Australia's Internet censorship legislation may have caused us to be branded the global village idiot, but for local Internet company iSeek it has opened up a raft of new opportunities.
Last week the developer launched a new Internet search engine, coupled with US developer N2H2's filtering technology, into its traditional education market. "Our relationship with N2H2 goes back to June last year and we have shown them we have a strong commitment to the Australian, New Zealand and Asian markets," said Jason Gomersall, managing director of iSeek.
Claiming to have been involved in the market before Federal Government legislation put the whole issue of censorship in the spotlight, iSeek's commitment was rewarded with an exclusive, nine-year licence for N2H2's filtering technology in the Asia-Pacific region.iSeek also partnered with Inktomi for the search database element of the new offering and LookSmart for the directory system. "Basically we combine all the technology and then clean up the service," said Gomersall, who also outlined iSeek's role in connecting people to the search engine. "We develop things like client products so that home users can have access to our filtered services."iSeek's new technology package focuses on the education sector, with iSeek recently securing the lucrative SchoolNet contract, boosting its client base to include the 3500 schools connected through Telstra's Internet services program. "We targeted SchoolNet as a key player in the education arena," said Gomersall. "We came into the filtering marketplace before the censorship legislation was put on the table and a lot of people in markets such as education, government and corporate, as well as consumers came on board voluntarily. So our technology was always in demand and we developed it before all the hype."
However, the Brisbane-based developer anticipates the compulsory censorship will move it into new market segments, including the provision of filtering technology and services to ISPs. "This is a best-of-breed solution that is the market leader in the US. This means in Australia we will be in a good position to participate in the market and ISPs are definitely taking a closer look at filtering technology."
Gomersall believes iSeek's search engine and filtering capabilities are one of a kind in the regional market, a position many ISPs and content-conscious markets will appreciate in light of the proliferation of the Internet.
"iSeek can differentiate itself from the competition because it is an exclusion-based filtering system that is powered by a database. That database includes over 12 million sites that are initially checked by people and is then updated every 24 hours."iSeek avoids the more traditional method of keyword searches, which Gomersall suggests are inaccurate because of lack of human intervention.iSeekEstablished in September 1998Core products include Internet filtering technology and software, e-commerce solutions, search portal products and data servicesBased in Brisbane with a national presence throughout AustraliaSeven full-time staff