We are talking about Bumblehood . Bumblehood is a community-driven portal which provides a knowledge base about countries and cities worldwide.
Giving a brief description about this startup, Bumblehood is a community-driven portal(although most of the community features are currently on hold, scheduled for second half of 2009) which already contains an enormous amount of content, ready to be expanded and enriched. Bumblehood provides a knowledge base about countries and cities worldwide – covering topics ranging from geography, economy, politics, history and popular culture, to useful facts about landmarks, organized tours and transport services, as well as information on local businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.), useful to both local citizens and global travelers.
Launched in the mid of february this year, the total investment up to present date in Bumblehood have exceeded 1.3 million € (angel, institutional and self-funded capital). Considering the amount of content that the batalion of content writers behind Bumblehood has created uptil now, the money spent so far seems justified to us.
The BumbleMap platform is the software backbone that powers Bumblehood (what MediaWiki is for Wikipedia is what BumbleMap for Bumblehood) and offers many new concepts in WYSIWYG wiki and semantic data organization using the topic maps paradigm presented through a clean, non-intrusive interface.
So far, so good. But we came across many issues while getting our hands on Bumblehood.
Novelty : Bumblehood is basically meant to provide users with enormous amount of information where end users will also contribute their knowledge. But such a service was already started by Jimmy Wales in the year 2001 and 8 years hence, every single creature on internet knows that non-profit web service…Wikipedia. Quiet recently, there was a similar kind of service launched by Google called Knol, which grabbed a lot of buzz in the beginning but is currently one of the poor performers of ‘Google Family’. The reason is very much the same. ‘Re-inventing the Wheel’ isn’t required anymore.
We already have an enormous amount of poorly organised information on the ever-expanding world wide web. The need of creating a free single handed information source on the web has already been fulfilled (Thanks to Wikipedia). The need is to create an organiser for the spilled information on the web. (Search engines are, in a way ‘Organisers’, trying to re-organise the content on the web as per the ‘Relevance Quotient’).
In case of Bumblehood, there has been enornous money and efforts put in by the team, just for recreating the same old stuff. Was it really required ? We reckon it wasn’t.
Search Relevance : There is a navigation menu on the left side of the website apart from the usual search option. We spotted a section through the navigation menu where few hotels in egypt were listed. We searched using the keyword ‘Hotel in Egypt’ and the results weren’t encouraging. It seems they have just started off and still need to work hard on their internal search indexing.
Business reviews : Bumblehood offers users to contribute their personal experiences on anything that they came across so that others will be benefited from that information(such as restaurant, product..etc) but Yelp has been aggressively accumulating the same user reviews for almost 5 years about everything one could think of. If we already have Yelp then what’s the use of doing the same stuff again.
And if Bumblehood wants to be yet another competitor to these monstrous services (Wikipedia and Yelp) then the chances of being the Next Big Thing are bleak.
One more thing that we have noticed is that the content is seriouly enormous on Bumblehood but the links aren’t SEO optimized at all. As any ‘content major’ website relies heavily on search engines, the things are looking strange in this regard. For instance, a wikipedia article on ‘Cuba’ has a URLhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba (SEO Friendly) but a similar article titled ‘History of Cuba’ on Bumblehood has a URL http://www.bumblehood.com/article/QuAt1fnGQu6iFehOtBkgIA
We may be sounding too critical about Bumblehood (and might be proven wrong as well) but this is what we reckon…rest you decide !