When I reviewed AboutUs.org a couple of months ago, I mentioned that one of the basic theses on which AboutUs was formed was that the wiki would allow website owners and their readerbase to form a community on the edge where everyone participates together to define what that website is… or rather that the readerbase puts all of their perspectives of what they feel a certain websites’ brand is.
I was fairly speculative about that gaining much traction, but maybe it has some weight behind it that Im missing.
TechCrunch recently announced CrunchBase, which according to them is a database of websites where each webpage describes one of the companies that TechCrunch has written about, although you can also submit your own companies there. Here is an example for the Facebook CrunchBase page
Each company page on CrunchBase will have details about the founders, the investors, products, recent news and a description of their product in one place, and the idea is that this would make it easier to research those companies. Whats more, these pages will basically be wikis and will be editable by anyone to modify information about that company.
Sound familiar? However, I think CrunchBase will still be more relevant to its userbase and will probably be used actively by the founders of those companies, and that it will pretty much block the reach of AboutUs.org atleast for the tech sector. Here is why.
The most important part that makes CrunchBase more relevant is that it is only a complementary product to TechCrunch, and that TechCrunch’s content quality is infact what is driving most of their traffic.
Any post about a startup may drive a lot of people to also research it, read past stories, find out information about the company. Since this is traffic that TechCrunch will be creating and driving to the company name, the company here thus has an incentive to actually keep that page up to date.
Secondly, information from CrunchBase will be shown on the TechCrunch front page in widgets, which adds another incentive for the company’s people to write good copy on their company page – the incentive in this case is that TechCrunch will be providing a channel for distributing information about their brand, which benefits those companies.
Thirdly, the company owners, or any other bloggers can embed the CrunchBase widget on their own blog posts – this further increases the distirbution of that information and creates further potential traffic for that company.
In fact this ecosystem of traffic flow from very high-traffic sites like TechCrunch to smaller content platforms may even create incentives for bloggers to go in and edit other companys pages in wiki style to add in links there back to posts. E.g. If I do a review about a firm I could go and add it next to that firm so that I get some extra traffic over time on that post.
Even if that doesn’t happen, I suspect that the main reason they are opening this for wiki editing is to make their editing process for the database easier – the company reps themselves can keep the information updated if they see the incentive to do so.
The incentives to use the system is infact what I feel is missing from AboutUs.org — from what I hear they are working on many stealth projects under the umbrella and who know, perhaps they will find a brilliant way of distributing and promoting the brands that they host (and thats what I suggested in my previous post on them as well).
For the moment, if I had to pick one, I think CrunchBase can help entrepreneurs and small businesses more.