My good friend Paul Montgomery yesterday took the wraps off his Web 2.0 shot at greatness, Tinfinger – which is essentially a person search engine, focusing on people-of-note, rather than your everyday Joe Blog.
Tinfinger is aiming to be a big, hairy, audacious user-generated-content site, so a beta launch is never easy because it’s highly unlikely your going to have a great stock of content when you get going. Of course, your never guaranteed to have a great stock of content because 99% of user-generated-content sites never get enough traction and therefore content to make them compelling.
Tinfinger has tried to incent people by giving them a share of the site’s google ad impressions – in effect, he’s funding the site’s content creation on the back of a debt Tinfinger will owe to its contributors. Contributors will have to trust, of course, that Tinfinger can pay that debt by generating enough page impressions.
Again, it comes back to getting some degree of critical mass of content so that contributors are encourage to contribute. Nobody is going to bother contributing to an empty site – Paul may well have to spend a bunch of time generating content for himself as well as maybe using some offshore services to get it ticking over.
What is nice about Tinfinger is its a mix of dynamic and authoratitive content, by mixing Wikipedia style profiles with news feeds. That’s surprisingly unique in the search-style world.
Paul will freely admit the site has a lot to do, but I’m really glad that Paul and his co-founder Tai have finally got Tinfinger out into the wild. I’m looking forward to them integrating the social networking side of the site more tightly into the rest of the content – I can see nice potential for little niche, social networks to spring up around celebrities and other people of note.
Good luck, gents.