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.
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.
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.