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A big name addition to WolframAlpha’s executive team. Barak Berkowitz, who headed blogging firm Six Apart until he left two-and-a-half years…

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A big name addition to WolframAlpha’s executive team. Barak Berkowitz, who headed blogging firm Six Apart until he left two-and-a-half years ago, is joining the search startup as managing director tasked with leading the “growth of WolframAlpha’s business.” Specifically, WolframAlpha says that Berkowitz will help the company build new partnerships and also establish a “significant presence” in Silicon Valley; WolframAlpha’s headquarters are in Champaign, Illinois.

In the announcement, WolframAlpha CEO Stephen Wolfram notes that WolframAlpha has seen “explosive growth” since is launch in May. And, indeed, WolframAlpha has landed a high-profile licensing deal to provide its data to Microsoft’s Bing and has also begun to offer enterprise and customized versions of its service.

But it’s too early to say that WolframAlpha has managed to break the well-documented curse of Google challengers past. Granted WolframAlpha doesn’t claim to be a full-fledged search engine and instead aims to answer “factual queries.” But like other much-hyped search startups, WolframAlpha’s traffic soared at launch, only to fall to a fraction of that since, according to Compete, Quantcast, and even the WolframAlpha entry — on WolframAlpha.

We’ve asked WoflramAlpha what metric Wolfram was referring to when he noted the “explosive growth” and will update when we hear back.

  1. There wasn’t no curse of Google challengers – they were just extremely misguided about the business and read too many online search pundit articles….

    Bottom line is these search engines weren’t about the business, they are about “coolness” or trying to prove they were more “relevant” than Google algorithm.

    None of them, including Bing challenged Google business model but instead focused on the weird belief if they are more “relevant” than Google, they can beat Google somehow on that form factor alone.

    Never in my professional life have I seen so much “if we do this first, then that could mean….” speculative thoughts than in the so-called search industry.

    Bottom line is Google, Inc. has a business model of selling pay-per-click ads while all these other “search firms” are trying to impress someone with a “relevancy” form factor invented up by search bloggers.

    Too funny….

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