Goodbye Teoma, I’ll Miss You

The Teoma.com search engine is no more. And I will miss it. Well actually, the Teoma brand is no more, but its underlying technology is still available. Earlier this week Teoma.com was redirected to search.ask.com.

Teoma holds a place in my heart for the media splash it made a few years back. Teoma came into being with much fan fare and publicity back in 2001 after being in development at Rutgers University since 1998.

I warmly recall driving home and listing to NPR’s All Things Considered back in early 2002. I couldn’t believe I was hearing search industry spokesman Danny Sullivan being interviewed about the new Google killer. I was in awe. Amazed. This was stupendous. No, not because there was a Google killer, rather because my industry, search engine marketing, was actually being talked about on NPR during the heart of rush hour traffic. Go Danny. Go NPR. And of course, go Teoma. Any positive national attention drawn to the search marketing industry is well celebrated among its practitioners.

The Google killer question is one to consider. In recent months many people have begun to question whether the world’s heavy reliance on Google is so healthy. This same idea has been circulating with search engine marketers for years. Even with all the noise about Teoma’s potential 4 years ago, we all wondered then if another company could step into Google’s place as the undisputed king of the search engines. We all tried to guess whether or not Teoma’s great new technology would become a household name at all. I don’t think anyone believed that just marketing the brand would do it. It would have to catch on with a viral sort of word-of-mouth effect to truly unseat Google. After all Google never marketed itself.

The Teoma.com brand itself never did achieve the Google killer status. Teoma was eventually acquired by AskJeeves. It has been providing Ask’s natural results since then. You can still use Teoma’s technology at search.ask.com. While you are there take note that Ask has dropped Jeeves too. Where’s Jeeves? He has been frozen in carbonite like Han Solo and last appeared at a party in Manhattan. I’m not kidding.

Here’s to IAC/InteractiveCorp and the folks at Ask.com. May your engine prosper and continue to provide another very usable search engine option. Goodbye Teoma, I’ll miss you.