Template:Redirect Template:Infobox Dotcom company AboutUs.org is a wiki Internet domain directory. It lists websites along with information about their content. As a wiki, AboutUs allows Internet users to add entries or modify information.
Ray King created AboutUs with a staff of five people in Portland, Oregon, United States. The staff has since expanded to more than thirty people and two continents with an office in Lahore, Pakistan. In May 2007, Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki, joined AboutUs as its chief technology officer.
Website contents[edit | edit source]
There are more than ten million entries on AboutUs.org as of March 2008, and new pages are added at a rate of about 25,000 a day.  Most entries were created by a web robot (bot); web searches by users direct the bot to create a page for a web domain. In many cases the content is simply a republication of the contents of the "About us", "About me", or similar page on the website. Such pages typically describe the entity that owns the site, and may include self-promotional information, which AboutUs.org does not restrict. In many other cases the content of an entry consists of the whois data for the website.
Data use[edit | edit source]
Some websites that analyze domains and traffic link to AboutUs.org as a point of additional reference. Notably, the "Whois" site DomainTools now references the Aboutus.org listing along with standard server information, domain ownership and history, and additional data. AboutUs has also referenced whois data content from the registrars Network Solutions and Register.com.
Malware domains[edit | edit source]
To prevent users from visiting malware domains, editors work with McAfee SiteAdvisor and PHSDL to identify such domains. Once a malware domain is identified, an AboutUs MalwareSite template is placed to warn users.
Criticisms[edit | edit source]
Some website owners object to the publication of the contact information for the website owner or domain name registrant. Although this information is publicly available from other sources, AboutUs makes it available in a searchable format, making it more easily accessible to the public. AboutUs has responded to this criticism by discontinuing its former practice of rendering phone numbers in text format, and by rendering the phone number of the registrant in an image format instead unless it is an older entry, in which case these numbers will still be rendered in plain text. However, other personal information, including names and addresses, are still displayed in plain text, making them available to anyone, including bots, without the express permission of the site owner.
Website owners have also reacted negatively to the AboutUs practice of republishing copyrighted contents from 'about us' pages. AboutUs.org takes an image and sampling of random text and republishes it. AboutUs.org rationalizes this practice by saying Google and Alexa do the same thing, by extracting a part of a website for publishing in a search. In this regard, AboutUs.org is a good example of a Web Scraper because material is copied from existing websites in order to generate content for the harvesting site. This initial method of populating its pages does not constitute a Wiki because this data is not being manually entered. This kind of automation can lead to plagiarism and legal issues with regard to breaking the terms and conditions of harvested sites.
Funding[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Marshall Kilpatrick, "AboutUs: A Wiki About Every Website," TechCrunch, 11/14/2006.
- "AboutUs.org gets $1 million funding - excuse me?," CenterNetworks weblog entry, 11/14/2006.
- "AboutUs Launches a Business Plan; I'm Still Not Sold," CenterNetworks weblog entry, 01/10/2008
- "AboutUs.org - Is it Ethical?," Ajay - On the Road called Life! webblog entry, August 25, 2006.
- Information Week article from 2007-01-27
- AboutUs pagecount tops 11 million AboutUs.org weblog
- Template:Cite news
- Network Solutions and Register.com join AboutUs.org project
- McAfee Siteadvisor.com
- PHSDL - Project Honeypot Spam Domains List
- AboutUs Template:MalwareSite
- Aliza Earnshaw, "Startup hits the money with biz wiki", Portland Business Journal, November 10, 2006