Happy Birthday

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Happy Birthday, findingDulcinea

November 26, 2008
by Liz Colville
It’s findingDulcinea’s first birthday. In celebration, we look back at the company’s first year and discuss our plans for the future.

Early Days

Mark Moran, founder and CEO, conceived the idea for findingDulcinea in 2006. Mark saw the need for a Web site that would help Internet users find and discover the best of the Web: high-quality sites, articles, blogs and multimedia with excellent content. The company was named in honor of the fictional character Dulcinea from Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.” In a YouTube video, Mark explains how Don Quixote’s quest for Dulcinea inspired the name of the site and came to symbolize our mission.

Our early research revealed that most Web users were dependent on one or two search engines, and that they often don’t explore past the first page or two of search results. We created our Web Guides, with this in mind. Our Guides present credible, trustworthy sites with information on hundreds of topics, and describe what each site offers. Our research team, not a mathematical algorithm, is responsible for handpicking and summarizing the best sites.

But the same problems that people encounter when looking for information on health, travel, finance or any other essential topic, also occur when reading the news online. So we created Beyond the Headlines to present important news stories by collecting high-quality Web sources that provide context, background and insight for the crucial events of the day.

Our third section, Netcetera, covers whimsical, historical, entertaining and enjoyable subjects and events not covered in Beyond the Headlines. We showcase great Web sites, profile inspiring people and discuss a wide range of popular topics such as food, shopping, parenting and business.

Notable Accomplishments

Within weeks of our November 2007 launch, people were talking about how findingDulcinea was helping them find what they were looking for online. The blogger Impromptu Librarian was searching for a particular piece of jewelry; she found it using our Shopping Web Guide, which uncovered “a shopping site that I’d never heard of. What’s interesting is that neither Google nor Yahoo searches even found the site.”

Tech bloggers started to take note as well. KillerStartups wrote that “you can easily find information that interests you” on findingDulcinea. Profy wrote that findingDulcinea “evens the playing field in an Internet crowded with information, offering you a better way to find results that are reliable, from verified web sites. It’s one way to avoid the pitfalls of navigating an Internet full of terrible web sites and bad articles written by self-proclaimed experts.” Mashable noted that findingDulcinea “is really all about discovery. It’s a service with a function described as 'the librarian of the Internet,' and it seems to measure up to that label … the site packs variety. A lot of it. … I don’t hesitate in the least when I say that I truly like what I see there.”

EncontrandoDulcinea, our Spanish-language sister site, launched in March 2008 and has received considerable attention and increasing traffic since then. It features several dozen Web Guides translated into Spanish, including U.S. travel, common diseases, immigration, college and U.S. politics, along with news and features.

In 2008 we started feeding our daily content into reputable news sites like Google News, Daylife, Newstex, Newsmap, Netvibes and several others. We also entered into syndication partnerships with the food blog SeductionMeals, the research and social bookmarking tool Diigo, and the informative video site AnswersTV; many more syndication projects are in the works.

The Rest of the Story

In 2009, we will share findingDulcinea and encontrandoDulcinea with a growing audience through useful, insightful daily content and Web Guides, expanding our reach to foreign Web users who often rely on English-language Web sites. Through translation and syndication of our content, we will deliver a better searching and browsing experience to users around the world, no matter what level of experience they have with the Web.

FindingEducation, launching this winter, may be our greatest endeavor yet. Advised by a board of teachers and librarians, findingEducation will be an online portal for students and educators to share, collaborate and write assignments, and become better researchers with the help of findingDulcinea’s evaluative, content-in-context approach to the Web.

As the gaps left by automated search engines become more glaring, findingDulcinea continues to fill them in, organizing the best finds in a logical manner and eliminating the guesswork that comes when you type a few words into a search engine. (For that, there’s always our custom search engine, which will bring you results from only the sites we recommend.) The growing number of “human-powered” search engines and indices has proven the value of having experienced, meticulous Web users discover and share sites. FindingDulcinea is a gateway to a better Internet.

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