Search meets social in an entirely new content curation site, ROCKZi, which lets people visually consume and share important news and events. The co-founders of the search engine blekko created the site.
If ROCKZi can attract users, combining it with blekko would give marketers and advertisers the long-awaited social-search engine supported by analytics tools.
ROCKZi supports searchable topics in 33 news boards for categories like fashion, tech, sports and politics. Blekko co-founder Mike Markson expects the site will add hundreds more categories.
He said the site solves the inability to curate news and share content with one tool, but tech savvy Markson and co-founder Rich Skrenta could find it challenging to generate revenue through advertising and marketing.
"We think there's an opportunity to use our search capabilities on blekko to drive monetization on ROCKZi," Markson said. In February, blekko began testing search ads on the search engine. The blekko engine now links directly to ROCKZi.
During beta tests, Markson said users spent on average 25 minutes on the site each session. The experience, similar to Flipboard, Pinterest, Facebook and Digg, makes content more searchable when powered by blekko. It combines the ability to share images that Flipboard and Pinterest offer, along with social tools from Facebook and Twitter, and Digg's curator tool.
Site visitors consume content, vote and share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They also can comment on the content and add it to their personal Feed with a Rockz button. Each action earns the user "karma points, which will rank users in a variety of topics that identify influencers on the site.
Eventually, these points will tie in with advertising, giving brands the ability to target users with products marketing, ads and information based on Reads, Votes and Rocks. The points let users self-identify their area of expertise. They can identify the connection made through others sharing content, which would help identify areas of expertise of friends and surface a friend's most relevant search results.
Blekko, which introduced slash tags to narrow searches, boasts that users created more than 100,000 slash tags on a variety of topics, such as college football to gluten-free food. In May 2012, blekko recorded 5.5 million unique visitors who made more than 110 million searches. Markson expects to see a similar adoption rate for ROCKZi without the need to create slashtags.
The company powers search for Lavasoft, the makers of Ad-Aware, and a few sites not yet announced.