A revolutionary social network site designed to democratise online content sharing has been launched by two young women entrepreneurs from Coventry.
Mattie Rahati and Beverley Eve are the co-founders of 'VoteMyLink', which they hope will follow in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter and become a global brand. The site lets users form interest groups on almost any topic, who can share links to web content, discuss and 'vote' on it. Topics are then ranked in order of popularity on the site.
The platform was launched at the European Parliament with strong support from Coventry and Warwickshire's Lib Dem Euro MP Phil Bennion.
Co-founder Beverley Eve said: "VoteMyLInk.com is the new way to share and rank content about what matters most to you. The world is linking, this is your chance to have your say.
"We wanted to look at how people rank things they read online and bring some kind of democracy to it. Other platforms do allow people to like or dislike, vote up or vote down but we are looking at new ways to do this, giving people contextual voting statements. Each group has leaders, who are 'thought leaders' in an interest area: super-bloggers, representatives of all kinds. Groups can link up, so network communities form around shared interests."
Phil Bennion MEP said: "I think this is really exciting, the potential is massive. VoteMyLink is a bit like one of those hotel or travel sites like TripAdvisor where people can score the links they look at. The higher the score received, the higher a profile rises up the rankings.
"It should interest anyone with strong opinions who likes sharing and comparing online: bloggers, politicians, campaigners of all kinds and the public too. The web is a great democratic tool but we are swamped with material. This platform will help people make sense of it.
"My office will be setting up a group, I hope the LibDems locally will too. But the site is not just for politics, it suits anything where people have strong opinions and think hitting a facebook 'like' button is not really enough."
Mattie Rahati added: "In Coventry for instance many people have no idea what MEPs stand for. VoteMyLInk is an ideal platform for people to engage with MEPs on what they are doing, why they are there and how they are representing us.
"The European Parliament is a nest of democracy, where the catalyst could start. We could launch the site anywhere but we thought it was an ideal place. We have had a really positive reaction. It is true women are under-represented in ICT and we hope to be a role-model to help reverse that."
Phil Bennion added: "We need not just more women entrepreneurs but more young entrepreneurs. We need to encourage young people not just to look for a job but also to look seriously at going self-employed and then perhaps going on to create jobs for other people.
"We've seen a lot of websites aped by the big companies, this is always a danger but they have a good chance. Facebook started from nothing, as did youtube. These two have spotted a gap in the market, they certainly have the determination, confidence and enthusiasm to succeed."
Notes: Twitter links to VoteMyLink.com's launch event are here: #votemylinkEP pic.twitter.com/NCJ0tKWTil
A tv interview with Phil Bennion MEP on the launch is at: http://www.europeandyou.com/news/1352/8/