ChaCha Receives $6 Million To Keep Dancing
Google may own well over 50% of the search market, but there are still those who are willing to support other engines. A group of companies and individuals recently proved this by giving $6 million in funding to ChaCha, a “smart search engine powered by human intelligence.”
The list of contributors includes some fairly important names, such as Jack Gill, the co-founder of Vanguard Ventures, and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, who participated through his investment firm Bezos Expeditions. Rod Canion, the founding CEO of Compaq, also added some dollars to the pot.
“Right now is a very exciting time to enter the rapidly growing search industry,” Canion said in an official statement, “and I believe ChaCha’s radically different approach to search through their innovative use of real people will continue to gain traction in the marketplace.”
In regards to that “use of real people”: ChaCha (which is still in beta) offers users the option of running queries by a human guide. “By searching with a Guide,” the search engine’s “About Us” section explains, “your query is sent to a real person who is skilled at finding information on the internet and knowledgable [sic] on the subject at hand so that you get the few exact results you want, not the millions of results you don’t.”
Gill, Bezos, and Canion are undoubtedly happy to note that ChaCha’s approach seems to be catching on. The Indianapolis Star’s Erika D. Smith reports that “40 percent of ChaCha users are searching with a guide,” and that the number of guides has risen “from 2,000 to 25,000 since early September.” ChaCha’s traffic and advertising revenue are also heading up.