CEO Nathan Shuchami tells EM how he plans to bring International Curated Content to the US.

Webflakes CEO

Webflakes is an interesting new project. The goal of the site is to provide a better selection of curated content to American audiences. They do this by hand selecting popular international bloggers and translating their content into English. I recently had conversation with Webflakes CEO Nathan Shuchami. Nathan has over 20 years of experience in executive and CEO positions.

Prior to Webflakes, Nathan was the CEO and co-founder of Sentrigo Inc., a database security leader, which was acquired by McAfee Inc., an Intel subsidiary in April of 2011. After joining McAfee, Nathan served as a vice president of database security solutions with McAfee.   Prior to founding  Sentrigo, Nathan held several sales and business development positions as a vice president with Blue Security Inc and Enigma Inc.

Can you talk a little bit about what you do at Webflakes? 

I oversee all the activities with the company including:  funding, workplans, and making sure the company is meeting their objectives.

So you would describe yourself a hands-on CEO?

Yes, definitely.

Can you talk a bit about where the idea for Webflakes came from and what it is?

My partner and myself came to the conclusion that there wasn’t enough international content made available because of the language barrier. If I were looking for an article on wine, more than likely I’d be getting articles from US.  We are currently focusing on the lifestyle category.  We are covering French, Spanish, Swiss, and Japanese. We are working with a group of volunteer translators who can take foreign content and translate it to an American audience.

What is your process for identifying experts?

We have language experts who scout/search the Internet for quality blogs and content that fit our criteria.  For example, it is very important that the content is updated at least twice a week.  Some of our Wine writers are considered experts within their countries and work in prominent restaurants.

What is your deal structure?

The agreement that we have with bloggers is based on their desire for extra exposure.  The main advantage for them is that we’re opening up a brand new market for these people.  When or if we start monetizing this content we will start a revenue share program. At the moment we’re establishing the content and presence.

The obvious question, from the perspective of an American blogger is, will you eventually go the other way and translate American blogs to other languages?

Once we are successful in making foreign content available to English customers, we plan on doing the reverse for American Bloggers and localizing content.

How many translators do you currently have?

We now have more than 300 volunteer translators, since our launch in May. Our plan is to increase the number of folks.

Do you have a way of vetting translators?

Absolutely, the way it works, for every language we have experts on our team.  The quality of the translator is very important.  As part of the process every article goes through two sets of eyes.  So far all of the bilingual translators have been doing a very good job.  At Webflakes we have partnered with several charities as well. When a translator registers to become part of our community we donate $1 for every translation to a charity of their choice.

What motivates people to become volunteer translators?

The volunteer phenomena is not unique to us, if you look at the Open Source world people who are programmers work on projects all the time. We found that a lot of bilingual people are proud of their language and like to translate articles in areas that they are interested in.  It also lets people showcase their work.

What makes your service different than machine translators like Google Translate?

The nature of the content that we’re focusing on doesn’t really work that well with machine based translators. The author’s voice gets frequently gets lost. So by using real people we can maintain the integrity and intent of the blogger.

How many people work for your company?

We have 20 people on staff and a community of 300 translators and 65 bloggers working with us.

How are you going about marketing your services?

We’re investing in various avenues including PR and investing heavily in Social media. We are also collaborating with other websites on content agreements.

Can you leave us a pearl of wisdom?

The web contains a lot of information, however, it doesn’t mean that it easy for people to find and access it. We believe Webflakes will become a valuable tool to make this available to millions of readers around the world.