A new trend in the Web 2.0 environment is search engines and home pages that encompass many popular Web sites into one platform. Some search engines are more specific to particular needs, such as competing travel and music Web sites. 43marks.com's attempt at this integrates many diverse and popular search categories, resulting in a comprehensive home page that really saves time and effort. 43marks is organized into 12 categories: email, social, video, photo, movies, music, information, banks, travel, shopping, games, and dating. Within each category are the 6 most popular Web sites within each category. For example, the movies category includes Netflix, Blockbuster, Internet Movie Database, Moviefone, Fandango, Allmovie, and Fye.
43marks users also have the ability to customize which Web sites that should be included in each category, thereby tailoring the home page to each user’s specific interests. Executing this ability is surprisingly intuitive. For example, 43marks’ default categories do not include sports. After setting up an account, I was able to add sports—and my most visited sports pages—almost immediately and without trouble. The bookmarks were very simple to add and amend, along with the look and feel of each category.
43marks is a very convenient starting point for Internet surfing. There are no videos or headlines on the home page to distract the user, which may be a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, users are not given related information that may interest them on the basis of their past searches. Such personalization technology is currently being developed by Yahoo—with limited success. On the other hand, efficiency is optimized because the user’s most-popular Web sites are integrated into a single interface, which saves time that could be used on other projects.
Many iterations of this idea are currently being developed, with no clear home page that stands out from the rest. Only time will tell whether the Houston-based 43marks will, pardon the pun, make its mark.