I’m Feeling Lijit Today

Last week Lijit announced that they had raised a $3.3 million financing.  If you aren’t familiar with Lijit, it’s the search box on the top right of my blog.

Now that Google owns FeedBurner, I miss my friends there (ok – we still talk – a lot – but I still miss them.)  Think of Lijit as “my next investment like FeedBurner.”  While Lijit is a totally different service for publishers, the game plan and strategy is identical – provide as much value of publishers as humanly possible on the dimension of “network search.”  Our goal – replace the search function on all blogs with Lijit’s version.

When I first invested in FeedBurner, some of the FeedBack was “nice service for RSS Brad, but where’s the business?”  The business strategy was a simple one – provide huge direct benefit from publishers (to drive adoption on blogs) and then create an ad network around a new piece of inventory (in this case the RSS feed.)  FeedBurner did that brilliantly – today they have over 450,000 publishers and – as of this morning – now provide all of their services free to the publisher (including the previously charged for Stats PRO and MyBrand.)

Lijit is free to publishers.  It’s a trivial install – one click for TypePad and Blogger and a single line of Javascript for everyone else (except WordPress.com – maybe someday they let us in.)  If you are a blogger and haven’t tried it yet, try it and tell me how it goes.

While I expect plenty of people to say “network search? – what’s the big deal – I’ve already got Google search on my blog.”  If you fall into this category, think back to the distant past of 2005 when FeedBurner’s popularity started accelerating and see if you can remember if you were one of the people that said “RSS feeds – I don’t need any help managing that – I’ve already got one of my blog.” 

Typical blog search is crappy.  You end up with two common choices: whatever comes with the blog platform (yuck – pages only – and mediocre relevance algorithms) or Google search (better, but now you are a slave to pagerank and still limited to the pages on your site.)  In both cases, the search only works for the content on your blog – it doesn’t incorporate any of your other content (e.g. other blogs you publish, your bookmarks (e.g. Blink List, BlueDot, ClipMarks, del.icio.us, digg, Furl, Ma.gnolia, reddit, and Stumble Upon), you photos and videos (flickr and YouTube), your social networks (LinkedIn, Live Journal, MySpace, Twitter, MyBlogLog), or other RSS/OPML you manage or generate.  That’s “part 1” of the concept of the “network” (e.g. all of my stuff.)

Part 2 is your actual network.  Most blogs have a blogroll – that is a list of common blogs that the blogger reads or respects.  This is an easy place to start building a network.  Another would be the blogs a blogger reads (pretty easily available via an OPML reader that most RSS readers will export.)  Of course, once these bloggers become part of the Lijit network, Lijit will automagically connect all of their own content (“part 1”) up to the network which makes it even richer.  If you want to see some great stuff about my network, take a look at my Lijit User page.

It gets better, but I’ll save that for another post (and yeah – I realize I didn’t tell you the revenue model, but it’s a groovy one like FeedBurners.) For now, try it.  The current version of search lives on top of Google’s Custom Search engine, but there is some fancy magic search stuff coming (that you’ll get to alpha test on my blog.)

I was FeedBurner publisher #699.  I am Lijit publisher #31.  Three years after I started publishing my blog with FeedBurner they had 450,000 publishers and were acquired for a tidy sum.  Lijit’s publisher network is growing nicely – it’s up around 2,000 now and expanding at the same daily rate that FeedBurner was early on.  Help me help the growth curve continue!

  • laurie

    i tried…and i failed (to install lijit). granted, i’m using wordpress and my heart stopped at the sight of all that ….code….i had no idea what to do with it but enjoyed the experience of downloading the stuff (almost there…still working on it…seriously….).

  • laurie

    i tried…and i failed (to install lijit) late last nite. granted, i’m using wordpress and my heart stopped at the sight of all that ….code….i had no idea what to do with it but enjoyed the experience of downloading the stuff (almost there…still working on it…seriously….).

  • We will get you going. (unless you use wordpress.com which isn’t wijit friendly).

  • I’ve been using Lijit for over a month now (maybe two?) and I love it. I don’t have anywhere near the huge readership you do, but it’s really neat to see the stats on what’s being searched on (and what searches my blog is coming up in). After getting it installed on my Typepad account, I got an email asking for feedback. When I gave it – which included some minor constructive criticism/observations – they responded in a way that I didn’t expect: they asked for more detail.

    Also, just for informational purposes for your readers, the one-click installation won’t work for the advanced template in Typepad (or rather, it didn’t when I installed it). Presumably, if you’ve figured out how to make the advanced template work, though, you should be able to figure out how to get the wijit in.

  • Hi Laurie,

    Unfortunately, you cannot install the Lijit Search Wijit on hosted WordPress.com sites right now. We’re working very hard to partner with WordPress.com and get added to their list of available widgets, but could certainly use your help in that quest.

    If you’d be willing to provide feedback to WordPress about wanting the Lijit Search Wijit, we’d appreciate it very much! (You can provide feedback on the list of available widgets by logging into your WordPress.com account, clicking on My Dashboard –> Presentation –> Widgets, then the Feedback link in the upper right-hand corner of the page.)

    In the interim, you can always add a link to your blog that goes to your Lijit Profile page — readers can search you from there.

    Thanks for having tried us out and we hope to be able to provide you (and all of the other hosted WordPress.com users) the ability to install our Lijit Search Wijit very soon!

  • I signed up for Lijit a while back but had taken it off my site since some of the functionality wasn’t fully there.

    Your post spurred me to go back and check it out and I was happy to see they had made a bunch of great changes to the UI. I am happy to say that the Lijit Wijit is back at the top of Olson’s Observations. I needed a better blog search and I think this is it. From the looks of things those guys have been kicking butt over there over the last 6 months.

  • I’ve had Lijit on http://www.Tech-Surf-Blog.com now for several months, and absolutely love it. Never had a hiccup, from install right on through. It rocks!

  • Brad,
    Considering I should be the uber-tester (representing the large market of ultimate non-geeks) let me say “Congrats.”

    I installed it on my TypePad-supported blog. It was easy… but it is more than one step.

    Sure the final install is just one.

    Amused to note that the dry/droll messages while I waited for it to process my stuff (technical term) at the end sounded like they’d been written by one of your friends

    Now, here’s to my learning more about how to benefit from installing Lijit. If I can, anyone can

  • I’ve had the Lijit widget on a few of my sites for a month now and I’m really impressed with it. Given that the Lijit widget is built on Google Search technology, it does take time for the engine to update, so it can be a bit frustrating for people searching your most recent posts. I also noticed a bug with WordPress 2.2.1, but Lijit’s customer service is fantastic – hats off to Tara Anderson for being the fastest customer service responder of all time. You can read more about my experience with Lijit at –