VP of Marketing Mike Markson describes this as a way for people to showcase their knowledge in a given field, without actually having to constantly hunt down new content. For example, EarthEcho, the environmental nonprofit founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, has embedded a ROCKZi board that highlights marine science and conservation news.
To set up a ROCKZi embed, you first create a standard ROCKZi board, which is a pretty simple process. You just enter the topic, then ROCKZi automatically starts pulling in related news. Anyone can upvote good stories by hitting the “this rockz” button, and they can submit stories of their own. As the board creator, you can also delete stories that aren’t a good fit.
When you embed a board, you can customize its look to match your own site. And if someone shares a board on Facebook or Twitter, it directs traffic to your site, not ROCKZi.
Visitors can also search the content of any specific board. Markson says this also has the effect of “unboxing search” — instead of conducting a searching the web through a general service Google (or Blekko), you can narrow your focus to results in a given topic, with content that has been curated by someone who is (hopefully) an expert in that area.
“As people start creating boards around topics, I think it’s bringing search away from an algorithm, back to the tastemakers,” Markson says. “It’s a more preferable way to access information.”
Markson says that ROCKZi itself has been doing well since launch, with 2 million page views. The average time spent on site is five minutes, with a 65 percent return rate.
Blekko is a search company founded by Rich Skrenta and his core team from previous company Topix and Netscape’s Open Directory. Blekko was founded halfway through 2007 and has already earned itself an angel round from Baseline Ventures and two ex-Googlers.