HotLinks Taps Bookmarks to Create Giant Internet Directory

"... HotLinks has a 'work force' of several hundred thousand category editors. Thus the HotLinks Guide at contains many links that Yahoo!, LookSmart, and the Open Directory Project do not. ...

The HotLinks Guide also has a pretty neat way of deciding which sites should bubble to the top of a given category: the percentage of users IN THAT CATEGORY who have bookmarked a site. ...

What HotLinks offers to the enterprise is a potentially more intuitive way of fostering collaboration. What it offers to the grand old Internet space we all live in is a much more scalable way of building a large or niche Internet directory with zero labor costs. And oh yes, a really neat way to save your bookmarks."

Andrew Goodman, Traffick - The Portal Portal
November 28, 2000

Working the Web

"Search for sites through this bookmark site and it will turn up links based on how highly rated a site is by other Hotlinks users. Using this service, you can set up an "Add to HotLinks" button on your browser, for easily building your collection. It's also easy to make your links private if you want to keep your links to yourself or e-mail your links to your friends if you don't."

Mike Musgrove, Washington Post
November 16, 2000

The Trouble with Search Engines

"HotLinks has a clever solution to this labor-intensive dilemma. It encourages people to manage their bookmarks through its site (or a toolbar they can download to their desktop), and compiles the best ones into its guide. For added relevancy, the sites are ranked within each topic they happen to fall under. Half a million people deciding which sites are important will beat 300 any day, no matter how dedicated those 300 may be."

Erick Schonfeld, eCompany Now
November 10, 2000

HotLinks Finds The Missing Links

"Mountain View-based HotLinks made waves last year when it was launched by former Netscape engineer Jonathan Abrams. By allowing members to save their bookmarks online and access them from any browser, Abrams sparked the creation of a massive bookmark-sharing facility; one that pooled user links together into one public directory. ...

HotLinks, unlike most online directories, has nearly completely automated its listing process. Solely through its existing users the company has amassed a database of some 50 million bookmarks. HotLinks also regularly aggregates its database in a Top 100 listing, employing but one editor to occasionally double check the directory for misplaced links or pornography. In comparison, popular portals like Yahoo! employ hundreds of editors to arrange its directory, with a mere two million or so links in its database (and a whole lot of porn)."

Jayson Matthews,
November 6, 2000

HotLinks Invites You to Help Build a Web Directory

"Big-shot Web directories such as Yahoo and LookSmart don't offer all the best sites on the Web, but the HotLinks Guide, based on recommendations from thousands of regular people, claims to do just that."

Tom Mainelli, PC World
October 20, 2000

Web Services Offer Solutions to Bookmark Overload

"This site is the largest, with 450,000 members. ... HotLinks, with a database of eight million links chosen by its members, calls itself 'the world's first people-powered directory' because its database is generated by its users, not by editors."

Julia Lawlor, New York Times
July 13, 2000

Fish Here for Facts — Search without getting caught in the tangle of the Web

"A place to find, store, access, organize, and share your bookmarks online. The HotLinks guide is a directory of member links; you tap into only those sites that the community has deemed worthy enough to bookmark."

Gina Imperato, Fast Company
June 1, 2000

Smarter Ways To Slice & Dice The Web

"HotLinks, which launched in September 1999, has built a search engine based on members' site rankings. Jonathan Abrams, the company's founder and chief technology officer, compares HotLinks to the open source software movement: "The traditional model for commerce is to be centralized. HotLinks is just letting people connect to other people," he says."

Todd Spangler, Inter@ctive Week
May 1, 2000

"Mining the market of the disenchanted search engine users are some alternative approaches to finding information that use tools other than a traditional search engine or directory. One alternative can be seen at the HotLinks Guide. ...

With over three million links, this mammoth collection of bookmarks makes for an interesting search tool. Instead of the usual database built by automated software programs crawling the Web, the HotLinks Guide offers a searchable database of the bookmarks of hundreds of other Web users."
May, 2000

Here's what Web users really want

"Careful observation of sites Web users take the time to bookmark can reveal what they really value about Web sites. More to the point, it can reveal how you can make your site more appealing, more addictive -- and more profitable.

What are Web users loyal to now? The top 10 bookmarked special-interest sites as of March, according to, hold important clues."

Annette Hamilton, ZDNet
April 18, 2000

Bookmark This Page

"How many times have you searched the Web, found a site you like, and then couldn't find it again? Most likely, often. Online search community HotLinks says its users bookmark an average of 65 Web pages to ensure a quick and easy return to their favorite sites. The firm, which tracks the bookmarking habits of more than 300,000 Net users, recently released its first list of the 100 most frequently bookmarked sites."

David Lake, Industry Standard
April 24, 2000

HotLinks Search Engine Shows Bookmarked Sites

"You know how much fun it is to get a good site referral from a friend, right? Well, what if you had a site to go to that provided you with thousands of "referrals" -- not paid advertisements, just other people's favorite sites? ... The guiding theory behind HotLinks is that we Web-surfers much prefer to visit a site if an actual human being has already checked it out and recommends we spend our free time surfing to it. ...

With the rate of members pouring into the site, it won’t be long before this type of search site replaces those confounding search engines that return 5 million documents containing the word "pool" or "golf" in them. Bookmark this one for sure!"

Patrick Welch, The Desert Sun
February 13, 2000

What's New on Search Engine Showdown

"The HotLinks Guide has launched, composed of bookmark files from its participants. Claiming over 3 million unique links, HotLinks also provides storage space for individuals' bookmark files. They can be kept private or made public. For those that are public, HotLinks offers a fascinating peek into others' bookmarking habits and choices."

Greg R. Notess, Search Engine Showdown
January 26, 2000

HotLinks: Harnessing Bookmarks For Search

"HotLinks is likely to develop into a useful tool for finding golden nuggets that larger search engines may miss."

Danny Sullivan, The Search Engine Report
January 4, 2000

Catch of the Day

"In addition to letting you make and save bookmarks, it also has a strong community angle, which reveals itself as a search engine that, instead of searching the whole Web, searches other people's public bookmarks. It turns out that the collective filtering ability of thousands of other surfers is grist for a good search engine.

As useful as this service is, though, I maintain that it would be even more useful if paired with a major destination site and its user base. My Yahoo would be more useful if one could easily store personal bookmarks on it; likewise, Yahoo's search function could benefit from a community filter."

Rafe Needleman, Red Herring
December 16, 1999

Designing More Useful Search Engines

"HotLinks, a Mountain View, Calif., start-up, has created a search engine that strikes directly at the problem, relying on the idea that what is important and valuable to people is usually what they mark for future reference. HotLinks, which launched its search engine last month, does not actually search the Web. It searches the bookmarked links and favorites that people have saved in their browsers over the years.

The theory is that these links are usually the most important Web pages people have found in their journeys across the Internet. If someone else is searching for information, chances are good that these links could be important to that person too. In essence, a bit of human judgment has been built into the HotLinks system. There is no complicated technology--just a lot of people opening their bookmarks to one another."

Ashley Dunn, Los Angeles Times
October 28, 1999

Don's Don't-Miss Sites — Marked for Life

"It makes a certain amount of sense to store your bookmarks on the Web rather than on your PC's browser if you travel often or if you have several people in your house (or office) sharing the same computer. ... HotLinks is promising not just a personal account for your bookmarks but also a sort of Yahoo!-like group consensus directory of the best sites on every subject. They'll be ranked by popularity, so if you're looking up the World Wrestling Federation, you'll see a list of links that wrestling fans have determined are the most useful. ... Nice job."

Don Willmott, PC Magazine
October 20, 1999

Share Links Lists With Strangers

"HotLinks shares knowledge with registered users and site visitors by compiling the Personal HotLinks its members have gathered and making that data searchable. ...

Soon the site will introduce the HotLinks Guide, a directory of link information that uses special patent-pending software to compile and assign HotLinks popularity rankings to links of common search subjects. As the number of users grows, more links appear, and the HotLinks Guide becomes more useful. The company likens itself to the mother of all directories, Yahoo. But instead of a small staff of experts picking sites, the service's users "vote" by adding sites to their own lists."

Tom Mainelli, PC World
September 29, 1999

HotLinks Brings Creative New Site and Service to the Web

"Jonathan Abrams clearly spent a lot of time thinking up some very creative approaches to building a new Web site with a very innovative twist and tons of fascinating internal synergy. It has become a very competitive world out there in Cyberspace with thousands of sites vying for the attention of some 70+ million regular Web surfers. HotLinks, in my opinion, has a far better chance than most aspirants to become a major site able to attract and hold a big slice of those surfers."

William F. Zachmann, Zachmann Letter
September 17, 1999