October 10, 2009
Finding content about a topic can sometimes be difficult. Valley-based startup Kosmix aims to help you find related content quickly and accurately.When we need to find an answer to a problem or content about a topic, most of us use a search engine. We type in our query and then select a result. Many times we have to go back and forth until we find the answer we desire. Google has been slowly adding more media types to their search results including blogs and videos.
Kosmix provides an aggregator that creates topic pages on the fly. Each topic page includes a variety of content depending on what type of query you enter. A search for "chicken wing recipes" will provide a different set of content types than a search for "USB drives". It's this intelligence that Kosmix believes is their core differentiator. A search for singer Rachel Stevens provided content from eBay, Amazon, Last.fm, YouTube, Truveo, Wikipedia, Google Blog Search and Twitter. Kosmix also offered related terms and queries to help further refine the provided aggregated topic pages. To show off their technology, Kosmix has rolled out several topical aggregation sites. In 2007, Kosmix launched RightHealth which offers health content topic pages. In 2008, RightHealth was ranked as the second-most-visited health site, behind WebMD, according to Hitwise. Earlier this year Kosmix launched MeeHive which offers personalized news pages. MeeHive also allows you to friend other users and monitor their activity for content discovery. I spoke with Kosmix co-founder, Venky Harinarayan to learn more about the service. Venky describes Kosmix as, "to enable, browse and discover." The goal is to entice users with enough content about the desired topic but not fully satisfy the user. The full satisfaction is provided by visiting the destination sites that Kosmix provides. Kosmix currently frames the destination sites with a Kosmix toolbar. Other services in the web content aggregation space include Hakia, Mahalo and OrganizedWisdom. These competitors combine human editors along with computer-based results. Kosmix provides computer-based results and Venky believes this will allow Kosmix to grow faster and expand further than the competition. Interestingly, a good portion of traffic to the Kosmix network of sites comes through Google. Will Kosmix be able to change behavior and train users to visit Kosmix when they need information on a topic? The answer will determine if Kosmix will always be a search result or a true destination site.
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