Northern Light Coming Back?
Northern Light sent out a press release on May 22 announcing "Northern Light, the tiny little search engine company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, emerged today from the chaos of the Divine bankruptcy, smaller but basically intact, its notable search, classification, and content integration technology still viable and ready to roll." (See the press release at http://tinyurl.com/cmub .) Northern Light was purchased by the former CEO, C. David Seuss.
A story about the purchase in the Boston Business Journal ( boston.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2003/05/19/daily35.html ) indicates that Seuss bought the engine for all of $81,000. It's not clear if the Web search is coming back, but Seuss said in the press release "We have started discussions with interested parties about ideas for new approaches to delivering on the promise of Web searching, ideas that represent a collaboration between others who have done innovative work and Northern Light. These ideas may result in uniquely useful Web search services."
If Northern Light does come back, and I don't think it's a bad idea, it needs to come back swinging. Even before its sale to divine it suffered from a too-low profile (in my opinion) and insufficient discussion of its good points (including e-mail alerts and a really nice news search engine.) Its partnership with Yahoo was just the boost it needed, but right on its heels came a sale to divine and all the associated problems there.
If I were C. David Seuss, I would get right out in front. More feisty press releases (the leading sentence on the Web page, "We are pleased to announce that we have escaped and are an independent company once again", is a good start.) Take a lead on something the other search engines haven't done too much with, like RSS feeds for search results or a support of an meta-data standard for news pages. Don't try to out-Google Google.
The Northern Light Web page ( http://www.northernlight.com ) offers sign up for three different Northern Light mailing lists but not much other information. Worth keeping an eye on.
Source: Research Buzz.com.