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AboutUs Launches a Business Plan; I’m Still Not Sold
Many of you who are longtime CN readers might remember my first post about About Us in November 2006 when they launched. They received $1M in funding at that time and I said "excuse me". Founder Ray King was bashed 10 ways to Sunday by the blogo’ and he went quiet after that. Ray reports over 5 million unique visitors a month now which is pretty amazing considering where they started from.
Since then the only time I come in contact with AboutUs is when I do domain searches on GoDaddy (at least I think it’s GoDaddy). They have a permalink on all searches apparently.
Yesterday, Ray sent over some updates for AboutUs that are basically all business model related so I thought I’d take another look. AboutUs basically is a place to find company information for any company — that is, if they have a page built for the company. It’s a wiki so anyone can edit it making for some good funtimes.
There are three updates today:
- Free monitoring – you can be notified of changes on the AboutUs page related to your company.
- Premium AboutUs Page – have someone help you upgrade your page for $99.
- Portal sponsoring – portals are collections of pages around a topic. Their showcase is the Portland Tech Panel which they have decided somehow relates to TechCrunch (wtf?).
My issue with AboutUs is the same as it always has been – why do we need this when we can find the information about a company on their Web site? This just adds more work for the Web staff at an organization to now manage and maintain yet another resource about the company. It’s a complete SEO play (like Mahalo) in that they draw traffic from Google when someone searches for company information. Does the casual user understand that they are on a user-edited site and not the "official" site for the company?
Clearly it’s working based on the traffic they are receiving. I like the options they are offering to monetize the site past AdSense and the monitoring could help clear up sticky edits quickly. Again, this relies on a business even knowing there is an AboutUs page about them. Ray also notes that most of the development work is handled in India and their HQ is in Portland, Oregon.
You know, the puppy lover Mahalo could easily add company informatoin pages to their search engine as well.