Just after midnight, the online search engine RushmoreDrive.com was officially launched into cyberspace. Its goal is to become the premiere search engine for the Web’s black community. The site is a venture by Black Web Enterprises, a company owned by IAC, the $6 billion giant behind Match.com and Ask.com, among others. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, RushmoreDrive.com promises to deliver an unparalleled digital experience by combining mainstream search results with those tailored to black audiences, which includes African Americans, Afro-Latinos, Caribbean-Americans, and others of African heritage.
The idea for the search engine, BWE’s flagship product, is the vision of Johnny Taylor, who was appointed president and CEO of BWE, and his executive team. “I wanted to do something for our community,” says Taylor, a former IAC human resources executive. The Florida native says he wanted to design an online vehicle that addresses and delivers specific information related to the needs of black Web users.
IAC announced the creation of BWE in April 2007. By September 2007, Taylor and his 35-member international team had begun creating and assembling the technologies that would give birth to RushmoreDrive.com. Taylor’s first major undertaking was to meet with technologists to find out if there was a way to compartmentalize certain portions of the Web. The goal was for users to be able to locate an aggregated amount of information based on the relevance of the search to the user as opposed to a search based on the size and scope of the entire Web.
The design work on RushmoreDrive.com was completed this past March. It represents a multi-layered solution to some of the initial questions that Taylor had when the search engine just a concept. Instead of mimicking other search engines, RushmoreDrive.com employs a patent-pending technology which enables the search engine to identify sites with heavy online traffic from black users and elevate relevant information in the way in which it is listed. The search engine also has several additional features including a job search component and a news portion that presents several points of view on current events coming from black media sources and outlets.
Taylor realizes RushmoreDrive.com is undertaking a massive task by attempting to encompass the digital cultural palette of the black community. To help achieve its objective, the site has partnered with a number of key organizations, including the National Urban League, the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“This is a new kind of search,” Taylor says. “[RushmoreDrive.com]…is an identity search. We don’t need to be segregated. If I can deliver knowledge then we [can be] in a whole different place. We need to be counted. We can create a worldwide presence for black people.”