Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views. Well, actually six questions, since we also ask the start-up to who he or she is passing the mic to.
This time we’re interviewing Luis Pereira, Founder & CEO Stumpedia, a human-powered social search engine that enables registered users to submit sites and matching keywords and phrases. The relevancy of search results are then ranked and rated by the community. The future is search is social, said StumbleUpon founder Garrett Camp last week during The Next Web conference, so I figured I should ask Luis to participate in this start-up series. Want to know exactly how it works? Check out this extensive article on SearchRank. Want to know why Luis started this search service and the influence he expect it to has on the future web? Then continue reading:
How did you come up with the idea of Stumpedia?
“The initial idea for Stumpedia.com came as a result of another web site we launched called AskPoodle.com. Both web sites are described as being human-powered, where as Stumpedia.com is a global search engine for key-word driven searches, AskPoodle.com is a local business directory for the US market. We are in the middle of a fundamental shift in the search space. Page Rank will certainly be around for a very long time, but how people search and surf the web is changing. Social bookmarking sites are a great example of new search habits and trends that are emerging. We recognize a need in the market for web pages and web sites to be ranked based on social collaboration methods. Social bookmarking data such as tags are one important element in determining search relevancy.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“We basically built and launched an open platform with the bare minimum essentials to get started, and are now building it with the help of our community as we go along. Keeping up with all the new feature requests our community is constantly recommending, and trying to implement them as quickly as possible is our biggest challenge.”
Can you describe the New York start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“Stumpedia is targeting all global markets. Our head office is based in Millstone Township, NJ about 45 minutes from New York City. Our focus is not on location, but rather creating a great product and service that can be used and enjoyed by many people around the world. The basic principals of successful commerce and investment are the same everywhere you go, and the internet has made it easy for everyone to collaborate in many ways.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“Human-powered search is still a fairly new concept and very much unproven Traditional search is what most people are familiar and comfortable with so changing those habits won’t be easy. At the same time, the emergence of social media and social networks are rapidly growing. Stumpedia.com wants to be the next frontier in the empowerment of people by providing an alternative to traditional search and creating a social experience around search.
You can make up this question yourself!
How Is Stumpedia Different?
Stumpedia takes a different approach to human-powered search than competing sites Mahalo and Wikia Search. For example, the relevancy of search results at Mahalo is determined by their staff whose underlying motive is to profit from their own internally produced and hosted content. Wikia Search takes the wikipedia approach to creating and hosting collaborative content pages.
Where Stumpedia is unique is the fact that it enables registered users to submit sites along with matching keywords and phrases. The relevancy of search results are then ranked and rated by the volunteer community through the ability to vote listings up or down (much like Digg, Mixx and Sphinn). Unlike Mahalo and Wikia Search, Stumpedia is not a content producer or provider and as such does not host any content pages. Furthermore, unlike traditional search engines they do not use bots or crawlers.
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