Photo: Facebook / Screengrab
There is a startup in New York called Sulia. It’s tiny – 10 people work there – and you’ve probably never heard of it.But it is one to pay attention to – especially if you are Twitter CEO Dick Costolo or Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Sulia is a site that organizes short form content into channels like “New York City,” “Comic Books,” “Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
It gets that content in two ways. One way: It pulls the first sentence or two of news stories from across the Internet onto Sulia.com. The other: It has users who write directly into topic channels on Sulia.com.
What’s interesting about Sulia is that, in an age when entrepreneurs tend to focus on attract users first and worrying about monetization later, Sulia has obviously been built from the ground up to eventually make money some day.
Currently, it does not, but organising the Internet’s massive content by topic matter is a no-brainer money-making move. You can imagine that stroller makers would love to advertise on the Sulia channel for pregnant mothers. Chase and Mercedes would love to be on the Sulia page for the ATP World Tour or the US Open.
So that’s what’s interesting about Sulia: it’s a business that has been built from the ground up to be a business someday.
What’s impressive about Sulia is that, despite the fears of the Zuckerbergs of the world, users seem to still be showing up anyway.
Last month, 10 million people visited a website called Sulia – up from 0 just 10 months prior. Some context: Twitter.com still had less than 5 million unique visitors three years after the site launched.
The reason we think Costolo and Sandberg need to pay attention to this startup is that it is solving the biggest problems of their companies.
Obviously Twitter should organise the links its users push into the system by topic matter, and then sell ads against those channels. Obviously Facebook’s News Feed should have little tabs at the top so users can click into a “sports,” “business,” or “politics” section to see what’s popular amongst their friends and across the Internet.
That would be a great place for expensive ads, and, by the way, the 10 million people who visited Sulia last month seem to think it would be a handy product, too.
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