Company Name: vtopics, by Corporate O
What do they do? vtopics represents a new way to search the web, and a way for companies to advertise to a targeted group of people at the same time. For each of the 20 subjects on the main vtopics page, the company is looking for strategic partners – and then those companies will be able to place advertising in several places on each of the vtopics pages they are partnering with. Among the 20 subjects is a travel page.
Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B
Founder(s): Carlos Cayon
Date Founded: 2010
Presentation Notes: vtopics calls itself “The Site of Sites,” and is a visual way to search the internet. Instead of getting infinite text-based results on a topic, you click on one of the subjects on the main page of vtopics and get a horizontally-scrollable display of 10 websites considered “top sources” on that subject. You can narrow the subject by the drop-down menu, or by typing additional keywords into the search bar at the top of the page – and there’s a line of thumbnails at the top of the page so you can easily get from one website to another without needing a horizontal scrolling bar. If those 10 websites don’t have what you’re looking for, you can rate them on a 5-star basis, and you can get more websites added to the display. In addition to websites, vtopics also presents pictures and video on each subject, which are visible and playable without leaving the vtopics page.
Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? The vtopics pages take a bit of getting used to, as it’s a completely different way of looking at and searching the web, but once you figure out how to navigate the page it’s relatively intuitive. It’s not clear whether the system would “learn” from users rating various sites in the display of “top sources,” or whether users could make sure the sites they personally trust always appear, but assuming the sites chosen for display are ones the user likes then this is a quick way to glance at 10 sites without clicking around to each one. Currently, because the travel section on vtopics does not yet have a strategic partner, I’m not terribly excited about the websites offered up as “top sources” – it will be interesting to see whether the offerings change with a partner coming on board.