Web Entrepreneur Invests in User-Generated Adult Content Filter

SAN FRANCISCO — Entrepreneur Gary Kremen, who sold Sex.com for $12 million in 1996, has invested in a startup company behind adult content-filtering system CrowdSifter.

CrowdSifter enables adult surfers to police the Internet for content inappropriate for children by having them sign up and label images. CrowdSifter then combines the input of tens of thousands of people across the web to filter content deemed inappropriate.

“It is crucial to be audience-appropriate on the web,” Kremen said. “User content can be especially difficult to wrangle.”

CrowdSifter is the first product developed by Dolores Labs, a San Francisco-based company whose CEO, Lukas Biewald, is a former Yahoo Inc. artifical intelligence specialist. Biewald worked on automated algorithms that judge search relevance for the search engine, which gave him “first hand understanding of technology's limits in judging bad taste and obscenity,” according to a company statement.

Because CrowdSifter allows the public to judge the images, companies have more flexibility to define what appropriate means to them and their clients.

"One thing we noticed when we launched our own social network, FaceStat, is if you give someone the ability to upload content, they will eventually upload something inappropriate," said Chris Van Pelt, Dolores Labs chief technology officer.