The Internet Knows HowJune 28, 2008 7:44 pm Internet, News, Stuff, Technology, Videos
Terri Rossman considers herself a visual learner. So when the 52-year-old marketing professional wanted to learn a new knitting stitch, she turned to the Web.
“I searched for ‘knit bobble stitch’ on Google and I found a video of someone doing it,” said Rossman, who lives in the Detroit area. “It was perfect for me.”
The Web has become the place where people go to learn new tricks. Traffic to sites likeeHow.com and WikiHow.com have doubled over the past year, according to figures from ComScore Networks, while start-ups such as Howcast.com and Findhow.com, a search engine to find “how-to” content, are entering the field.
Want to learn how to count cards at a blackjack table? Go to eHow. Interested in dating a flight attendant? Howcast has a video with some advice. Want to create the cat-eye look favored by singer Amy Winehouse? Several videos on YouTube can help.
“I saw with Google and then YouTube that people are really searching for this stuff,” said Jason Liebman, cofounder and chief executive of Howcast, which has been in development for a year and recently opened for visitors. “But no one was showing you to flirt with a girl or swaddle a baby.”
Liebman, who worked at Google Video and then YouTube, has raised US$9 million in funding for Howcast. The site produces its own videos and also pays people to create videos. Like other sites of its kind, it plans to generate revenue through.
The variety and quality of how-to content can vary across the Web. Howcast offers only videos, while WikiHow, a site where anyone can contribute, largely offers text-based guides. At eHow, which encourages community through its social networking tools, the content is a mix of professionally produced material and user-created items.