farms"". New York Observer. 
  12. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (January 31, 2011). "Blekko Bans Content Farms Like Demand Media's eHow From Its Search Results". TechCrunch. 
  13. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth (May 22, 2012). "Firefox flirts with Blekko for 'instant' search". CNET.com. 
  14. ^ a b c Keays, Roger (August 14, 2012). "Blekko Paywall Their /SEO Secrets". SunburntSEO.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Data, Data, Everywhere Data. Now a Better Way to Understand It". IBM. March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  16. ^ Watson, Cheralyn (January 12, 2012). "How do I remove blekko as my homepage and default search engine in Internet Explorer (IE)?". help.blekko.com. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ Rogers, Matthew (November 1, 2010). "Blekko, the "Slashtag" search engine is slow, cumbersome, and just plain broken". DownloadSquad.switched.com. 
  18. ^ Wilson, Jeffrey L. (November 3, 2010). "Blekko". PCMag.com. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blekko — Please support Wikipedia.
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Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:26:15 -0700

Add Blekko to the list of startup search engines that has come and now gone. A message on the Blekko home page, shown above, says that “The blekko technology and team have joined IBM Watson!” The page redirects to a post on IBM's Smarter Planet blog ...

SiliconANGLE (blog)

SiliconANGLE (blog)
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 22:25:21 -0700

Blekko Inc., the curated search engine, has been quiet over the last two years. Until Friday, the company hadn't tweeted since December 2013 and there hasn't been much more activity on its Facebook page over that time either. On Friday, the company ...


Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:22:30 -0700

Back in 2010, an alternative search engine called Blekko emerged. It came from Rich Skrenta, co-founder & former CEO of Topix and NewHoo (which went on to become The Open Directory Project or DMOZ). It aimed to crowd source search by using the ...

USMarketsDaily (blog)

USMarketsDaily (blog)
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:18:45 -0700

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has acquired certain tech from search Engine company Blekko. The startup Blekko had developed a web search engine that claimed to get rid of spams and went on offensive against Google in that front.


Sun, 29 Mar 2015 23:45:00 -0700

Men investorer har tydelig hatt troen på Blekko. Etter den innledende finansieringsrunden med 24 millioner dollar i venturekapital fra blant annet Netscape-gründer Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway og U.S. Venture Partners, har selskapet ifølge CrunchBase ...

WWWhat's new? (blog)

WWWhat's new? (blog)
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:26:15 -0700

Google no es el único motor de búsqueda que hay en Internet, Microsoft tiene el suyo, DuckDuckGo también, y la startup Blekko también. Está claro que Blekko no está al nivel de Google o Bing, pero también está claro que si lo hubiera estado no habría ...


Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:26:15 -0700

Le lien sur la start-up Blekko est sans équivoque, bien que fugace. « La technologie Blekko et son équipe ont rejoint IBM Watson. » Pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas Blekko, la société a développé un moteur de recherche qui devait être le concurrent de ...

Business Insider

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Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:37:30 -0700

As Business Insider's Matt Rosoff pointed out on Tuesday, a number of companies — including Microsoft, DuckDuckGo, Blekko, and Wolfram Alpha — have tried to take on Google in search, and "nobody has come close to dethroning the king." ...

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