Ranker is a consumer web platform and interest graph play based on the easily understood and highly engaging concept of rankings and voting. Ranker harnesses the “wisdom of crowds” to provide credible answers to questions like “what are the best <blank>?”. Visitors can vote on or rank topics with various levels of engagement, and Ranker’s technology aggregates this interest graph data into CrowdRankings such as The Best TV Shows. Ranker utilizes semantic, linked datasets to power this “connected listmaking” for users across all topics, and has partnered with Freebase, Factual, and other sources of “big data” for this. The ranker.com site launched to the public August 2009 and has seen solid traffic and user growth every month. In the future Ranker will be porting its ranking technology to other sites and platforms. As of August 2011, Ranker is accumulating 3 million unique visitors and 10 million pageviews a month.
Ranker’s platform is not confined to a specific vertical and is flexible enough to be used for blogging, shopping, polls, publishing, social networking, even organization.
Clark Benson, CEO, Founder, Seed Investor:
• Sold prior internet startup eCrush (primary site was http://www.espin.com) to Hearst in 2006. Read that story at http://www.startup-review.com/blog/ecrush-case-study-why-timing-the-ma-market-is-tricky.php ; Self-financed seed $1 million for Ranker in 2008.
• Serial Entrepreneur. Ranker is 5th startup. None have failed.
• Also, founded 15 year old music marketing company www.almightymusicmarketing.com (Benson is no longer involved in the day-to-day management)
• All prior startups were/are successes – real businesses, real profitability, lean operations
Premesh Purayil, Engineering Lead:
• Cofounder of Cerebra Inc., purchased by webMethods/Software AG and later bought back with funding from Intel Capital
• Years of deep expertise in semantic technologies / linked data
Revenues are generated via:
Highly contextually targeted advertising (a list is "about something" - content is not low-value social networking pageviews)
Affiliate shopping / Lead Gen
Platform Licensing (there is a need for a whitelabel Ranking Platform)
Market Research Data
There are a number of sites competing in the general "reviews/ratings/recommendations" space. There is no clear victor in this space (there is Amazon, and there are vertical specific sites that have vibrant communities, but there is a lot of value ahead for the companies that can stand out from the pack in this arena). Nobody has an interface that provides a value-add quite like ours. And nobody is using the same approach of treating list items as objects and aggregating them.
The Ranker platform is flexible enough to be used for blogging, shopping, polls, publishing, social networking, even organization – and modular enough to be easily white-labeled.