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Professionals Reclaim the Web

Trend powered by demand for dependability, fear of faulty information from amateurs.

Professionals Reclaim the Web
CYBERSPACE - While the Internet is a crucial tool in education and spreading information, websites like XTube, YouTube and Wikipedia are largely driven by amateur users.

Paid professionals have been widely snubbed within these Internet portals, but as professionally edited and produced online content becomes more valuable, the entrepreneurs who financed the user-generated revolution are stepping up.

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According to Newsweek, the return of the pro comes amid an escalating demand for a more dependable and bankable Internet.

"People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information," Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the research company Iconoculture, told Newsweek.

Beal said "choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a perfect storm of demand for expert information."

Knol, a new Wikipedia-esque website, was given the beta treatment by Google in December 2007. The site features information from reliable sources that share ad revenue.

In January, former Harvard University President Larry Summers backed BigThink.com, a self-proclaimed "YouTube for ideas." The website spotlights a myriad of scholars in its library of well-produced video interviews.

"We think there's demand for a nook of cyberspace where depth of knowledge and expertise reign," BigThink co-founder Victoria Brown told Newsweek.

Mahalo.com just launched the final test version of its people-powered search engine, which replaces Google's popularity-based page rankings with results that the startup says are based on quality and vetted by real people.

Well-known reference site About.com has answered the call for accuracy by offering a growing network of 670 freelance subject experts called "guides."






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Justin Bourne

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