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Everything You Want In One Place – Why Curation Is The Future of Search

Posted By Dylan Espegren On November 8, 2012 @ 4:07 pm In Featured,SEO,Social Media | 1 Comment

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The internet is, in many ways, a great equalizer. Anyone with a smartphone can access more information than one person could possibly comprehend, more music than they could listen, and too many recipes for a kitchen’s capabilities. All of this “stuff” is provided at a seemingly endless quantity, as long as it fits within a decent data plan. For the consumer wading through this glut of content, the real challenge now is to find channels that consistently provide high quality, unbiased, and on-trend material.

Let’s face it: most of the offerings on the web don’t fit these criteria, and it’s no surprise. The costs of providing timely and appealing content needs to be offset with revenue, attained in a myriad of ways, many of which recognizably lessen the integrity of the source (pop up ads, unrelated linking, artificial product endorsements, etc.) The growing sophistication of user expectations has been mirrored by the rise of high quality content curation websites, and this is not a coincidence. Google News, Reddit, Groupon, Tumblr, Pinterest, The Hype Machine, Food52, and many other websites that rely on content created by multitudes of contributors seem to have found a winning formula. In May 2012, Tumblr was clocked at over 15 billion page views a month [2]. While there are certainly many differences in form and function, the benefits of the concept are obvious. User time is saved if everything is in the same place, and there is a much greater opportunity to find interesting content that you weren’t specifically looking for. User review systems allow for popular material to be pushed to the forefront while hiding poorly received threads in the depths. A similar concept has worked pretty well for Google so far, but the increased specificity and opportunities for peer-curating found in this type of website makes for a more focused, and often more successful, micro-search experience. The Hype Machine [3] is a prime example of a symbiotic content curator, “Indexing 877 handpicked music blogs,” HypeM reposts all of the mp3s shared by its contributors and allows registered users to stream songs from the hypem.com site. You can “love” songs, which adds them your “My Tracks” list, where they can be easily found and streamed for as long as the blogs keep the mp3 hosted on their site. Each track references its source, and if you want to read any of the written content associated with the song, you can click through onto the appropriate page of the blog. Hype Machine uses the data it collects through “loves” and “listens” to create dynamic charts of what has been popular so music hunters can immediately find the freshest and on trend music. Hype Machine also does monthly radio shows that feature some of the top tracks of the past month as well as featuring the musical selections and insight of one of their bloggers. The Hype Machine is doing a number of things very well. Users get to listen to new, hard to find, and well curated music chosen by themselves, rather than being served based on genre or mood. There is also the capability to listen to songs on repeat, play on any computer, and share with their friends. And, most importantly, all of this functionality is free and without excessive advertisement. Participating music blogs get access to a far larger pool of listeners, traffic from users interested in relating content, and other opportunities that arise from the heightened profile (some of the better received blogs now have radio shows on Sirius [4]). The Hype Machine makes their profit from advertising, merchandise, and a proportion of sales from links that lead to eMusic & Amazon. There is no question that this is a niche website, but they serve their base well and intrinsically encourage increasing participation and investment within it. That’s not to say there aren't sticky issues here. Google News and other news aggregators have run into trouble with content ownership [5]. Wherever monetization of a third-party’s intellectual property occurs, there needs to be well defined and mutually agreeable protocols in place, of which there are few formal examples at this point in time. But if content creators are compensated to an acceptable degree, there is no reason why this sort of partnership wouldn't be a boon to everyone involved. The growing scope and functionality of the internet has brought about a democratization of critique by providing free channels and connecting people who share taste and interests regardless of geographic distance. With increased access to information and culture, it is a logical and natural progression for consumers to become more discerning, not just towards products but also towards the information channels they use to educate themselves. But what does this have to do with search? An increasingly web savvy public wants quality rather than the first thing they can find. People seek out websites that they see as being reliable sources of entertainment or information, and are unforgiving if a website doesn’t meet their expectations. Using blog aggregators that incorporate a variety of source material lends credibility and can be a great platform for engaging with potential customers. Cultivating trustworthy and consistent channels like The Hype Machine is directly in line with the central concept of P2P marketing. The more positive interaction that has been had between parties, the more the potential consumer trusts endorsements of products and services. Why not let that seemingly endless amount of content on the web work for you?Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl + B)Italic (Ctrl + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)▼ Toggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z) FormatFormat▼ UnderlineAlign Full (Alt + Shift + J)Select text color▼ Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterOutdentIndentUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Help (Alt + Shift + H) The internet is, in many ways, a great equalizer. Anyone with a smartphone can access more information than one person could possibly comprehend, more music than they could listen, and too many recipes for a kitchen’s capabilities. All of this “stuff” is provided at a seemingly endless quantity, as long as it fits within a decent data plan. For the consumer wading through this glut of content, the real challenge now is to find channels that consistently provide high quality, unbiased, and on-trend material. Let’s face it: most of the offerings on the web don’t fit these criteria, and it’s no surprise. The costs of providing timely and appealing content needs to be offset with revenue, attained in a myriad of ways, many of which recognizably lessen the integrity of the source (pop up ads, unrelated linking, artificial product endorsements, etc.) The growing sophistication of user expectations has been mirrored by the rise of high quality content curation websites, and this is not a coincidence. Google News, Reddit, Groupon, Tumblr, Pinterest, The Hype Machine, Food52, and many other websites that rely on content created by multitudes of contributors seem to have found a winning formula. In May 2012, Tumblr was clocked at over 15 billion page views a month. While there are certainly many differences in form and function, the benefits of the concept are obvious. User time is saved if everything is in the same place, and there is a much greater opportunity to find interesting content that you weren’t specifically looking for. User review systems allow for popular material to be pushed to the forefront while hiding poorly received threads in the depths. A similar concept has worked pretty well for Google so far, but the increased specificity and opportunities for peer-curating found in this type of website makes for a more focused, and often more successful, micro-search experience. The Hype Machine is a prime example of a symbiotic content curator, “Indexing 877 handpicked music blogs,” HypeM reposts all of the mp3s shared by its contributors and allows registered users to stream songs from the hypem.com site. You can “love” songs, which adds them your “My Tracks” list, where they can be easily found and streamed for as long as the blogs keep the mp3 hosted on their site. Each track references its source, and if you want to read any of the written content associated with the song, you can click through onto the appropriate page of the blog. Hype Machine uses the data it collects through “loves” and “listens” to create dynamic charts of what has been popular so music hunters can immediately find the freshest and on trend music. Hype Machine also does monthly radio shows that feature some of the top tracks of the past month as well as featuring the musical selections and insight of one of their bloggers. The Hype Machine is doing a number of things very well. Users get to listen to new, hard to find, and well curated music chosen by themselves, rather than being served based on genre or mood. There is also the capability to listen to songs on repeat, play on any computer, and share with their friends. And, most importantly, all of this functionality is free and without excessive advertisement. Participating music blogs get access to a far larger pool of listeners, traffic from users interested in relating content, and other opportunities that arise from the heightened profile (some of the better received blogs now have radio shows on Sirius). The Hype Machine makes their profit from advertising, merchandise, and a proportion of sales from links that lead to eMusic & Amazon. There is no question that this is a niche website, but they serve their base well and intrinsically encourage increasing participation and investment within it. That’s not to say there aren't sticky issues here. Google News and other news aggregators have run into trouble with content ownership. Wherever monetization of a third-party’s intellectual property occurs, there needs to be well defined and mutually agreeable protocols in place, of which there are few formal examples at this point in time. But if content creators are compensated to an acceptable degree, there is no reason why this sort of partnership wouldn't be a boon to everyone involved. The growing scope and functionality of the internet has brought about a democratization of critique by providing free channels and connecting people who share taste and interests regardless of geographic distance. With increased access to information and culture, it is a logical and natural progression for consumers to become more discerning, not just towards products but also towards the information channels they use to educate themselves. But what does this have to do with search? An increasingly web savvy public wants quality rather than the first thing they can find. People seek out websites that they see as being reliable sources of entertainment or information, and are unforgiving if a website doesn’t meet their expectations. Using blog aggregators that incorporate a variety of source material lends credibility and can be a great platform for engaging with potential customers. Cultivating trustworthy and consistent channels like The Hype Machine is directly in line with the central concept of P2P marketing. The more positive interaction that has been had between parties, the more the potential consumer trusts endorsements of products and services. Why not let that seemingly endless amount of content on the web work for you? Path:

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.thesearchagents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/hype_machine.jpg

[2] Tumblr was clocked at over 15 billion page views a month: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/04/18/analyze-tumblr-s-50-million-new-posts-per-day.aspx

[3] The Hype Machine: http://hypem.com/

[4] Sirius: http://www.siriusxm.com/

[5] Google News and other news aggregators have run into trouble with content ownership: http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/09/whats-the-law-around-aggregating-news-online-a-harvard-law-report-on-the-risks-and-the-best-practices/

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