TailRank experiments with community funding

Kevin Burton has been working on a new ranking system for webpages to help sort through the data overload faced by readers. TailRank is currently in an experimental stage and using the Wikipedia database to make sense of a known set of about 800,000 articles.

Kevin is currently looking to expand TailRank to the world of weblogs and eventually to the people behind those weblogs. He would ideally like to link authors to their multiple blogs, podcasts, events, and jobs for a more complete view of online activity and content of interest.

Kevin needs some servers. He is a huge open source advocate and operates on a shoestring budget using Debian and Java.

Last weekend Kevin launched a donation campaign for the site offering Pro-level benefits for the site over the coming months. Donations from the community will allow him to test his concepts with a few more pieces of hardware and paid users will be able to use the site before it opens to the general public and without advertisements. He has also offered to sell corporate placement on his PowerBook for $100 and some other inventive techniques. He has already made $300 over the weekend, enough to rent two additional machines for 1 month.

We often talk about how startups cost a lot less today than during the boom times of the late 90s and Kevin is a good example of a new method of developing ideas with bootstrap funding from a group of early adopters.