Some years ago, a new site was being considered for members of a club interested in TV and film production and for actors, film companies, and the like and it was decided to create a full list of resources, actors, models and more.
The concept to develop this sort of grew, and we said if it could be of use to film producers, why could it not be of use to farmers, accountants, or carpenters, all they would need would be their own page, much of the useful information would be common. Well then what about local pages was the next question and where do you draw the line between what is needed for a specific business and wider interest. So where do you draw the line, is it UK, UK and USA, or the English speaking world.
Other clubs and organizations were interested and we moved ahead widening the are to cover.
We decided to not take on a part job but to ... well go completely crazy and take on the world. However perhaps this is a little too big so we started with a design that allows the UK to develop, with the USA just behind but also other sites around the world eventually.
We want to create a very simple system to use, that loads fast, and gives immediate access to the most useful resources across the web. We want to make it available (free) for everyone to use and encourage as many people as possible to become involved in developing and maintaining this resource. That all!!!!
Yes there are other directories and search engines, but everything took so many clicks and so long to get to what we wanted.
You see we had to visit a vast number of sites to both UK and others so as to build a super portal but we needed to have something to work from.
So we sat down and entered well over 15,000 sites mainly UK, into a database, indexed all UK Internet and computer magazines and bought every book and directory we could find.
Of course we then had a vast amount of information, and we created a classification system, the hardest part of the project, based on how we thought people would want to find information. We then assigned provisional section numbers and classified our database entries into these.
At this point the BOTB 'BEST of the BEST' was born, originally it was just going to be an on-line working directory for us to use, but it proved so useful we thought you might like to use it as well.
Of course we have developed it further, adding a useful front page, and other top site listings and features to make it appeal more.
UK-list.com also came out of the same project, and is a classified listing of UK Internet magazines.
Next we looked for more information, more sites, and indexed these, extending the BOTB pages, edited, corrected classifications, split out some and more. UK-list grew by adding other sections with specific lists we researched, such as local newspapers, universities and colleges and other items we felt we should attack. Many special sections such as direct search engine, news searches and the like have been worked on. Parallel work is happening on value-plus.com, the virtual library and virtual university to go with start-page, The WorldWide Library gre out of this. Next came some shopping portals and then many other club sites that will all eventually work together.
While all this was happening, the main portal design for start-page evolved, and the history of this is shown on the development - history area. Many new ideas coming forward and new improvements being created, and tested.
The friendly system concept was developed, first as a design within value-plus.com, but now made public allowing sub sites and shared information across sites and for all our sites to be able to be used within yours or anyone else's site.
While all this was happening, people told us of many more sites and Best of the Best continued to grow, as have the Internet, We decided to keep BOTB as an integral part of Start-Page and not to put all the sites we know of on to start page buttons. Instead we have decided to put on only the most useful, and allow a link to the BOTB page to allow more links to be found.
Next came the start of the topic by topic editing, and this is a huge and ever growing part of the project where you can help right now. See editors under development to see how this is done.
Will it ever be completed, we doubt it, we see it as an ever evolving project, with more being added, and a need to constantly update and check everything.
This of course can only be achieved by enthusiasts, we did not get involved in the .com bubble on the stock exchange although we had a better product and was far further forward than other ideas. A lot of the original work has by necessity had to be done by us, but from here it is down to editors to improve each section, and to add new ones.
We have advertising, however someone eventually has to pay the bills. I suppose we could have gone for a lottery grant, but what we are producing is far too useful and will benefit too many people !!!!
We could have chosen some other means, but we all accept TV advertising as a way to get quality TV, so why not use advertising to fund this as well. Most search engines and many sites do have advertising. Hopefully we will over time get advertisers to concentrate on placing their adverts where they are most relevant and then it will become a part of the resource of the system.
We also of course avoided censorship by this route where a major sponsor would have been able to have defined what you could see or in what order items were.
We haven't gone looking for sponsors, its a choice we spend time working on the project or time on finding money to pay others to work on it. We have chosen to do the work ourselves. Eventually we will get some others involved ion selling advertising, so the fact that there is not a great deal of advertising is partly because we wanted to concentrate on developing the system and partly because it still in development and we haven't got around to telling lots of people about it.