At the Venture Summit East conference in downtown Boston yesterday, CEOs of various tech start-ups gave five-minute spiels to peak the interest of venture capitalists. The consumer and media panel hosted several interesting companies, most of which focused on improving the Internet experience for the user and aggregating content more efficiently.
Mark Moran, the CEO of Dulcinea Media of New York, presented a Web search engine the company launched last year. The engine’s findings are based on editorially reviewed content and links. Taglined “the Librarian of the Internet,” findingDulcinea.com is a good idea in theory. According to Moran, users are inundated with information and often don’t get what they’re really looking for. “Internet search engines are powered by math-based algorithms–ones that lack the judgment and adaptability of the human mind,” he says.
Unlike Wikipedia, the content on the site is entirely managed and written by the team, which links to sites it finds useful. The website’s target is largely folks (824 million) who use the Web but are not familiar with social-networking sites. In particular, it focuses on the older demographic that is still learning to navigate the Web, and offers friendly guides (how to search the Web, how to find an apartment in New York, etc.).
While this hand-holding portal to the Internet might be appealing to people like my mom, who doesn’t have an e-mail account and just recently learned to Google, the site still has gaps in many subject topics. That’s not surprising–how can a group of 30 people write guides and find good links to every single subject?
When I asked Moran how they maintained enough manpower to sustain such an exhaustive system, he said they managed just fine. It seems, however, to fill those gaps, instead of trying to categorize the entire Internet–with more websites than any library–they might benefit from some automated page-hit searches to beef up their site.
FindingDulcinea.com believes that carefully evaluated links provides a better search engine than one that only considers page hits. While a site with a gazillion page hits may not necessarily be more worthwhile than another page, I still like seeing for myself what all the fuss is about.