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All About About

Boot Camp feature for Monday, November 6, 2006

All about About. Bloomberg Boot Camp a report on today's technology. It's a site that attracts about thirty million people a month. About.com has been around for a decade….becoming part of the New York Times family in March of last year. What differentiates About from other search tools online…is its use of guides…real human beings. About CEO Scott Meyer….

"We have 550 subjects and there's 550 guides. They're as diverse as board certified physicians, PhDs, winners of the Julia Child Foundation Award for French food, experienced actors and school teachers. PhDs in chemistry and people that just have incredible expertise in subjects as diverse as knitting, family crafts and home schooling."

The guides are independent contractors…paid based on audience growth on the pages they supervise…

"So that gives them a direct incentive to continually build a richer, more robust site. Becoming a guide is pretty competitive. In fact, since we became part of the New York Times, the acceptance rate used to be 15 percent, it's now 1 percent. So when you apply to be a guide, you've got a one in a hundred chance of being accepted onto the site."

About is looking to expand its medical content and add more users in Europe and Asia. It has been adding more video to the site…and with the growth of blogging and MySpace and YouTube…is looking for more user generated content as well. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.