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ZEEF search results for Growth Hacking

Solving the flaws of algorithmic search using the wisdom of the crowd

What do ZEEF pages like WordPress, Amsterdam and Growth Hacking have in common? The answer: they all have multiple passionate curators. Let’s have a closer look at the Growth Hacking pages. Which page is the best? Is it David’s, or perhaps Luca’s?

If you want to find quality information, who do you trust?

When we started with ZEEF, we believed that competition between curators on the same subjects would safeguard the overall quality of the platform. Now, with the amount of pages on ZEEF increasing, the question arises: how can we accurately rank competing pages on the same subject and who determines this? At ZEEF we believe in the power of human knowledge. As such, we’re convinced that the level of human engagement with a ZEEF page is what really defines the value of a page.

It is possible to analyze algorithms and trick them. Ever heard of Search Engine Optimization? That’s exactly what it is: beating the algorithm in your advantage. In search engine land, bigger budgets essentially mean more brainpower to trick search algorithms and more money to spend on things like backlinks or direct advertising. As such, search results do not necessarily reflect the best quality results anymore, but the biggest marketing budgets. There are essentially two ways to get yourself on the first page of a search engine: 1) by directly paying for it through an Ad, or 2) by indirectly paying for it, through a large Search Engine Optimization budget. In addition to this there are a lot of other flaws such as incomplete references, untrustworthiness, lack of categorization, etc.

2015 Golden ZEEF Award Contest

Over the last few months, we’ve worked on an initial Page Quality Score model that takes the most important human engagement indicators into account. Behind the scenes we’ve already put the model to the test with existing ZEEF pages, with some pretty impressive results! Before putting the model “in the wild,” we would like to see the model in action with a fresh set of pages.

That’s exactly why we’re organizing the 2015 Golden ZEEF Award contest! During this 30-day contest we want to finetune the initial model with input from our awesome community. In addition to contributing to the future of online content navigation, there are also some great prizes you can win. Everyone is invited to give feedback and input on the model which we will transparently provide in a spreadsheet.

Many pages have already been submitted to the contest, but it’s not too late to participate! The contest starts on March 31st and runs for the entire month of April. Join us in our quest to define the perfect quality score: Golden-ZEEF-Award.ZEEF.com.

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Golden ZEEF Award

Golden ZEEF Award 2015

We believe we can advance where algorithmic search seems to have reached its limits by using human knowledge to sift through the overload of information. Participate in the Golden ZEEF Award contest to help us create a human page quality score and get rewarded for your help and knowledge!

Why

Through means of this contest we want to pilot our quality score model based on human interaction. After transparently testing and improving the page quality model during the contest, our goal is to accurately define the quality of all ZEEF pages in the future. This way you’ll be able to find best information on the web in a heartbeat. As such, we would like to ask for your help by participating in the Golden ZEEF Award of 2015!

Quality Score

With your input, we would like to create a “human page quality score” based on engagement indicators, but most importantly, humans. With your input and during a fun, interactive contest, we want to determine the best page quality indicators and see if we’re on the right track.

We’re currently looking into the following mix of human engagement indicators for our human page quality score (we’re of course open for other suggestions!). An overview of the metrics we believe define a quality page can be found on our dedicated Page Quality Score page.

screenshot-golden-zeef-award.zeef.com 2015-03-09 10-46-45

Contest

Throughout the contest we’ll be testing our “human page quality score” against an actual human ranking of pages. This way we validate if we’re on the right track so you will always find the best information. At the end of the contest there will be two winners:

  1. Human choice: hand-picked by participating curators
  2. Human page quality score: picked by our new page quality score model

We’ll also give you a sneak preview of our new badges feature by allowing contest participants to collect some of the first exclusive ZEEF page badges! Everybody is allowed to participate and has an equal chance of winning the following rewards:

  1. The exclusive Golden ZEEF Award badge on your winning page!
  2. € 300,- cash, an iPad or a Chromebook
  3. € 500,- worth of SEO consultancy and ZEEF page promotion

There will of course also be rewards for the runner ups!

Participate!

  1. Create a new subject page. Participate with a new subject page or a page you haven’t published yet. This way everyone has an equal chance to win!
  2. Confirm your participation. Submit the link to your unpublished page to the participants block on the dedicated Golden ZEEF Award 2015 page or reach out to me personally.
  3. Promote your page. On March 31st at 11:59pm GMT we will publish all participating pages at the same time. You’ll have the entire month of April to promote your page and win!

Check out Golden-ZEEF-Award.ZEEF.com for more information about the contest and the other great prizes you can win. All participants will be rewarded with a Golden ZEEF 2015 participant badge on their page!

The team at ZEEF is looking forward to receiving your applications! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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EP1T0430

Review: The Art of Content Curation

This is a guestreview by Susanne Bender of Bag At You. Pictures of the event can be found in our Facebook album. Want to learn more about how to curate content on ZEEF? Join our workshop on Wednesday. The presentations can be found on SlideShare.

Last Wednesday ZEEF.com organized an event named “The art of content curation”. This event was held in the beautiful ballroom of Rockstart located on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. After a small reception where we enjoyed a delicious welcome cocktail, we all took a seat on one of the nine tables, each hosted by a company active in the field of content curation. Before this event I thought that everyone was familiar with the concept of content curation, so I wondered what exactly turns it into an art? Don’t we all gather and filter the older content to create new content? What are the obstacles of content curation and could you call it craftsmanship?

The content curator

EP1T0407The issues are e.g. that content curation cannot be managed, everybody can do it in their own way, so the quality is not guaranteed. There is so much information available on the web, it doubles every 72 hours. Because of this, the people need an expert who guides them to the most useful and quality content. So, once you can be qualified as a skilled guide, does this mean you’re a good curator as well? According to the most passionate talker of the night, Robin Good (left picture), that is not the case. The curator is neither a collector, nor a list-maker, nor a news-maker, nor a thief (slide 228 – 231). The (digital) content curator organizes, verifies, provides context, offers guidance, illustrates, shares opinion, archives, updates, credits, discloses, takes position and invites collaboration (slide 232 – 244). And if you can master the skills as set out above, you are an artist and you may have a very bright, successful and rich future!

The law of content curation

Merel Teunissen VWS AdvocatenBut is that all? Can we just go out there and use all the content we find suitable for our subject of interest and curiosity? No, between the starter and the main course we learned that almost all the content on the internet is protected by copyright law. It is therefore very important to understand how you can legally share someone else’s content. The curators can do that (i) after they received permission of the author, (ii) use a quotation right (serious expression, from a published source, clearly indicate the source, proportional and functional), (iii) use hyperlink and embedded link, (iv) creative commons, and (v) if the content is in the public domain (slide 84 – 105).

After the hot chocolate and some more drinks I cycled home and decided that it was a very applicable title for a very successful event with great speakers, delicious (artistic) food, tasteful drinks and good networking! As a bag-lover, I felt very inspired and excited to continue curating content about bags in an artificial way and in accordance with law. So a huge thanks to ZEEF.com and I truly hope to see you all again next year!

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Reply to Eric Schmidt’s The New Gründergeist

Yesterday I read a very insightful and honest article by Eric Schmidt on the Google Europe Blog titled “The New Gründergeist“. His article inspired me to write this blogpost to reflect on the problems he mentioned.

The biggest problem with the search industry is that everybody copies the existing model of Google instead of approaching it in an entire new way. Even though the existing model has been doing a perfect job for years, new problems, trends and innovation require new solutions. To solve the problems Eric mentioned, there needs to be a shift in the approach to search.

“You often hear people talk about search as a solved problem. But we are nowhere near close.” — Eric Schmidt

I completely agree with this statement. I’ve experienced the same problems that Eric mentioned in his article with search over the past years and this gave me the motivation to start a company that approaches search in a different way. Adrian Aoun wrote an article on TechCrunch called “Why The Future Of Search May Look More Like Yahoo Than Google” and I completely agree with him.

Google is great when you know exactly what you are looking for, but when searching for ‘New York’, I get the best links (according to Google’s algorithms) about the topic, without any categorization or alternatives to individual links. Maybe I just booked a flight and thus a link to Booking.com is not the most relevant for me. I rather want an overview of things I can do in New York when I arrive there, preferably categorized. Things that are fun to do are very subjective and differ for each person, so I would prefer several subjective human overviews of curated listings and pick the results of a person I can identify with the most.

Social Trend


The social trend of the internet has significantly changed the way we find relevant information online. Google’s famous PageRank was very effective at interpreting websites linking to each other as a recommendation of A to B, rather than individual persons sharing websites through their social channels. Websites mostly used to be a group of people working together without an actual human face and acted more like media companies rather than a distribution channel, responsible for the style and quality of content available on their platform. Identifying which information is most valuable became much more complex now than it was in the early days. Nowadays, information online is much more personal and individual websites contain lots of different styles and quality of information, because they act more like a distribution channel for individual persons than a big content producer with a consistent style and quality they safeguard. To summarize: value of content has to be identified on the level of an individual piece of content and which person created it, rather than on the reputation of the platform/website itself that published the content.

The social graph of a person is very important these days. People are much more aware of what happens on the internet these days, privacy and trust are a big thing.

“Google isn’t useful because it’s popular; we’re popular because we’re useful.” — Eric Schmidt

The next big thing in search will be the opposite, it’s useful because it’s popular (and thus social). You don’t want the best ranked links on Google, which are influenced by Search Engine Marketing and big budgets, you want the links which are most valued and recommended by your friends, peers and industry experts; an actual human you trust and whose expertise you can validate.

Conclusion


The ‘filter bubble’ is not the right solution to these problems. This approach creates a false sense of (social) relevancy, because individual links are ranked based on privacy-invading methods and are not ‘social’ at the core. You don’t want a stream of individually relevant links, you want more context, subjective overviews about a topic, each ranked and categorized by an actual human independent on your search history. People most close to you in your social graph should be shown first.

I believe search needs to become more human, transparent and contextualized to remain effective now and in the future. When I find a bar in New York, I also want to see alternatives, preferably ranked based on different perspectives, but a ‘related:websiteofbar.com’ query on Google doesn’t provide me with any of this. We need a crowdsourced human filter on top of Google to supply what we need in this information-overloaded social web age and get out of the ‘black box’ of filter bubbles and SEM.

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1000 pages now live on ZEEF!

We´re very proud to announce today that we have reached our 1000th published page! With this milestone, we are now one step closer to reaching our goal of filtering the world´s information. However we could not have reached our goal without our strong community of content curators and would like to use this opportunity to thank you all for your contribution to our network. Your passion and knowledge is a fundamental key for our platform.

Also a happy Birthday to our founder & CEO Klaas Joosten!

Now it´s time to open the champagne!

klaas2

 

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ZEEF office warming party

Office Warming Party

Friday 19th of September, the ZEEF community met in our new location for our official office warming party. It was the perfect occasion to talk about ZEEF in general, what´s happening behind the scenes, to meet passionate people and simply spend a nice time all together. We could meet our curators, talk with them and know more about how people use our platform and what improvements they would like to see. It was also a good opportunity for ZEEF´s curators to exchange ideas and discuss about their passion.

After all the hard work moving to our larger office down Amstelboulevard, the night finally gave us the opportunity to show our new office space, talk about ZEEF´s current goals/achievements and most importantly, our future plans. On the night we also announced  that we raised 1.2 million euros from a group of informal investors (Which was officially confirmed the Tuesday before). These Funds will be used for technical improvements, to invest in the product (mobile and location-based search) and for expanding our commercial operations in the U.S. New York to be precise!

The occasion also allowed our community to have a chat face to face. It was great to see our investors, curators, developers, commercial team, friends and family talking about ZEEF in general and spending a great time together.

Thanks to everybody that attended our party! The night was a great success. Go to our Facebook page to see the pictures of the event and remember to tag yourself!

On Friday 31st of October, you are invited again to our next curator event. More information is to come but save the date, it will be another opportunity to come to our office and share ideas all together. You will have the chance to get one of our fashionable ZEEF t-shirts and our best curators will be rewarded with golden ZEEFs! Sounds like the promise of another great night together.

Even before that date, feel free to come back to our office and enjoy free coffee, Wi-Fi and a chat as it is always a pleasure to meet with our network.

Dank aan allen!

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Looking back on … One year of ZEEF

On the 12th of July 2013 ZEEF gave its first launch party. The event was a big success and it was great to meet everyone who was interested in our company. This year flew by and a lot has happened since we went live. Time for us to look back and look back at our accomplishments of the past year.

We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished the past year. We received new funding, added 5 affiliate networks to our portfolio and released 15 new versions of ZEEF.com. To summarize here are the statistics of 2013-2014:

Statistics 2013 – 2014

  • 120 000 people served with high-quality information
  • 368 curators active on the platform
  • 627 pages are live
  • 81,963 links have been curated
  • 1,186 people are following ZEEF pages
  • 471 fans on Facebook

We hope next year the numbers have been doubled and that our first office abroad has been opened.

We also would like to thank everybody for their ongoing support and useful feedback about ZEEF. We’ll continue filtering the internet and we hope you’ll continue your ongoing support. We couldn’t have done this without you.

To celebrate our successes we invite all our curators Friday 18th July to our office for free drinks. The evening will start at 5 pm at Wibautstraat 129-8.

Keep on ZEEF!

Cheers,

Team ZEEF

 

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Thunderclap

Support our Thunderclap campaign!

Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.

Do you think everybody should hear about ZEEF? Then join our Thunderclap campaign! We need 100 supporters before June 17th to make this happen, so please show us your support and ask your friends and family to support us as well!

 

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Are you already following your favorite pages?

Last week we released ZEEF 2014.2 One of the new features was following a page. We liked it so much, that we decided to improve it. Yesterday after office hours, we ordered pizzas and then spent some more time working on it! Just now we released the improvements.

PizzasWhat did we improve?

  • On a page you can see the number of followers
  • In the dashboard you can see the list of who is following you
  • You will be notified when you have a new follower
  • In the notification you’ll find your follower’s pages, maybe you want to return the favor?

We hope you enjoy our new follow feature, if you have any feedback: please let us know! Thanks team!

Tip: follow the home page to receive a weekly digest of all new pages on ZEEF!

 

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ZEEF: A Comparison with Google :)

Today the search industry is being dominated by one company: Google. Since we believe the future of search will be something along the lines of Yahoo directories + Google, we think ZEEF has a shot of becoming as popular as Yahoo was.

We know that this is quite ambitious but we have made a comparison between ZEEF and Google to show you the differences and point out why we believe we are better. First of all, we use human knowledge to rank our search results instead of algorithm. Next, in terms of key personnel, we have Jan which is an equivalent to having 1.000 Google top employees. Furthermore, if you look at branding ZEEF is much shorter and easier to remember than Google. It takes only three fingers and 4 strokes to type in our domain name instead of four fingers and 6 strokes.

The biggest difference is in advertising. Google hunts and tracks you down to provide Ads based on your browsing history. This can be very irritating, especially if you accidentally clicked on persian-women-dating.com. We provide advertisements, our widgets, based on the content you are visiting and reading.  So if you visit a website about travel, we will show you relevant travel ads. Simple and easy to understand.

Finally, at ZEEF everything is about passion and following your heart. At Google their motto is “don’t be evil”. Which kind of like suggest they are evil and have to remind themselves not to be… Anyway, below you will find a full comparison between ZEEF and Google. Hope you like it!

ZEEF

Google

Ranking/ scaling:

People

Algorithm

Company size:

Small

Big

We have:

Jan

They don’t

Domain name:

Shorter

Longer

Expenditures:

Low

High

Similar websites:

Have

Don’t

Categories:

Yes

No

We can use:

Google API

….?

CPA/CPL:

All Affiliate Networks

Only Google system

User interface:

Icons

Text

Bloggers can exclude / include advertisers:

We can

They don’t

Advertising:

We make sense

Adsense

Motto:

Passion

Don’t be evil

Tagline:                                                       

Filtering the World’s Information

Organising the World’s Information

 

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