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Los Angeles, CA
Ranker is a socially-minded consumer web platform designed around collaborative and individual list-making and voting. Ranker uses lists and rankings to harness the “wisdom of crowds” to answer both watercooler debates like Worst Movies of All Time as well as practical searches like Best Car Values. All lists on Ranker are powered by linked datasets to power “connected listmaking” across over 7 million “rankable items” on all significant verticals and topics. (Ranker’s content and data partners include Google-owned Freebase, as well as Factual). Ranker launched in August, 2009, and has since grown to over 4 million monthly unique visitors and over 14 million monthly page views, per Quantcast. As of January 2012 Ranker’s traffic was ranked at 949 on Quantcast. Ranker appears to have thousands, probably tens of thousands of users (over 4000 people have participated in the above-mentioned Worst Movies ranking alone). The site was founded by serial entrepreneur Clark Benson whose previous site, eCrush, sold to Hearst in 2006. Board members include Draper Associates investor Joel Yarmon and former MySpace CEO and Userplane founder Michael Jones. Ranker has raised a total of $3.1 million in funding, beginning with a $1 million seed round in 2008 and buffeted by a Series A investment round of $1.3 in April of 2011. Other Ranker investors include Draper Associates, Rincon Venture Partners, Siemer Venture Capital and various angels, including Factual founder Gil Elbaz, Ryan Steelberg, and founder Benson himself. The Ranker platform is designed to (anonymously) collect individual user votes and track them, using cookies, across various lists. This allows the site to assemble a taste graph for people who have voted on lists, as opposed to the sort of social graph that sites like Facebook can assemble using their users’ personal data. Ranker has used the taste graph already to perform Factor Analysis, a way of looking deeper into user voting trends (for example, the connections between movies that a certain group of people all tagged as “bad.”) The company plans to continue collecting user tastes and producing analysis on the data to uncover even more of these ‘hidden’ trends and opinions, covering their findings on the Ranker Official Blog.