Commentary

Search: And Then Social Content Creates Mass Relevance

Sam-Decker

Yahoo, pushing to find a new identity, could blow through the remainder of 2010 on a high note. Those who caught Yahoo's good news Tuesday will know its sites ranked as the No. 1 visited properties in November with 181.0 million visitors on comScore's list. Google sites followed with 178.7 million and Microsoft with 175.7 million. It's the first time since August Yahoo displaced Google. Perhaps leaving search to Microsoft Bing might turn out well for the ailing engine.

For Yahoo content remains king. And that's also the thinking behind a new venture formed by former Dell executive and founding CMO at Bazaarvoice Sam Decker. The CEO, along with co-founders Brian Dainton and Eric Falcao earlier this week launched Mass Relevance based on technology in the market for about a year.

Mass Relevance launches with $2 million in series "A" funding led by Floodgate and Austin Ventures. Evidently, Decker built Dell.com into the largest consumer eCommerce site at $3.5 billion in annual sales, and helped drive Bazaarvoice from a start-up to sucess.

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The idea to aggregate, curate and display real-time social content collected through Twitter attracted Decker to invest in the company and take on the role as Mass Relevance CEO. An application called Tweet River already used by NBC Sports, Cisco, Research in Motion, and Samsung not only aggregates content but filters and moderates the data.

Go to a football game and see tweets on the Jumbotron and grab the tweets within one mile from the stadium that include any words related to the game, for example. Tweet River may capture all the Twitter names of family members or football gurus, as well as make sure there's no retweets, replies or profanity. The data pulled in to the social aggregator through an API, those tapping the platform have access to more than 100 rules that can moderate the social stream.

Twitter hosts 30 million tweets about TV shows daily, and Facebook is expected to double in size, reaching 1 billion profiles in the next two years. Mass Relevance can aggregate social content from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, among others.

Decker doesn't see the integration with search, but I predict he'll be presently surprised sometime during 2011. He does believe social helps advertisers and publishers by keeping people on the site to increase page views, "but that's not our model." Mass Relevance operates as a software as a service (SaaS) license agreement. "We're not putting advertising within the tweet, but advertisers and publishers could use it to enhance their opportunity," he says.

It's all about where the conversations happen. Google hopes some will happen in Google Shared Spaces widgets. The Mountain View, Calif., tech company moved deeper into social Tuesday, announcing Wave would no longer remain a standalone product, but rather integrate into other apps such as Google Shared Spaces, which today resides in Google Labs.

Douwe Osinga, Google software engine, describes in a blog post that a shared space turns a (Wave) gadget into a standalone collaborative application by clicking on a gadget to start a new shared space, and then sending the URL around to share it with friends. Those with a Google, Twitter or Yahoo account are good to go.

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