Human curation still matters. And that’s the bet that search engine startup Blekko is making.
It’s premise is simple — add a dose of “social” and what it calls “slash tags” and there you have it: a collection of hand-picked sites that focus on what people (not algorithms) look at.
The move takes aim at the rise in content farms such as Demand Media and Associated Content that focus on ways to game Google’s through clever SEO techniques. While this is a profitable, scalable way to create content (Demand is off to an IPO soon), users are led down the path of dodgy content whose source or credibility can’t be determined. Would you go to eHow.com for medical advice? (I kid you not — people do because that’s what Google serves up)
“I personally don’t like getting content aggregators like Demand Media in my results,” said Rich Skrenta, the CEO of Blekko. “They’re polluting the Web.”
Skrenta, the ex-founder of Topix, has raised $24 million in venture-capital funds. He’s also tapped famous angel investors like Marc Andreessen.
With a touch of social magic dust, Blekko has brought together in a private beta more than 3,000 collections of sites that can be found through slash tags.
It’s vertical search meets social. And score one for human curation. Sometimes there just some things that people do better.