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SimilarGroup Raises $2.5 Million To Take On Alexa’s (Often Terrible) Web Rankings With Its New SimilarWeb Service

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Tel Aviv-based SimilarGroup, a company whose recently launched web measurement tool SimilarWeb is out to topple Alexa’s stronghold in web rankings, is today announcing $2.5 million in new funding. The round was led by Moshe Lichtman, the former President of Microsoft’s Israel Research and Development Center, and as a part of the funding, Lichtman is also joining the company’s board.

 

The company’s other investors include Dr. Yossi Vardi, the original investor in ICQ, as well as private equity firm Naftali Investments, and Docor International B.V. To date, SimilarGroup has raised $3.5 million in outside funding.

Founded in 2009, until recently, the company was known for its suite of branded browser plugins (SimilarWeb, SimilarSites, e.g.) which offer users suggestions of other sites like the one they’re currently visiting, alongside other useful information like web rankings, traffic reach and traffic sources, for example. These plugins and others help power the algorithms behind the newly launched SimilarWeb web measurement service.

But to take on Alexa, SimilarGroup has more up its sleeve than just a couple of plugins whose main user base may be marketers or SEO professionals. The company also has an undisclosed number (actually, they told me off the record – and it’s A LOT) of consumer-facing plugins which range from social plugins to games and more. End users of these plugins may not be aware that they’re helping contribute data to SimilarWeb’s rankings, because they’re not branded “Similar–”.

Combined, the company’s suite of plugins have been download tens of millions of times, and its online portal SimilarSites.com, today sees over 10 million visitors per month. It’s a lot of data to crunch – and thanks SimilarGroups’s plugins, the idea is that the company will be able to offer better and more accurate insights than Alexa.

Alexa as a brand, says SimilarGroup CEO Or Offer, just isn’t trusted anymore. The toolbar is used by marketing people, not normal users. “And the website looks bad, with a lot of ads,” he adds. “We’ve worked very hard in this past year and a half to build SimilarWeb…We hope to be the next Alexa,” he adds.

On the back-end, SimilarWeb uses its unique technology and its “enormous amount of data,” to offer measurements that are more accurate than Alexa. It’s something the company feels confident in saying, as they do their own internal comparisons of data accuracy regularly. While Offer declined to go on record with numbers here, he is claiming that the company’s data is highly accurate when compared to the competition. Since launching around ten days ago, he says engagement and repeat visits for the new platform are high – over half of users have returned, some spending over 5 minutes on the platform.

Offer also talks of the quality of SimilarGroup’s 25-person team, noting the company has Ph.D.’s on staff with backgrounds in things like machine learning, big data, and statistics, for example. “We’re a very savvy technology company,” says Offer. “We have a huge server farm with more than 100 servers…every month, we analyze more than one billion pages around the web.”

Not only is the company betting on the quality of its data, it’s also touting some unique features which allow users to delve in deeper to things like traffic sources, rankings, organic versus paid search, social traffic, related sites, and much more. (A comprehensive look into SimilarWeb vs. Alexa is detailed here on the company’s blog). And the data is also presented in a new, more engaging way – it’s provided in a clean, modern, almost infographic-like interface.

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Going forward, the plan with the additional funding is to launch its “Pro” (paid) service to the public, which will serve as a source of revenue by offering users a subscription-based competitive analysis product. This will be available alongside the API packages the company has now. Offer also notes that the “ranking API” will remain free for those who want it .”We want to distribute our rankings all over the Internet. We want to displace Alexa rankings, so the ranking API you can get for free if you email us,” he tells us.

In addition to product developments, the company is planning to open offices in New York by year-end, where it will hire sales and marketing staff to sell its Pro product and other packages.

techcrunch

Nude maid service raising eyebrows in Texas city!!!

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Police in this staunchly conservative West Texas city are keeping close tabs on a young entrepreneur’s recently opened cleaning service that offers nude maids.

Lubbock police Sgt. Jonathan Stewart said the owner of Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock doesn’t have a permit to operate a sexually oriented business and officers are watching for any violation, which would bring a $2,000 fine.

But owner Melissa Borrett insists she’s not operating such a business. Customers pay $100 an hour for one maid or $150 an hour for two maids, and no touching is allowed, she said.

“I run a maid service,” the 26-year-old entrepreneur said. “We really just clean houses. These girls are not performers. They’re maids.”

The West Texas native and mother said she started the business about a month ago because she was struggling as a waitress to make ends meet. She had even been living at the Occupy Lubbock encampment near Texas Tech University’s campus in Lubbock.

I just decided to go a little bigger, work a little smarter,” she said.

Her business model isn’t unique, but the city’s ordinance requires all sexually oriented businesses to apply for a permit, which costs $650 a year, and to post a $5,000 surety bond or letter of credit.

Such businesses are defined as any commercial venture whose operations include “providing, featuring or offering of employees or entertainment personnel who appear in a state of nudity, seminude or simulated nudity and provide live performances or entertainment” intended to sexually stimulate or gratify customers “and which is offered as a feature of a primary business activity of the venture.”

Stewart wouldn’t say how police planned to keep tabs on the maid service, and Borrett said she would hire an attorney to fight any attempt by the city to shut her down.

So far, Borrett said, business has been good and she is now busy interviewing to hire more maids. She currently has three on staff. She offers a regular discount to government employees and law enforcement, and an ad posted Friday on the online bartering site Craigslist offered 20 percent discounts for Easter weekend.

If requested, the maids would clean fully clothed, but the cost is the same.

“It is kind of pricey, but we’re fantasy maids,” Borrett said.

<But who will want a made to clean fully clothed? certainly not many men ou there, i be lie??> lol, thats the idea now….They can like to have this service in Nigeria oo… lol

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