Helium President & CEO Mark Ranalli believes his new Web 2.0 start-up that launched in the wee hours this morning (I shared in the countdown!) will ensure that “quality rises” in the online “user-created reference resource” space.
The Helium tag line is “where knowledge rules.” Ranalli’s pre-launch build-out was certainly done in a knowledgeable fashion.
Helium is not just another cool new Web 2.0 app hoping to gain traction. Helium’s official launch today is the public culmination of a private “quiet pilot,” not the start of a public beta.
What did Helium accomplish during its “quiet pilot” over the past six months?:
Helium’s track record prior to launch is undoubtedly one of the reasons the start-up is close to closing a significant Series B funding round (Ranalli confided to me!). The Series B follows the “couple million” Series A funding provided by Signature Capital.
I spoke with Ranalli at length yesterday as he put the finishing touches on Helium.com before its official “coming out.”
What is Helium, exactly? Helium aims to be the next generation Wikipedia/About.com/Yahoo Answers/eHow…all rolled up into a clean, interactive package.
Content contributors are offered financial incentives. The Helium four-prong formula is: "Reading, writing and rating . . . and even more - reward."
In Helium’s own words:
Community of people sharing knowledge Broad range of topics
Multiple points of view Written, reviewed & rated by 'people like me' A trusted reference resource
An outlet for the writer in all of us Who are passionate about a topic Provides recognition & reward Elevates contribution beyond obscurity of blogs
How does Helium execute its formula?
We’re on a quest to build the best user-created reference resource there is.
Finding insight on the web can be a bit like the popular rock song phrase, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for . . .” Lots of links, not much insight… Helium is the place to read-up on real-world experiences. Even better, Helium offers more than one point of view, to help decision-making.
Don’t worry, you won’t be weeding through “Sarah said this” and “Jon said that.” We make it easy for you to find the best stuff first. We’ve invented a neat way to rank articles that lets the best rise to the top. Browse Channels or Search by entering a topic.
Helium is a community where YOU contribute. A fun, addictive place for people who are passionate about a topic to write and be heard. Ever read an article and thought, “Oh, he forget to mention . . .” or “Geez, I could have written that better”?
Helium uses the power of people (that is, you) to drive the best stuff to the top. But this is no popularity contest. We use peer-review, a process where Helium writers compare one article to another to decide which is best. After many comparisons by many people, our ranking engine knows which article should be on the top.
Helium is an outlet for the writer in all of us, but it is also a place where you can earn not only the adoration of your peers, but money, too! We want you to be part of the success here. Helium shares a portion of revenue with you. Every article you write is an asset which can earn you revenue---into perpetuity. The better you write, the higher you rank, the more your reward.
How is Helium obtaining the “reward” money? Helium aims at rewarding its contributing writers, and itself, by leveraging its vast content repository via contextual and sponsorship advertising and is hoping to gain a large slice of the $16 billion online advertising pie.
Ranalli is confident that as "quality rises," Helium will rise to become a "top ten" Web site.