Q&A: Rowntree on ‘Ethical’ Porn Search Engine Boodigo.com
CONCORD, Mass. — Boodigo.com is quickly finding fans.
So far, in its first few days, the adult search engine has racked up more than 1 million unique visitors and one of its founders, Colin Rowntree, hasn't stopped giving interviews to the numerous mainstream media outlets that have approached him.
Boodigo isn’t the first search engine designed exclusively for porn (there have been others that delved into porn searches, including Search.xxx — reserved only for .xxx searches — and Booble.com, among others).
But it has found a hook in marketing itself as a search engine for the ethical porn fan, directing surfers to the genuine sites of performers and paysites in a secure, private and anonymous environment with no tracking, registration or cookies.
Boodigo, like Search.xxx's commitment, also proactively eliminates sites from its responses that are known security threats, distributors of malware or perpetrators of fraud, and works with rights holders to ensure that unlicensed and illegal copies of their creative works are not found in the search results.
XBIZ on Wednesday chatted with Rowntree, the longtime operator and founder of BDSM site Wasteland.com, to find out more about how his new project, Boodigo, got its start and his inspirations to rope in porn fans searching on the web.
XBIZ: What's the inspiration behind Boodigo?
ROWNTREE: People in adult — studios, websites, etc. — have been getting pretty fed up with this whole ghettoizing of adult from mainstreaming search.
If you search for an adult term on Google, for instance, you are probably going to get a Wikipedia article, an Urban Dictionary article and two pages of Cosmo and Ladies Home Journal on how to give a better blowjob so your boyfriend doesn't dump you before you get to the actual content. Adult terms are being pushed out of Google, Bing, Tumbler and everywhere else.
Another motivation in developing the site was that if you go search for something you just get crap results, specifically on Bing for instance — anything from bestiality to links to malware sites ... that just didn't seem right.
So that was another piece of the equation: to clean it up and focus on the old adult sites with real content and none of the crap.
And the third leg of the little milking stool is that we, like others, are sick of getting our data mined ... by Google and Bing. Getting tracked with our surfing behavior, search words and our gmail accounts, and then we are force-fed with ads. Surfers don't appreciate that, particularly when they are looking for porn. Then there is the whole PRISM surveillance program. Yahoo has given the NSA instance access to archived cookies and keyword searches of their users.
So we made this decision to make this [search engine] so that it never sets a cookie, doesn't track your ID. You come, you search for what you want and we provide good quality results to quality sites. If you type in Hustler, you're going to get Hustler; if its Jiz Lee or Alexis Texas or something like that, you'll get Jiz Lee or Alexis Texas — not 150 tube sites with stolen content on top of them.
XBIZ: How did you come up with the name?
ROWNTREE: Between Angie and our crew at Wasteland and Sssh.com, and they are partners in this project, we came up with 12 short names — easy to say, spell and not infringing on other trade names or brands or whatever. The [Sssh] crew came up with Boodigo — it means nothing. But neither does Viagra. It's like a made-up word. Boodigo sounds kind of catchy and cool.
XBIZ: How long did it take to develop Boodigo?
ROWNTREE: It began about a year and half ago with a developer we have worked with for three years — a company called "0x7a69." Several refugees from Google who were sick of all of the data mining and questionable ethics came over to our developer to hand code the software and algorithms to do this.
With the algorithms we looked for quality sites, and we avoided pitfalls of stolen sites and illegal tubes and file-sharing sites — they are completely banned. These guys wrote every line code from the bottom up on this thing and they began spidering six months ago.
And then they crawled, crawled, and then we went through the first half-million of results and then the second birthing process started weighting things.
XBIZ: You've added a feature that offers Tumblr organic searches. What is that all about?
ROWNTREE: One thing we asked ourselves was, why does Tumblr have its own thing? In our soft launch six months ago, we found that Tumblr had page after page of results just for porn on it. So we created a thing that allows a way to find porn just on Tumblr through organic searches. The windfall came after Tumblr stopped internal searches for adult words recently. There's not a hair on Tumblr.
XBIZ: How about pirated content that ends up in searches to external sites? How will Boodigo deal with that?
ROWNTREE: There is a very standard report button. We are pretty good about spotting things that should not be there, but rights holders can easily report it. If 2257 is involved, just boom — report it.
XBIZ: Let's hear about how this site is going to be monetized?
ROWNTREE: We've already built out our ad program, sort of like AdWords, for producers, webmasters and programmers so that they can purchase through a bidding process on keywords.
I thought it would take a long time to propagate enough traffic for people to spend but money on it, but in the last 24 hours we've had more than 1 million uniques.
XBIZ: How are surfers finding out about Boodigo?
ROWNTREE: We launched 36 hours ago and sent out a press release, and I have gone through 14 interviews in the last 24 hours. The mainstream media is liking it because it is the antithesis of Google data mining. Cosmo said it well: It is really nice to go to a site where you don't have the data being pulled out of the back end.