Both Dana Blankenhorn and Dan Farber have written posts today about Paglo, a new “search engine for IT” launched today. Based on open source tools, Paglo offers a spider that crawls a user’s network enabling them to search for network problems that require ad hoc investigation. The service is offered free of charge and users can create charts, lists and tables based on the results.What’s particularly interesting about the company is that it hasn’t apparently worked out how it will make money from the service as yet. According to Brian de Haaff, CEO: “Some say that we are nuts, but we think that you need to prove that something is valuable before you worry about making money from it. “
One of the benefits of open soyrce is that it lowers barriers to entry and distribution for new open source software-based businesses. There have been plenty of examples of companies changing their business model midstream when they realize the initial plan does not provide what customers are willing to pay for. I think this is the first example I’ve heard of a company launching without a business plan altogether, however.
Blankenhorn notes that the VC backers behind Network Chemistry, which sold its wireless security business to Aruba Networks in March to focus on what was then known as Project Wishbone, are also backing Paglo, so there must be some thought going into revenue somewhere. Network Chemistry’s backers included Geneva Venture Partners, Innovacom, the investment arm of France Telecom, and In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
The plan appears to be for the beta program to make it evident to the Paglo team what users will be willing to pay for. In another post de Haaff wrote: “There’s an infinite number of challenges that a search engine for IT will solve. We’ve already identified over 100 meaningful use cases. And I’ll bet, just like with the rocks, the people who start using Project Wishbone will bring to light thousands more.” (You’ll have to read the post to work out what the rocks have to do with it).