A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: Blue Dot.
What: Blue Dot
Who: Mohit Srivastava, co-founder.
What it does: Allows users to save, share and discuss Web pages that spark their interest.
Financing: Founded in 2004, the Seattle company has raised $1.5 million, with investors including several Microsoft and Starbucks beneficiaries. Srivastava said it is not generating earnings now, but the company is using “affiliate marketing” partnerships. For instance, Blue Dot gets a cut every time a user “dots” a page that generates a sale to specific merchant. Srivastava said he wants Blue Dot to be a free service.
How it started: Srivastava, living in Seattle, sought a way to read the articles and books that his sister (then a New Yorker) found interesting. None of the existing ways — e-mail, telephone or hard copy — made it easy.
How it works: Users create a profile and install a browser button that allows them to “dot” any page and display a link and a short comment as part of the profile. This system can function as a collaborative tool. A project leader can dot any pertinent data; a teacher and a class can share pages acquired through searches about a particular topic.
Not MySpace: “Blue Dot doesn’t concentrate on amassing new friends, but helps you learn from the friends that you already have,” Srivastava said.
Noun and verb: “I’ve heard people who want to save something say they were going to ‘dot’ a page,” Srivastava said. “And a little blue dot on the browser represents the simplest metaphor for saving something.”
A sibling relationship: Srivastava said his sister, who recently moved to Seattle, dots events he would never know about. “I see what she is reading, and this exposes me to many articles from various sources,” he said. “As a result, we have richer conversations when we get together in person. It’s a new way to communicate.”
— Charles Bermant