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Los Angeles social voting startup Ranker raises $2 million

Some­times in social media, as sea­soned con­tent man­agers will read­i­ly tes­ti­fy, the sim­plest ideas turn out to be the most addic­tive. And Los Ange­les-based start­up Ranker is acquir­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for just that – although that’s not all it’s acquired. There’s that hand­some $2 mil­lion in fresh fund­ing to mention.

Addic­tive­ly entertaining

Ranker’s crowd­sourced plat­form lets users “vote on the best and worst of every­thing” – and even a per­func­to­ry vis­it to the site will leave you feel­ing dizzied by the sheer range of crowd­sourced lists it fea­tures.  It fea­tures rank­ing lists cov­er­ing every­thing from “the most beau­ti­ful coun­try on Earth” to “The most deli­cious ice-cream fla­vors” — and just about every­thing you can think of in between. Keep­ing tabs on this lot might be a con­tent manager’s night­mare, but it’s also com­pelling­ly entertaining.

Users can cre­ate new lists, fol­low lists or vote on items in exist­ing lists. A mea­sure of its grow­ing suc­cess can be gleaned from the fact that the Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion uses Ranker’s tech­nol­o­gy to con­duct its own polls.

It may not be the most fiendish­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea of all time, but it’s get­ting 9 mil­lion vis­i­tors a day and chalked up in excess of 78 mil­lion pageviews in the last month alone. And, accord­ing to its founder and CEO Clark Ben­son, there’s more in the pipeline.

New direc­tion?

It’s devel­op­ing a means of cor­re­lat­ing dif­fer­ent opin­ions with each oth­er, such as “Vis­i­tors who rat­ed A also rat­ed B, but thought C was cheesy”.  The new ‘opin­ion graph’ is using data from Fac­tu­al and Free­base while it’s under con­struc­tion, and, in the longer term, Ben­son aims to let oth­er com­pa­nies use it.  That would con­vert Ranker into a rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing data busi­ness, adding to the cash that’s already flow­ing in from affil­i­ate links and advertisers.

Any skep­ti­cal con­tent man­ag­er might do well to pay the site a vis­it — but be warned: you shouldn’t expect to leave unad­dict­ed. You’ll want to go back. From Benson’s per­spec­tive, his site’s crowd­sourced rec­om­men­da­tions are more reli­able than an indi­vid­ual opinion.

The lat­est fund­ing round was led by Low­er­case Cap­i­tal, Data Col­lec­tive and BullPen Ven­tures, all new investors to the start­up. Pre­vi­ous investors also par­tic­i­pat­ed, includ­ing Drap­er Asso­ciates, Siemer Ven­tures, Rin­con Ven­ture Part­ners Tech Coast Angels, TenOneTen and Pasade­na Angels, bring­ing ranker’s total invest­ment to $5.1 million.

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