Ranker, a startup that asks users to “vote on the best and worst of everything,” is announcing that it has raised $2 million in new funding.
If you visit the Ranker site, you’ll basically be overwhelmed with crowdsourced lists, like this list of the funniest movies of all-time (I agree with the top choice, but The Hangover at No. 2??? Madness!) and this one highlighting the best sulfate-free shampoos (I’m not even sure what that means).
Users can vote on each item in the list, follow a list, add items, and create lists of their own. Other sites, like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, can use Ranker’s technology for their own polls.
That might not sound like a hugely innovative idea, but founder and CEO Clark Benson said there’s more going on “under the hood.” Basically, Ranker is using all the data that it has gathered to build an “opinion graph” that can show how different opinions are related to each other. For example: “People who like X also like Y, and think Z is expensive.” (The company says it’s also using data from Freebase and Factual to help build this graph.) Benson’s long-term goal is to figure out how the graph can be used by other companies, so that Ranker can build a data business to supplement the money that it’s already making from advertising and affiliate links.
Plus, the site’s already quite popular, with nearly 8 million visitors and more than 78 million pageviews in the past month. Lists can be addictive and entertaining, and Ranker argues that the crowdsourced recommendations are actually more useful and reliable than any one person’s opinion.
As for the funding, it came from new investors Lowercase Capital (founded by Chris Sacca), BullPen Ventures, and Data Collective, as well as previous backers Draper Associates, Rincon Venture Partners, Siemer Ventures, TenOneTen, Tech Coast Angels and Pasadena Angels. Ranker has now raised $5.1 million.
Oh, and I don’t want to say that TechCrunch should definitely be ranked more highly among the best tech blogs, but, well, here’s the list. Do what you think is right.