Searching for Success
A Charlotte-based company offers a unique Web experience to black users
Johnny Taylor Jr. is a passionate man. So passionate that he convinced his company, Internet giant InterActive Corp., to launch RushmoreDrive.com—a search engine for black users around the world that debuted in April. Like other search engines, RushmoreDrive.com combs the Web for a wide range of information, but returns search results based on the cultural identities of black people mixed with mainstream data. Taylor, a thirty-nine-year-old Florida native, serves as CEO for Black Web Enterprises Inc., the Charlotte-based IAC division that houses RushmoreDrive.com. Taylor tells us why there's a need for a search engine like this, who's using it, and what's to come.
Why a search engine for black Web users?
Sure, you've seen Google, but there was no one who'd ever crawled the World Wide Web for the black community.
How do you ensure that RushmoreDrive.com's search results aren't stereotypical?
We give you mainstream and black search results. There is no trade off when you come to RushmoreDrive.com as a black person. You're not saying, "I'm going to go to Google and then RushmoreDrive.com for all things ‘black.' " You get both. What's beautiful about the technology…is that it's not a "black technology," it's called "identity search."
Some say the site is exclusionary.
There are people who are of the belief that we don't need anything targeted. And I've said to them, there's MTV and we still created BET. There is a Sports Illustrated that focuses on men's interest, and not exclusively, because there are women who like Sports Illustrated, and there's a Martha Stewart magazine. Oprah targeted women. There's nothing wrong with serving up to a particular segment of the population what it wants.
Why the name RushmoreDrive.com?
We spent months looking for a name. And out of pure exasperation one day, I looked out the window and asked myself what are we going to name this place? And I said to my team, "What are we intending to be?" And they said, "The place, the online home, for the black community to search." And the sign "Rushmore Drive," was right in front of my face. And I literally turned around and said, "That's it, it's easy to spell and it's just simple." And the name was available and we were off to the races.