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Tour Guides in Cyberspace

Techstination feature for Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Tour guides in cyberspace. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. You've done it. I've done it. Typed something you're looking for into one of those Internet search engines and what you get back is a computer generated list of 463 thousand matches for you to click through. There are alternatives, real live human beings. Imagine that. That's what has made, a popular online destination. About's John Caplan...

"We have just over seven hundred topic specific sites, each overseen by a professional guide. The guide's responsibility is to create the content on the site, find the best links out there on the net as well as to guide users towards commerce opportunities that are relevant to their topic. So, for example, our fly fishing site is overseen by a professional fly fisherman who helps you immerse yourself in your interest of fly fishing as well as find products and services relevant to that topic."

What's interesting to note are which areas draw the most traffic...

"Our pregnancy site is one of our most popular. Our Chinese culture site is one of our most popular. Our video game strategy site is one of our most popular. So you see that we really capture the trends of what people are interested in. You see sites growing in our ranking like the billboard chart when there's a new phenomenon taking hold and people are excited about it."

The idea has made one of the top twenty web sites in the world.