You've landed in the archive of the Cambrian House community. We've kept some pages here for posterity but the community is no longer active. Now we market the technology that made our early crowdsourcing a success.

Can we help you get to Cambrian House the company? – Come on over.

Are you seeking crowdsourcing technology? – Check out Chaordix by Cambrian House.

Thanks for dropping by
The Cambrian House Crew

Close [x]
Cambrian House

The next frontier is to tap the quiet genius that exists outside organizations to attract innovations from people who are prepared to work with a company, even if they don't work for it.
New York Times, Mar 2006

Cambrian House began as a crowdsourcing community using a wisdom of crowds based approach to discover new business and technology ideas. These pages are being kept online as a technology demo to showcase Chaordix™.

Looking to harness the power of your crowd? Find out about Chaordix™ - technology that enables enterprises to get the most out of crowdsourcing.

Clean up the web

interviewables is offlineSend a Message to interviewablesAdd interviewables as a FriendSend a Hat Tip to interviewables
  • Share on Facebook
  • Promote

Join Cambrian House




Connect with talented people. Collaborate on ideas. Realize your vision.
Not freeish. Not freesque. It's free!

The Idea

We have Digg, we have Reddit, we have Stumbleupon, etc. All of these sites and extensions were created to bring the good and relevant sites to the top. But what is also needed is a way to tag the bad sites(spam, adsense-laden-no content-sites, sites that aren't what they say they are).
and bury(or Berry) them.

The idea is to create an extension for Firefox and IE that will allow a user to tag a site or page as bad. They would be voting to have the site buried (or Berried). Of course it would be up to the site owner to remove it or not.

As a user searches using Firefox or IE there would be a button much like Google's pagerank that shows the Berry ranking for the site or page. This would give the reader a visual clue as to how others view this site or page. If they also hate it then they would click a button to Berry it.

The Logo

Scroll Left Scroll Right

I thought of this idea when I was...

Wading through pages and pages of useless, out-of-date, information that should be removed from the internet.

Comments Posted

Laura Posted: March 26, 2008, 10:07 am

This is interesting. Certainly I'd love a way to filter out all those search engine spam pages. Integrating this into a firefox bar would make the process far easier than google's submit spam system, which I think would increase useage. I think if this would integrate well with the browser - so it flags/autohides links on a page if they are downrated, it would really improve the browsing experience. I like the potential to be site/search independant.

I'm sure there would be a lot of technical limitations, and you'd have to prevent gaming the system, but this is an idea I really like.

interviewables Posted: March 26, 2008, 1:49 pm

It would be cool to have. Your site could get dugg on digg.com or buried on berryit.com.

thebeancounter Posted: March 26, 2008, 2:14 pm

There are a few things that came to mind after reading through the idea:

1. This would have to be limited to a browser functionality (i.e. extension) in something like Firefox, otherwise people wouldn't be able to benefit from all the "work" that went into burying sites. This would limit your potential user base to only those using Firefox or other extensible browsers.

2. I'm not sure I would want to spend time doing "work" for other people without some sort of reward. When researching online I have very limited time, and would not be too concerned with flagging a site as useless but would instead just move on. As long as you're using quality search engines and search engine techniques, I think you'll find the "good stuff" which means that you don't necessarily have to flag the "bad" stuff because it will be inherently bad in the sense that it's not at the top of the "good" list. Did that make any sense? :)

Laura Posted: March 26, 2008, 2:33 pm

beancounter, for me the advantage would be having some sort of action to take when I run across a spam site. I think being able to blacklist a site has the same advantage and usefulness as being able to bookmark good stuff. After all, two weeks later running the same or a similar search, I may not remember which site was completely useless. This would handle it for me.

As for being limited to pluggable browsers, I'm pretty sure you can write toolbars for IE these days as well as firefox. Toolbars/plugins are fairly essential features for modern browsers.

carpe_markete Posted: March 26, 2008, 2:49 pm

I like the idea as it puts the control back into end user's hands. Definitely worth pursuing.

- Srikanth

interviewables Posted: March 26, 2008, 2:52 pm

bean, obviously you don't use Digg or Stumbleupon as millions of others do. People don't consider it "work" to click a button. However, I do see your point that there needs to be a benefit to clicking the button. Digg and Stumbleupon both have a social aspect to them. I'll work on that.

Surt Posted: March 26, 2008, 5:14 pm

If you created a bar for IE and one for Firefox you would hit probably 90% of the browsers in use, not to mention that most of the people drawn to a product like this are likely Firefox users. Secondly, if it used a simple +/- voting system, it could be done with key combinations, thus making it very simple for the end user.

As somebody that does not use digg or any other such site, however, I am unsure of the user-base or how this product would compare to others.

Kevin_Cox Posted: March 26, 2008, 9:08 pm

How are you going to manipulate the results from other search engines exactly?

MichaelM Posted: March 26, 2008, 10:33 pm

thebeancounter Posted: March 26, 2008, 3:14 pm wrote

2. I'm not sure I would want to spend time doing "work" for other people without some sort of reward...

Not so sure about this, people rate things for free all the time. Take a look at amazon and book reviews or eopinions.

interviewables Posted: March 27, 2008, 5:24 am

My original idea was to have a plugin for a browser tool bar that would allow you to vote a site down (the opposite of Digg which votes sites up). Now with Digg, in order to get any advantage for the Dugg sites, people have to go to Digg to actually see who is on the front page and then visit the site from there. There is nothing on their toolbar to tell them if a site is rated well on digg. Now, I really wish this could be a toolbar extension that allows users to vote down sites and them somehow have them removed from their searches automatically. That would be one of the greatest things since Digg. How to accomplish this I haven't a clue. Maybe someone here does though. There are popup blockers, ad blockers, spyware blockers, why not a berry blocker? Also, Google has an extension that shows page rank for each page viewed. Maybe we could do something like that. Just have the toolbar ext show how a page is rated by our site or something.

The main focus for us is to find a way to get rid of the clutter on the net by using the wisdom of the crowds, much like Digg and Stumble.

vanhees Posted: March 27, 2008, 8:23 am

I like this idea

Laura Posted: March 27, 2008, 8:23 am

I would think you could use the same techniques (whatever they are) as ad-removal plugins. I assume these manipulate the DOM.

interviewables Posted: March 27, 2008, 8:31 am

Someone here is smart enough to make this happen (not me of course).
Step up whomever you are! I've got $100 cambros to burn!

interviewables Posted: March 27, 2008, 8:56 am

New research. Google's search API now lets you define CSS styles per different types of search results. So in theory, if you have this plugin installed, when you do a search any sites we have tagged could show up as a different color. That would solve lots of problems and make it pretty easy to do.

JelmerBV Posted: March 27, 2008, 10:58 am

I second VanHees.
Sounds good.

interviewables Posted: March 27, 2008, 11:41 am

Anyone want to get to work on Google's search api and see if this thing flies?

micco Posted: March 27, 2008, 1:24 pm

This is basically what StumbleUpon does, right? They add their logo and a stumbleupon ranking Google search results if you have the stumbleupon plugin installed. Basically you want the same kind of infrastructure and plugin as stumbleupon except you want to focus on negative ratings to flag bad stuff rather than promoting good stuff.

interviewables Posted: March 27, 2008, 2:02 pm

Exactly micco. And also a web site that will list these sites so that site owners can sign up to see if their sites are listed. Stumbleupon allows you to vote down a site but stumbleupon is a social network site that will list sites that you may be interested in based on how you normally vote. This isn't exactly the same but the mechanics may be similar.

I envision thousands with this plugin going through their everyday searches and clicking this button or digg or others. Eventually we will have a database of sites that have been voted to be buried (or berried if we coin that phrase for trademark reasons). With enough buzz, site owners will begin to take down those pages and sites or changing them. It is a public service that we will be performing.

Now I can see this as a democratic way to also voice your opinions about certain types of sites, like liberal versus conservative sites. Either way will be good.

If we have a social aspect to our site it would be to have people to be able to form into groups (Mothers Against Banner Ads) and have them meet and stratagize together to vote down banner ad sites. It would be very web 2.0 and also make way for the new 3.0.

interviewables Posted: March 28, 2008, 7:49 am
interviewables Posted: March 28, 2008, 8:08 am

So far we need a plugin or extension for Firefox that when a button is clicked, that webpage address is sent to a database. This is a vote to bury the site. Also, when a search is performed or a page is rendered the database should be queried to tell the user the status of that page on our site and either have a rating button or either hide the site altogether.

Anyone available to try this?

Laura Posted: March 28, 2008, 9:46 am

I personally think this has to flag things -before- you visit the site to be useful. If I'm searching on google, I'd like the berried sites to be hidden or strikethrough'd or something. Because if the plugin doesn't help me to not go to the sites, it's not providing me any value. Going to a spam page and getting notified that 'hey, this is a spam page' is telling me the obvious.

interviewables Posted: March 28, 2008, 11:16 am

Another option would be for each user to not only vote on sites but also to categorize them. I've been reading about an extension that allows you search without Ebay, About.com, and Wikipeia results coming up.

This extension may blossom into something more. With the wisdom of the crowds behind it, we could really make searching pleasurable if individuals and not robots were determining what is good and what isn't. So for instance you could install the extension and check that you don't want any porn, ebay listings, or sites with banner ads. Even though there are multi millions of pages on the net, a group of 1000 people on a mission to eradicate the web of any pages that misspell the word "bananna" could get it done pretty quickly.

A more democratic web where I choose what comes up in my search and not some damn robot. If only!

Summertime Posted: March 28, 2008, 10:27 pm

"A more democratic web where I choose what comes up in my search and not some damn robot. If only!"

At some point, it won't really be a search anymore.

Wiz4rd Posted: March 29, 2008, 10:57 am

That might be too harsh Summer ;)

1. I do not see money in this project, nowhere (e.g. paid ?? 'plug-in' for free browser?)

2. Stumble upon has thumbs down and full reporting feature ( for adult or otherwise ill fitting content.

3. I.E. still accounts for major portion of the market base (still can't see any) and it has fishing filter (with reporting feature)

4.How would you cover legal issues when sued by 'innocent' websites 'attacked by the mob' ?



interviewables Posted: March 29, 2008, 2:28 pm

Wiz4rd, I'll cover each of your items separately.

1. Stumble upon and Delicious are worth millions. This would start out as a free site and maybe add premium service for advertisers in the future. I'd rather keep it free and then build the user base. After that its about attracting a buyer. Stumbleupon is reportedly going to be sold for $40-$75 million dollars.

2. Yes Stumbleupon has the thumbs-down feature but the main focus of the site is to vote sites up for individuals. Our plugin will deal with actual search results being filtered based on group votes. You may have certain sites or certain types of sites or certain subjects that you would not like to have included in your searches, you would join or start a group to find and eradicate these types of sites from your personal searches. For instance, I hate when foreigners with little command of the English language build adsense sites to try and get my clicks. If I had this plugin, I could start or join a group that hated the same things. As they find sites they would tag them and so would I.

3. I mentioned Firefox because its growing in popularity and is the easiest to build plugins for. In the future we could do IE also.

4. I've never heard of any website doing a poll and then being sued by the loser. However, if we were to maliciously slander a certain site then I could see repercussions. This will not be anything like that. We simply give our opinion as to a certain site and its up to the individuals to decide. That is something to look into however. Thanks for the comments.

Wiz4rd Posted: March 29, 2008, 9:08 pm

Connecting people that hate, manipulating search results (you think there could be problems with paid search results and the companies that paid for it?

So you mean personalized search results (re-ordering) to exclude or low-rank websites you do not like. I think you can filer and exclude from search already on google already.

I just want to get this right, it is like a child protection filtering program but limiting you even further?

Well groups that love to hate are getting popular so i can see people wanting to go and click their 'I-HATE' button (i would forever wonder which sites i missed out on..)

interviewables Posted: March 30, 2008, 7:37 am

This idea has changed from the original intent at the beginning of the post to something new and fresh and I like this later version better. At the outset the idea was to somehow tag the site we found that we didn't like and cause them to rank lower or be taken down all together but now the idea is more of a filtered search for individuals based on a group effort for finding sites they commonly don't like. This way there is no legal implifiction and no trouble with Google. So to clarify a bit; it will be a filter built by groups of people and not by bots that search for meta tags and keywords. So a searcher can sign up for different groups and the groups, in their daily searches, find and tag sites that they feel should be eradicated from their searches. Maybe we could have a voting system for each group whereby they visit tagged sites and then agree or disagree with the tag. This way one malicious person couldn't cause havoc. This is fresh and new and has that social aspect to it. Thanks to everyone who agreed and disagreed with the idea.

Once again the wisdom of the crowds has shown through like a beacon and has changed this idea into something better. So Wiz4rd, does this sound better to you?

interviewables Posted: March 30, 2008, 7:39 am

How does this sound for a tagline, "The Web, Your Way."

Summertime Posted: March 30, 2008, 11:55 pm

I just skipped down to the comment (2 above). This clarified and made it more interesting to me.

My previous comment might still apply: If I select a group that filters my searches and one day I notice that I have trouble finding something, it might help to have an adjustment for the filters. Would toggle-on/off be too drastic? The group process is a slow continuous training, right? So, would it be possible and helpful to also have discrete filter increments?

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 3:57 am

Thanks for the comment Summertime, Yes that could be an option. I hadn't thought about what happens when someone selects a group two years after they have been working on a particular filter. I guess it would be a good idea to show all of the sites each group has filtered and also have the groups periodically check those sites to see if the owner has made changes that would allow it to be unfiltered. Or if you disagree with the group you can uncheck a filtered site. Great suggestions. Oh and we have had someone step up to work on this plugin.

Laura Posted: March 31, 2008, 9:34 am

Hmm, this sounds like it's turning into a human-indexed search engine, something that has been done with various levels of success. I'm not sure if any of the others used a browser plugin though. It sounds like you can signup to be a tagger for a particular keyword? I can see the advantages of that, but what happens if I find a great site for a topic I'm not signed up for?

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 9:47 am

Sort of like a human indexed search engine but in reverse. Human indexed search engines vote to allow a certain site to be included. With ours, all sites are included until voted to be taken off search results by the group.

I don't see it as a per keyword basis, but more per genre I guess although keywords may play a part in it.

As an example, let's say that an English teacher starts a group because she doesn't want to include any site that has bad grammar in the content. Other English teachers and maybe their students sign on. Now every time they find a site with bad grammar they tag it. The other members can see all new sites tagged and can then offer their opinion and vote to include or exclude the site from their personal search.

Now, someone new to our site says to themselves, "I also don't like sites with bad grammar" and so they check a box that will let them know when this group has found a site, it is then up to them to decide whether to agree or disagree. After a while if a particular group is well respected and has a keen knack for finding bad sites then a searcher can just choose to include all sites from that group.

Keep the comments coming so we can really nail this thing down.

Laura Posted: March 31, 2008, 10:10 am

Hmm. Is there any filtering for duplicate groups ("bad grammer", "bad grammar", "can't you use english properly!" could all be very similar )? Is there feedback on why a site is filtered? Ie, I can look to see that x site is downmarked by 'no bad grammer' but not by 'bad science', and then choose to view it any way? If I'm signed up for multiple groups, can I choose which groups I want to tag it with.

On the one hand, I like the idea of tagging why a site is bad ( too many trolls, author opposes/supports [political viewpoint], slow load time, seo spam page), but i could see this getting really cliquey too.

How are you defining 'genres' ? Is "programming" a genre? what about "php"? What about "code standards"? Or "the internet". A really good post about the best way to handle something in java would be a positive under a 'programming' or 'java' label, but a downvote on 'php'. A recipie for pecan pie would be great for 'desserts' or 'southern food' or 'nuts', but knocked off 'low carb', or 'allergy free'. If I'm searching for 'whole wheat crust pecan pie', what genre do I look under? You've got millions of very very fine grained searches to match with this, and I'm not sure how that's being handled.

It'd be very valuable information to know that x site is good for keywords q-z, but not for a, c, or i, but I'm not sure if this idea is going to be able to handle that level of complexity.

I suppose my original concept of this idea was a way to mark pages that are -universally- bad. Spam pages, scam pages, phishing schemes. However, there's always going to be disagreements on what is bad. (how many republicans would try to bury democrat sites, and vice versa).

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 11:47 am

I think we have defined the idea down a little too much. The original intent wasn't to bury pie sites but maybe pie sites with banner ads flashing "Buy this pie!"

As for genres, I guess programming could be a genre and a group that abhors php could get together and limit their searches by filtering any site using php. I think this is the greatness of the site. It needs to be there for the serious minded and also the playful. Also, if a republican group wanted to bury (on their searches) all democratic leaning sites then they could, and if you're a republican who would like to do the same then sign on for that group. There will be some of that and that is why I think this will be huge. People like banding together for a cause even if it is to eradicate the pecan pie.

Laura Posted: March 31, 2008, 1:05 pm

Okay, is it that each group could specify a topic range? So on the profile/signup page for "Grammar Guru's" it would say 'berrying sites on all topics that have bad grammer', while "Php guys" would have an intro that states 'berrying bad sites, with a focus on berrying bad code examples, non-php sites'.

So the group creator is defining the scope, and people sign up for as many filters as they want?

A feature might be to auto-berry entire domains, so you could easily sign up to berry ebay, wikipedia, and what have you.

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 1:17 pm

Exactly. Now, if enough people join a certain group, that group will have some power and site owners whose sites are listed may take notice and decide to do some changing. The goal is to have the opposite effect of Digg or Stumbleupon where sites gain massive traffic for being recommended and instead (at least for these users) traffic goes down.

As for groups, yes you can create any group you like and you may be the only one using it if it is kind of weird or outrageous. But as others join then you collaborate with each other, vote on sites, etc. until your personal search is just what you want.

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 1:27 pm

To further clarify the idea, let's say an evolutionist starts a group to eradicate any site that is pro-creation. He doesn't mind debate or sites that talk about creationism; he just doesn't want sites that either distort facts, are mean spirited, or who are overly religious. So as he finds these types of sites he tags them. Others come along and join his group. They all begin to tag these sites and debate the validity of them. There may even be creationist who join this group in an attempt to save some of the sites from ruin. In the end every person who joins this group and searches for the term "evolution", will get search results catered to their way of thinking and not littered with the type of sites they don't like.

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 1:32 pm

Ideas for groups:

Blatant Adsense site haters groups
Anti-popup group
Anti-liberal group
Anti-conservative group
Anti sites with scrollbars group
The No Affiliate sales group
The Ban Banner Ads group


Laura Posted: March 31, 2008, 1:48 pm

So, how does 'de-berrying' work? If anyone in the group can de-berry, then it just takes on member with an opposing view to cause trouble. Does it take a vote? Do berry's expire after so much time? Can a site owner go to the berryit.com site, and submit their url asking for a deberry, and then members see that request in their profile, and can opt to 'ignore' or 'unberry'?

I think you really need to be able to turn on/off filters with the toolbar. If i'm searching for something code related, I want to turn on the strictest code-related filters, but turn off some of the others. Some times you can't avoid popups/ads.

I think this would also be a really nice tie in with some kind of social bookmark site. So, if I wanted to 'whitelist' a site, i could just point my berry profile to my del.icio.us feed. Then, no matter if a site was berried, i'd still see it.

This could be useful for parents/schools as well, to prevent access to inappropriate sites. Sort of an open source netnanny.

interviewables Posted: March 31, 2008, 6:11 pm

More great ideas Laura, Thanks.

kairaspo Posted: March 31, 2008, 7:00 pm

I think this is a fantastic idea, and I would urge you to pursue this, perhaps talk to Mozilla about it.

MichaelM Posted: March 31, 2008, 11:28 pm

Lot's of feedback. I stopped at the money part by Wizard about halfway.

How about selling the feedback to companies?

wolfmann Posted: April 1, 2008, 12:29 am

I think this is a great idea, but can you answer a few questions?

So the concept has morphed into a toolbar and a website, with social aspects such as groups?

The main purposes of StumbleUpon and Digg are to help people discover quality sites and content. Who's going to want to look at a site which is essentially an index of crap sites? Digg has it's own problems: sensationalism, misinformation, spam, using burying stories without accountability, and possible censorship. How will you handle these issues?

You must also remember the 1% rule. Furthermore, it has been reported that the top 100 Digg users controlled 56% of Digg's frontpage content, and that a niche group of just twenty individuals had submitted 25% of the frontpage content. And what happens if company x hires a bunch of people to "berry" company y's site?

What are the revenue models? Sure, you can keep it free and focus on building a user base to attract advertisers etc, but your main revenue model should never been hoping to be acquired by another company. Can you think of a more in depth way to monetize this?

interviewables Posted: April 1, 2008, 5:42 am

As to the first question, I think a lot of people would want to look at a list of crap sites. Some of the most popular top ten lists ever were list of the worst BLANK or the ugliest Blank...

Also, I believe that people would visit the site in order to learn how not to be berried. There would be a wealth of information available for people who may be building a site to look at and say, "Hey, I don't want to do that" or "I need to make sure I shy away from that subject" and there will be some popular sites who people choose not to be included in their searches.

The best thing we can have happen is for someone to start a group that berries sites of companies that say... support the war, or maybe they berry it because they want to protest fishing or any crap like that. It can be a voice for activist. But please remember, only their searches will be affected.

Imagine this, an animal rights activist starts a group to berry sites of companies that have a bad animal rights record, maybe they sell fur-lined underwear or something, now all animal rights activist can join this group and while not doing physical damage can still make a peaceful point and MAY actually make some difference in the amount of traffic this company receives.

As to the second statement. That's Digg's downfall. They can be manipulated. In our model, individuals will choose which groups to join and as a group decide content for their searches. So, you may start a powerful group with 10,000 members and you may Berry 100,000 sites but it will only affect those who join that group and only if you choose as an individual to have all the sites berried. You will still have an option to include some.

Notice how the idea keeps getting better with each post? I just thought about the political and activist side of this while I was answering your question. I think that will be a great angle to market.

Revenue-Well a lot of companies hope to be purchased and I think it is valid to go into something like this with that possibility in mind. All the other companies mentioned above, as well as Youtube and some others all started with a free model. They received funding to continue for the sole reason that the investors felt strongly that the company would be purchased. It is risky and we will need to think longterm in case a sale never materializes.

I believe our group concept will allow for highly targeted advertising. Each of the groups that are created will be done so by someone who is passionate about something and those that join the group as well. Once you get people who are passionate together in one location, you have the ideal advertising forum. But I wouldn't do Adsense or banner ads. I think we should have an ad-sales department that hand picks advertisers for each group.

Great questions. I may not be as articulate in answering them as I need to be but this is an evolving idea and nothing I say is settled in stone.

daraddishman Posted: April 9, 2008, 4:18 pm

here's the funny thing with something like this.

You are going to drive these aweful sites to the top of Google and other search/media listings with it. Why? Because they will be getting gobs of crosslinks from your service!

I love the idea of trying to Bury crap on the net, hide it away... but, in all honesty, getting burried on the net is easy. If you are trying to do a listing of sites for people to avoid, I dunno. I'm kind of ambivelent on this, I'm not sold... not yet anyhow.

interviewables Posted: April 10, 2008, 2:26 pm

daraddishman, there may be one link on the site but not many. I do see what you're saying though. Maybe we should put the sites on a page that has a robot text or something so that it doesn't get crawled.

And remember, this is not about listing sites to be buried (technically), it's about a plugin or extension that hides certain sites from your personal searches.

Something to think about though. Thanks for the comments.

landsky Posted: April 10, 2008, 7:23 pm

well, Mcaffee has this, doesn't it?

cristimanole Posted: April 11, 2008, 5:39 am

not bad. not bad at all

interviewables Posted: April 11, 2008, 6:10 am

landsky, Mcaffee has a different use and it is keyword driven. It is great for what it is intended for but our idea is different. This will be a plugin tied to a social site that uses crowds to decide what they dislike. Do you know what I dislike on websites (even if the information is terrific)? I dislike when people use a repeating picture as a background, you know what I mean? They take a picture and then have it constantly repeat on their background.
Now Mcaffee can't find this, but if I start a group that dislikes repeating backgrounds and every time I find one I berryit, eventually I will not have to look at them anymore. Oh and you can bet that once the owners of these sites find out that their site has been berried on ours, something will change.

For that matter, EVERY WEBSITE OWNER IN THE WORLD WILL SEARCH OUR SITE to make sure their site isn't listed and if it is (LIGHTING FLASHES) we could have a forum where site owners make changes or plead their case to be unberried. That would be awesome.

Kevin_Cox Posted: April 11, 2008, 7:23 am

Well there are going to be way more bad sites then good sites. If the sites you are searching for are mostly bad or specific sites that are doing things like ad only pages. You can submit feedback to Google about your results.

fish99 Posted: April 11, 2008, 7:50 am

I like it.

interviewables Posted: April 11, 2008, 8:18 am

kevin_cox, you're probably right which is EXACTLY WHY THIS IS A GOOD IDEA and needed. Now, with this plugin, we can go a long way to getting the web in a more useful state.

interviewables Posted: April 11, 2008, 9:13 am

Think of how many web pages were built in 1992 that are still on the web. I run into them all the time. Its not the the info is bad its just that they need some upgrading. There are so many beautiful sites out there that an ugly site really stands out. WE WILL BE PROVIDING A SERVICE TO THE SITE OWNERS OF THE WORLD!!!

interviewables Posted: April 11, 2008, 9:23 am

Also, the first group I would create would be the "Outdated Information Group". I see pages all the time that were written about a certain subject back in 2003. There are tutorials ranking high on Google that is waaaaaayyyyy outdated. Something must have changed unless you're site is about History.

Laura Posted: April 11, 2008, 9:59 am

I think this would expand to be more than just a bad site blacklist. By categorizing sites into a group that says -why- they are bad, it's going to generate a lot of semantic data.

I really love the outdated info group idea.

interviewables Posted: April 11, 2008, 10:22 am

Thanks Laura. I think it would take on a life of its own; which is what you want to happen. It would also be fun to do.

Now all we need is for someone who know XUL and javascript to put it together.

Scoobie Posted: April 11, 2008, 11:15 pm

I like it just for the marketability of the name.

threeg5 Posted: April 12, 2008, 3:53 pm

OK I think this entire concept from the very beginning to the very end is just outstanding. What is really happening is that everyone is more or less figure out a way to disban the entire google pagerank system and for my own personal reasons I LOVE THAT IDEA. Of curse given that is was big enough I can see search compnaies (google, yahoo, microsoft) paying a hefty fee for such RESULTS os Laura has stated. The profitability margin is extreme, given that the Idea/Business once put into action remains on the same path and not chased around. It must stay focused until the realization is there.

interviewables Posted: April 13, 2008, 3:37 pm

threeg5, You're right. The more I think about the data that will be gathered the more I believe we will have a viable product to actually sell. Google wants relevant data that people actually want to see. That's why pages from Digg and Stumbleupon rank so well. Our data will offer the same only in reverse. Between Digg, Stummble, and Berryit, the web might actually begin to resemble something worthwhile. Remember, Yahoo and others have been using man-made directories since their inception. You submit to these directories and a group of people decides if your site is good enough. That's exactly what we will offer; only more people.
Thanks for the comments.

Laura Posted: April 14, 2008, 8:49 am

I think the problem with manmade directories has always been that the size of the web outweighs the amount of human resources available. Leverging the power of the crowd can be a great way to get past this limit.

I was also thinking about how the site could reach it's initially needed critical mass state: Perhaps once it's into beta, a mechanical turk task could be used to fill in some of the initial groups? I would think when you're trying to drive a user base, if they sign up and see that hundreds of thousands of sites are already listed/blacklisted, it would be more encouraging for them to sign up.

interviewables Posted: April 14, 2008, 10:04 am

Great suggestion Laura.

Kevin_Cox Posted: April 14, 2008, 10:27 pm

But, why not just submit to Google as a bad site?

There is all ready an report spam/unrelevant sites to Google Firefox extension to do so. So, I think this idea has been done.

Emesee Posted: April 14, 2008, 10:32 pm

Yah, seriously, you could have an option to block all sites below a certain threshold... and they could optionally automatically be submitted to googles spam report...

interviewables Posted: April 15, 2008, 4:57 am

Kevin_cox, I don't think you actually read any of the ideas, you simply look for a reason they won't work. The Google spam report is nothing like this.

Emesee, because then you don't have the power of the community.

In this way of thinking, you could simply link to a good site, have it rise in ranking on Google, and there would be no need for Digg or Stumbleupon...but that's not happening.

Laura Posted: April 15, 2008, 8:59 am

Google is not the only search engine out there, and there is no guarantee that they will always have dominance. As well, when you submit a spam site to google, there's no feedback or timeline for removal. As well, if someone has submitted a link to google as spam/invalid, there's no way for the rest of the world to access that information.

This plugin would serve a function more like add blocker software: on any page you are on (not just google), you'd have a way to flag/eliminate blacklisted sites. It's a lot bigger than just google.

As well, it's providing extra information about each link based on what groups it has been tagged with. If I can hover over a link and see that it's tagged as 'adwords mlm scheme', I knowI want to ignore it, where as if it's tagged as 'blog, no longer updated', then in some contexts I may still want to click the link. Or imagine I'm on dialup, and I can hover over the berryit data for a link and see that it's in the '200K load+' group - then I know to avoid it in favor of something tagged 'under 30K' or 'text only version available'. There is a ton of semantic information that could be useful, a lot of which has nothing to do with the content of the page: accessibility rating is another example.

So this is allowing you to do really useful things:
1.) Gather semantic data about the web using the power of crowds
2.) Alter your browsing/searching patterns based on this semantic data, allowing you to avoid sites that do not meet your requirements.
3.) Still leverage the content-indexing data that search engines specialize in.

It becomes more powerful because if there are millions of sites on a topic, you can narrow it down based on more than content keywords.

Now this is my viewpoint of course - so interviewables may disagree,it's his idea.

interviewables Posted: April 15, 2008, 3:22 pm

Laura, you say it better than I do. Great ideas.

daraddishman Posted: April 15, 2008, 6:23 pm

I wonder if this can simply be a FireFox plug in, or browser plug in, that has a site attached to it. I think Laura's comments about semantic webs and how to leverage the patterns of your users is a fantastic point, and starts to show some magic for this idea. Anyone working on a design document yet? Or is it still to early to start figuring out features?

Brenden Posted: April 15, 2008, 6:50 pm

i love it, i think this would have to be a whole search engine and social network. Do you have the experience to make this happen?

interviewables Posted: April 16, 2008, 5:41 am

daraddishman, I think it can; at least that was the original intent, just like Stumbleupon.com did. It started as a Firefox plugin and grew to where it is today. No, no one is working on a design document but I don't think it is too early to start kicking the tires. We have hashed out a few good points to work on in these posts.

Brenden, My experience is not in programming (that's why I came to CH). I am a marketer, writer, BS'er, etc. I would like to have a team of developers working on this and once we have a working prototype I can get some users and beta testers to really start to get this thing moving. After that it will take on a life of its own. So, having said that, if anyone is an expert programmer and would like to step up to head a development team, maybe we can get the ball rolling. I have no problem sharing the wealth once this thing turns in to gold.

***An update as to where this idea has evolved***

A user goes to our site and downloads a plugin for Firefox. They will also join groups or create a group of their own. These groups will be headed by group leaders. The purpose of each group is to find and "Berry" certain types of sites. For instance, let's say you are a Grammarian and hate any website that has bad grammar or misspelled words. You think they should be eradicated from the web or the website owner should be made to change the site. You also realize that the website owner may not even know it and so you want to help. You start your group...others who share your disdain for these types of sites join your group. As a group, in your normal searches, you will begin to "tag" or "berry" sites that you find that you as a group decide meet a certain criteria. The group then decides if the site should be berried. If it is, then the site will know show up in your personal searches.

Now, let's say you don't want to see any sites with bad grammar and you also don't like spam sites and any site with the color green in it. There are groups for the eradication of spam sites and the "We hate green!" group. You sign up for those sites also but just so those types of sites don't show in your searches.

There a now one million users and millions of pages and sites have been "Berried". Site owners are checking daily just to see if their sites are there. (They don't want that). Suddenly, a site owner finds that one of their sites has been "Berried" by the bad grammar group. He checks his site, sees the problem, and then makes the corrections. He goes to the group to let them know that they have been heard and changes have been made. The group agrees and "exhumes" the site. It is now un-berried and everyone is happy.

This data is being aggregated and put in to a usable form. The reports are available for sale to web site owners and search engines. The people have a voice for their web!

Google takes note of Berryit.com and the information being gathered and wants a meeting....

Sorry, got a little carried away there, but you can see the premise.

Click a button, berry a site, have a voice, make things happen.

Kevin_Cox Posted: April 23, 2008, 6:02 pm

"Kevin_cox, I don't think you actually read any of the ideas, you simply look for a reason they won't work."
I use logic rules when reviewing ideas and I don't just simply look for why they won't work.

"This plugin would serve a function more like add blocker software: on any page you are on (not just google), you'd have a way to flag/eliminate blacklisted sites. It's a lot bigger than just google."
You could run a search for url links to the blacklisted sites then add a flag by the url. You probably won't be able to remove them from the listing completely so it would not berry them per say. But, that would do the job since you could ignore them if you wanted.

Something like:
Except, with a larger user base for rating content.
Like ratting plug ins like this

So, like a combo between rate point and url baning tools?

Could work.

Cawlin Posted: April 23, 2008, 11:43 pm

Wow, there is a lot going on here! I will have to come back and read more but while skimming two sites I was surprised no one has mentioned Mahalo.


Mahalo is essentially human powered search. They also offer a toolbar that is similar to what you are going for.

Google also has this idea in the back of their heads, just not on a scope larger than google.

My biggest concern is most link farms are temporary taking advantage of non binding domains. So when 10,000 people mark http://www.mysite.com as spam what happens in 10 days when the domain turns over to a brand new owner? Is he done for?

Kevin_Cox Posted: April 24, 2008, 1:06 am

That brings up a good point domain names change hands quite frequently when it comes to most of the bad sites out there. I think you could do something like spider the domain names actively and compare the page users reported with the current page.

Another way you could solve this is have a system of time limits, where all sites will slowly move back up to zero over a period of time. Unless the number of reports still meet the average.

On a side note Cawlin if you want to use domain names for examples use the icann official url http://www.example.com

interviewables Posted: April 24, 2008, 4:36 am

"My biggest concern is most link farms are temporary taking advantage of non binding domains. So when 10,000 people mark http://www.mysite.com as spam what happens in 10 days when the domain turns over to a brand new owner? Is he done for?"

Well hopefully our site will be so well known and popular that the seller guarantees the site hasn't been "Berried" or the buyer knows to go to our site and check the status. If however it were berried and changed owners, the new owner could fix the site and then ask that we exhume it.

interviewables Posted: April 24, 2008, 4:46 am

Also, Mahalo isn't really like what we are trying to do.

I'm glad to Google is working on that. That means A) This is a valid idea and B) Maybe they will open and API to make our job easier.

Thanks for the post.

Kevin, thanks for all those Mozilla links, that is exactly what we're needing to do here. Those types of addons with a social network schema. I guess i need to get together with those developers and see if we can't work together to get this done.

Thanks again.

Laura Posted: April 24, 2008, 8:41 am

For the domain name issue, it might be worth while to add a few 'automatic' group bots. They could do things like automatically create a group for 'sites under a month old'. Most of the content would be human tagged (indexed), but i think there are specific cases where an automated group would also add value.

interviewables Posted: April 24, 2008, 8:55 am

Laura you're brilliant! That would be cool to have.

I have emailed a couple of developers and have invited them to join in on this venture. They have both made addons for Firefox. I am waiting on a reply.

landsky Posted: April 24, 2008, 5:49 pm

Can't say I've ever seen so many posts. Something like this is definitely needed. Unclog the search results. Probably about 10 years too late to get a good handle on the glutted net. But Firefox is a good place to go. Best of luck!

Cawlin Posted: April 28, 2008, 1:58 am

For wider adoption have you thought of incorporating it as a bookmarklet rather than just a firefox plugin? Maybe simple javascript can be used to send the current page being browsed to the berryit servers and adding it to the number of berrys. Lots of sites like tumblr, instapaper etc. use bookmarklets combined with a user account in a similar way.

Doesn't solve how you would display the results on google etc. but might be a way to get more browsers in on the fun.

I also think it would be a good idea to provide some context to first time berrys. If a site is berried for the first time the user should have to give a reason. Otherwise I think you might end up with a whole bunch of people berrieing things they don't like rather than actually spam and trash.

interviewables Posted: April 28, 2008, 4:02 am

Cawlin, thanks for the input. Those are some good suggestions. As to the last part of your post, Berrying will be for those site that everyone agrees should come off such as spam and trash, but, also those sites that you in-particular don't like for whatever reason. That's gonna be the real fun of the site. Thanks again for the comments.

interviewables Posted: April 28, 2008, 5:12 am

As an update on this idea, I have talked with the developer of Blocksite which is a firefox extension and he said the plugin is GL and that we can use his plugin however we would like. You can find it here.

If anyone wants to, this would be a good place to get started.

interviewables Posted: April 28, 2008, 6:03 am
BizFunder Posted: April 29, 2008, 7:16 am

Sounds like a fun idea. Why not. If Digg works, this should work as well. There is also a potential trade sale opportunity for your service once it's up and running.

interviewables Posted: April 29, 2008, 10:21 am

Exactly BizFunder,

The information we will be collecting in invaluable...although a value will be put on it.

Thanks for the comment.

interviewables Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:03 am

"is invaluable"

GordonMcDowell Posted: April 29, 2008, 1:46 pm

Could I suggest a permutation here. Based on my experience, I find that major annoyances in my life aren't crap content... Google and Reddit do manage to generally present content of value. It is that the content is often copied from the original source and pasted into a spam sandwich I get annoyed.

Identifying spam pages (so links to them can be crossed out for avoidance), could be improved if the source page was identified.

If a toolbar is built which is going to go so far as to visually indicate downvoted / spammy pages, it might take that opportunity to present the user with an alternative link (as an option). That alternative link would be to use Google's search API to find exactly matching phrase but with the earliest date.

Or perhaps once berried but users, the page is analyzed for amount of spam content (say embedded ads) and color coded to reflect that.

I'm not sure I'm crazy about this idea (and I'm not sure my suggestions have any value either here). I think it will be hard to anticipate how such a system will be used or gamed. Only offering "spam" votes might not be compelling.

I certainly report spam REDDIT links from time to time, but that's within the context of lots of other activities.

Maybe you should consider SPAM as just one dimension a URL can be graded on? A spam page can actually contain good content, and the challenge then is to find a copy of the content without all the spam.

interviewables Posted: April 29, 2008, 2:08 pm

Spam is just one dimension. I know the posts are long and many so I'll sum it up here. You can create a group for anything on berryit.com and berry sites that meet your criteria. Remember, this is about personal search and not changing Google. You choose the sites you want to berry and share your findings with like-minded people and then they decide if they want to berry the sites you have found. Oh and you can berry sites and start groups for any reason. For instance, I know people that literally faint at the sight of a snake, even a picture of one, so if they happen upon a site with pics of snakes that they weren't expecting, they can berry it (once they come to anyway).

I have been researching and have found that you can actually place little icons beside search results based on your own criteria. This could be very useful. You can also block sites you don't want to see and re-sort search results based on your own criteria.

Lots can happen here. Just don't get bogged down in thinking about only spam sites. Thats just one example. There are probably millions of others.

nitros Posted: April 30, 2008, 12:51 pm

If we start berrying sites and share the results, don't you think they will get more hits than they deserve and actually make them popular?

I see the internet as a verticle pipe and websites are bubble. As they mature, they bubble up and eventually pushes other websites down. stumbleUpon, reddit, digg are just catalyst to this phenomenom

interviewables Posted: April 30, 2008, 2:30 pm

I don't think it will push them to the top. There will not be any links to the site except on our servers and we can set a robot text to tell spiders not to crawl. Digg, reddit, and stumbleupon give websites a push because people visit them, bookmark them, talk about them on their blogs, etc. All the things you want to happen if you want your website high in the SE rankings. Also remember, that these sites will not even show up in a search if you have the berryit addon installed.

muon Posted: May 5, 2008, 5:38 pm

This is an excellent idea! Indeed, it could perhaps be the perfect killer app for crowdsourcing.

Four quick initial observations:

(1) I'm uncertain how much of the functionality could, or should, be performed client-side. While a relatively simple browser extension was the original proposal, this seems to be growing rapidly to the point of requiring substantial server capacity on the backend (not that that's a bad thing, note, but certainly we should be prepared for such, if this does in fact take off!).

(2) Some sort of 'metagroup' search and manipulation functionality would seem needed to make this viable for the end-user. To wit, if we are proposing that anyone can start or modify a group, the total number of groups would swiftly grow to an unmanageable number (plus issues of group duplication, etc), rendering the service less and less useful without some way to search for groups one 'agrees with'. To address this issue, perhaps we could quantify various parameters that define a given group (e.g. 'tolerance for flashing banners', 'tolerance for bad grammar', 'relevance to Subject X', etc), thus permitting new users to quickly find groups they like? Even this rudimentary UI could be beneficial, although it could quickly snowball into 'building our own complete search engine' territory (again, not that that's necessarily a bad thing) - for example, advanced users could in theory enter their own 'geek code' specifying the multiple orthogonal parameters which define the envelope of their personal comfort zone (e.g. 'banner+2, grammar-4, ...'), effectively creating a customized group or group search from the command line.

(3) In addition to spam sites, what about redirects, iframes, etc? Per the above discussion, someone with a fear of snakes would take a dim view if the prime BerryIt anti-herpetology group failed to effectively block or flag such content to their satisfaction. A number of obvious approaches to this problem, although again, we'll probably be going well beyond a simple browser extension.

(4) I think more thought should be given to how groups might evolve over time. Conflicts are inevitable (users within a group fighting to BerryIt up/down, e.g. even the grammarian group arguing over US/UK spelling, as seen in the endless wiki wars); should it be simple to split a group as the result of a major schism? Even more significantly, what about all the group participants working as shills for commercial interests, outright trolls, etc? Would this be a pure democracy, or would users rate other users of similar interests?

Anyway, I'd definitely like to work on this! Although concrete revenue streams may not be immediately obvious, this clearly has great potential.

muon Posted: May 6, 2008, 2:32 am

A quick late-night follow-up, re potential revenue models:

Could not a number of Berryit groups (btw, perhaps we need to call such collective filters/flags/communities something other than 'groups'?) effectively become their own businesses?

While, as noted in the discussion above, many such groups might be little more than pet peeves or insular cliques, more serious concerns about a site might become a de facto industry standard for approving/promoting increasingly user-friendly as well as completely original and innovative designs. A la that Verisign link posted by interviewables on Mar 28... what if, as Laura suggested, sites are Berried because of poor coding or design (mouseovers that don't work, aggravating popups, unreadable text, cross-browser inconsistencies, whatever); then the lack of a negative 'webdev Berryit' (or whatever the group might be called) could potentially become as valuable to a marketing company as a Verisign logo for security (after all, thousands of Berryit users collectively saying 'this site is neat and fun to visit' is no small thing)? The only potential concern is that this might encourage groupthink and other dismal conformities... but I don't think so; if a new site design or new web tech works effectively, Berryit users would quickly reflect this in their flags of the site. (Consultants might even submit content and designs to Berryit, pre-launch?)

Again though, this would require Berryit to place even greater emphasis on efforts to prevent gaming the system... but the fact that, e.g. wikis work at all would seem to indicate this is quite feasible.

muon Posted: May 6, 2008, 2:53 am

(meant to say, more concisely...) as Laura posted on April 15, the amount of metadata Berryit could gather and provide on all aspects of sites (come to think of it, this could go beyond just the www) is essentially unlimited, going well beyond content proper; and, based on feedback here, users would greatly value this; hence providers are likely to pay, via numerous channels, for such a service (crowdsourced consulting, or however it might be packaged and presented). Yes?

If this project succeeds, tracking the evolution of sites, pre- and post-Berryit, via the Internet Archive, etc, would be most interesting...

interviewables Posted: May 6, 2008, 4:41 am

Great input Muon. Another name for groups? Maybe Clusters? As in a cluster of berries... Something to think about, especially in the early stages. Marketing strategy and brand are extremely important in a venture such as this. I think many people like this idea because the name seems easy to market.

As for revenue streams, I think you have hit on some very good ideas. The information we will be gathering will be very valuable.

Thanks for the great comments.

GordonMcDowell Posted: May 6, 2008, 9:01 am

Not sure how applicable this is but just wanted to share a tagging site you might want to check out...

interviewables Posted: May 10, 2008, 4:01 am

Thanks Gordon, very interesting.


Post A Comment

Got something to say?
Log in to post a comment.