Nihaar Gupta, VP of Product development at Youlicit has kindly obliged to have an email interview with SocialMedia Research Blog. Following are the responses to some of the questions I had for him:
1) Please describe Youlicit to us?
Youlicit at its core is a discovery engine (http://blog.youlicit.com/?p=23). We want to connect you to the most relevant and recommended information as effortlessly as possible. As of now, we are building a technology that allows a user to find the most recommended sites (recommended by people around the web) related to a given URL. We believe that people are the best judges of content and more often than not, the information you are looking for has been found by someone before. Our goal is to aggregate that information and allow the user to access it with the click of a button.
2) Tell Us about your background, the team behind Youlicit and how started it?
Youlicit came about as a result of trying
to solve our own frustrations with trying to find information on the web. With
the enormous amount of user-generated content and annotations on the web, we
saw a huge amount of valuable data that was inaccessible and fragmented. For
the sake of brevity, the team bios & background are here http://blog.youlicit.com/?page
3) Please give us a brief overview of the technology behind Youlicit?
Youlicit aggregates user annotations of websites and other user generated content and analyzes it to create a URL-URL mapping of websites based on relevance and quality. Using this mapping we are able to deliver related and recommended sites to a user with a click of a button.
4) While using Youlicit plugin, I felt that one of the challenges is the coverage -- how do you plan to address this and build your current index?
We are constantly working on improving our coverage. There are two metrics we strive to maximize for our results, quality and relevance. In regards to quality, we’re always looking to increase our database of “quality sites” by tapping into the various kinds of user annotations (denoting quality content) that exist on the web (bookmarks, tags, votes, comments). In regards to relevance, we’re always researching novel ways to extrapolate connections between websites and map URL’s back to our database of “quality sites”.
5) How do you ranking the 'Enhanced Links' in the plugin? Do you also take into account how many users actually click through the suggested links?
Each result in the Youlicit More widget (and on Youlicit’s site) has a score based on the metrics above, quality of the site and relevance to the item being queried. We are looking into ways of scoring the results from implicit/explicit feedback that we get from users (clicks, recommends).
6) How do you ensure that the Enhanced links feature is non-intrusive?
The current version has manifested itself after a few weeks of alpha testing with a handful of bloggers. That said, we are still looking for feedback on the user interface and would love to hear opinions on how to make it more useful and less intrusive for bloggers/blog readers.
7) How would you compare the plugin to sphere's related blog posts?
While Sphere focuses related & recent blogosphere content, we, at Youlicit, are trying to provide the blog reader with more seminal information related to the blogger’s topic of conversation. For instance, if you are reading a blog entry on global warming, you are more likely to receive the most recommended articles (blogs, sites, essays) on Global warming from around the web rather than recent blog entries on that topic.
8) What are the other features on Youlicit?
Youlicit’s primary product is a Firefox extension to access that allows a user to access our results during his/her browsing experience. We are in the process of redesigning our website and streamlining the current offering to focus on this button. Down the road we would like to be able to deliver personalized recommendations for users as well as connect users to people based on transient and long-terms interests (ideally using a person’s interests to enhance his/her social graph).
9) Would the plugin be adverting supported?
We do see advertising as a very possible source of monetization. Given the fact that we are providing contextually relevant information, the search model of advertising applies nicely. We are also exploring other possible means of monetization but as of right now the priority is to build something that people find useful.
10) What are the next things to look out for at Youlicit?
As I mentioned above, we are stripping down Youlicit to bring the focus back to its core; the Youlicit More functionality via the Firefox extension and blog widget. We expect to release a new designed website very soon. And as always, we love to hear feedback on what you think so far and how we can improve.