FIRST LOOK: New search engine, Plonked, is all business

Plonked seeks to help you learn more about businesses you might want to do more business with

New search engine, Plonked, is all business

Plonked is hyping itself as "the NEW Google," a fresh search engine that pledges to make it easier for you to find out stuff about companies in case you want to work for them, buy them, get sales leads or just plain know more about them.

(And there I was thinking Alphabet was the NEW Google...)

I gave Plonked a surface-level test today, plugging in the names of a few key companies that Network World readers might be interested in. You can use the search engine for free whether or not you sign up, but if you sign up you need to let Plonked sniff around your contacts -- so I'm sure whether you still consider that free. I'm not quite at that level of my relationship with Plonked yet to be giving access to my contacts, so take that into consideration as I share some of the results I found.

The first company I popped in was International Data Group, our parent company. I was interested to see that IDG is listed as having "no competitors." That's the line so many vendors we've interviewed over the years have responded with when we ask who their competitors are!

Cisco, on the other hand, is shown as having 160 competitors, including the likes of A10 Networks and Juniper Networks. Plonked also serves up a listing of more than 141 Leadership Team members, organized alphabetically by first name. I was invited to sign in if I wanted more details on these big shots.

Plonked claims to have indexed more than 200,000 companies and documented more than 850K people-company connections. If you sign up for the search engine you can take advantage of more of its analytical capabilities, including how you or your business might be connected to others. Plonked says its search results are heavily influenced by how companies and people are related to each other.

plonked bmc Plonked

Perusing leadership team members of IT management company BMC via Plonked

The San Francisco company's search engine will also give you information about a company's mentions in the news as well as its venture funding, and you can subscribe to email updates on such information. I somewhat randomly plugged in Trifacta, a data wrangling startup that recently bagged a fresh $35M in funding. My Plonked result, though, showed Trifacta's funding total before that February infusion. I tried Big Switch Networks and Plonked told me it has $35M in funding, but Big Switch says it has more than $90M after a fresh influx in January.

So it appears some kinks remain to be worked out, but maybe Google is at least a teensy bit concerned despite its commanding lead in the desktop and mobile search engine markets. When I typed "Plonked" or "Plonked search engine" into the Google search bar, I failed to get Plonked's website directly.

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Plonked's pedigree is solid, with Co-founder and CEO Ankur Varma citing past jobs such as development manager at Microsoft and director of software product marketing at power grid networking company Silver Spring Networks on his LinkedIn profile. Co-Founder and CTO Josh Atir was director of software engineering at Silver Spring, and also has had stints at Opsware, Mercury Interactive and the Israeli Air Force, among other organizations. Overall, the company's small team has extensive background in search, machine learning and big data, including at companies like Topsy Labs and Twitter, according to Varma. 

The company, which started in April 2015, is on the prowl for talent in marketing, sales and the tech side.

While Plonked is free for starters, it also lists more advanced accounts for professionals ($25 per month) and enterprises ($250 per month for unlimited users) that will be coming soon.

As for the company name, here's how Varma explains it:

"March/April of last year, we were interviewing several sales folks we know to get a better sense for how they search/discover targets. We mostly got a lot of complaining about dubious ROIs from lead gen companies and how painful they were to work with. One guy specifically said that he plonked down a ton of money with high hopes, which were never met. The word 'plonked' stayed with me ... after some google searches for domains, we decided to go with it. It was whimsical, catchy and different."

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