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After opening up its content marketing platform earlier this year, InPowered is taking the next logical step in its effort to help marketers make sense of the plethora of online content about their companies.

The company is today launching its new Expert Ranking platform, which automatically ranks writers based on the content they produce online. The platform finds specific stories and even highlights key quotes from those writers, which you can then promote across major ad networks and social channels.

“We wanted to focus on trusted content, but the challenge has always been on who to trust,” InPowered co-founder and CEO Peyman Nilforoush told VentureBeat in an interview.

Peyman, along with his brother and co-founder Pirouz, grew up in Iran where, he says, they had little access to information they could trust. With InPowered and his previous company, NetShelter, he’s focused on surfacing useful and trustworthy content for marketers and consumers alike. The brothers sold NetShelter to Ziff Davis in 2011 and spun out InPowered as a separate company with $26 million in venture funding.

Instead of trying to push their own content to consumers, which is inherently less trustworthy than unbiased third-party coverage, InPowered lets marketers find and promote the best content written around their brands. Its new Expert Ranking adds another layer to its platform, allowing companies to not only discover the best content, but also to find the best writers within their industry.

“Influence and scoring people has been around for a long time, but it’s really been focused on how people drive action,” Nilforoush said. “What we’re trying to do is explore this notion of how people react to your knowledge based on your true expertise. That matters for a brand significantly, based on our recent Nielsen study, because consumers are looking for information that they trust.”

InPowered bases its expert rankings on three things: depth, consistency, and validation. Someone who writes long articles frequently, which are then promoted by others across social channels, would likely rank high on the expertise list. The company has also spent the past two years analyzing content, so it’s not just judging writers based on their recent output.

In my brief testing of an early build of the ranking platform, InPowered managed to find many writers I’d consider experts on specific tech companies and products. There are definitely some kinks to work out though: Some of the expert choices seem downright baffling (a Minor League Baseball expert also shows up when searching for Apple experts); and there are still issues identifying some companies and products (Jawbone shows up as “Jaw” for some reason).

Once the launch wrinkles are ironed out though, I could easily see marketers flocking to InPowered. Since opening up its platform in March, the company has seen more than 10,000 marketers sign up, and those marketers have pushed content to around 5.9 million people, Nilforoush said. Its current clients include Disney, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, and a major movie studio.

Eventually, InPowered could use its platform to highlight content for consumers as well. Think of a future Digg-clone that highlights stories based on semantic analysis rather than just user votes.


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