The MetaSieve Blog

February 2, 2009

A Story Of Searching and Finding on the Web

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaholger @ 1:07 pm

Spin-Off of RUB develops specialised Search Engine Technology for Websites

The internet is their marketplace – and every website operator is a potential customer. MetaSieve, a spin-off of the Ruhr University (RUB), provides technology which is useful for basically everyone who operates their own website, from major corporations to a hobby photographer. In 2008, their first year of operation, start-up entrepreneurs Björn Wilmsmann and Florian Dömges had to deal with the worldwide financial crisis. While the economy is slowing down, they remain steadfast and keep on developing fresh ideas.

“One morning, while we were waiting for a class to start, we thought we should start a company together”, says Florian Dömges, one of the two founders of MetaSieve. Said and done. MetaSieve formally operates since May of 2008. The headquarters are located in a small office in the Technologiezentrum Ruhr (TZR) on the Ruhr University campus.

Right now the customer numbers are on the lower side of the double digits, but within the next few weeks a larger-scale campaign is supposed to change that. “On one side there will be online ads, but we will also directly connect with our customers and offer them our products“, says Dömges.

MetaSieve offers various kinds of technology for search engines. For some larger companies the two young entrepreneurs have developed and set up internal search engines with which the employees can locate the documents they need. “This was precisely what was at the base of our first business plan“, as Florian Dömges recalls. The two former Ruhr University students drew up the plan while working with a founding grant which was running for one year. They had successfully applied for the grant at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour with the aid of Rubitec, the patent management company of the Ruhr University. When the grant expired in 2008 and MetaSieve had officially been founded, the founders quickly realised one thing. “We found that the market which exists for our specialised skills is much larger and that we can do a lot better. Therefore we got rid of our old business plan and put up some points from scratch again.” So Dömges and Wilmsmann expanded their range of products.

Straight up in the Rating

By now the online service ContentSieve is their most successful product. With this, operators of websites – no matter whether large or small – can greatly improve their position in the result lists of the large search engines like Google or Yahoo. And whoever is far up in the result lists will get more clicks than other websites. With more clicks a website will be more appealing to companies wishing to place online advertisements. If all this works as desired, the operator of the website will make some good cash.

ContentSieve adds a so-called widget to the customer’s website. This is a kind of window which can display special, pre-set content and information – for example a news window with the latest information regarding “Business”.

The content of this window is not generated at random. Metasieve constantly gathers information from the web and rates them according to their relevance, in this example according to the keyword “Business”. Only content which is placed high in the Google rating will be used for the widget. This way, the website of the MetaSieve customer will climb in the rating.

ContentSieve is exemplary for the strength of the young company, as Florian Dömges states. “We can analyse high volumes of text on the internet and develop a vast range of different services from that. This has a lot of potential, in the end of the day the web is mainly text.”

Search Engines for Poker or Game Buffs

Another example of the various uses of this for MetaSieve is uSear.ch. This is a small network of search engines written by Dömges and Wilmsmann. The individual search engines have names like GameSear.ch, PetSear.ch or PokerSear.ch. The special feature is that these engines only display content which is actually related to games, pets or poker, and do not overwhelm with the entire bulk of information which the big search engines show. If one keys “Toilet” into PetSear.ch, information regarding pet toilets is returned, and people’s bathrooms or contractors offering mobile toilets are omitted.

“Such a company profile exists nowhere else in Germany. Basically, everyone who takes part in life on the web has some kind of use for our products”, Florian Dömges adds. The two young entrepreneurs look into the future full of optimism and new ideas. Maybe this is because they have cleared first really big boulders on their path. “Since May 2008 we stand on our own two feet, without founding grants or anything. First, we had to acquire loan capital in the middle of the financial meltdown“, says Florian Dömges. Many banks were not overly enthusiastic, but in the end the idea of MetaSieve convinced – not only the banks, but also the customers. 2009 looks very promising for MetaSieve indeed.

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