Want to find a good sushi spot in Santa Monica? Yelp has you covered. Looking for the best beach resort in Maui? You’ll probably start your search on online travel portal TripAdvisor.

But what if you’re seeking online ratings not related to restaurants or hotels? The folks at Ranker want their site to be your Internet source, whether you’re trying to figure out the best dressing to serve with your salad or need help choosing a new rolling suitcase for a business trip.

The company’s founder, Clark Benson, describes the site as a “Yelp for everything else” that allows users to make lists that rank anything from breakfast cereals to TV sitcoms. It combines these crowdsourced votes into “Ultimate Lists” that could be used to settle bar arguments or help determine what movie you want to watch tonight.

Ranker recently moved into the top 200 Internet sites ranked by visits, with a monthly audience of more than 7.5 million. The company employs 24 people at its L.A. office and Benson plans to fill six more positions soon. Ranker just moved from an eighth-floor suite to take all of the fifth floor of a Miracle Mile high-rise.

Benson, who describes himself as a list fanatic, saw a void in the market for a site that ranks things outside of food and lodging. He had sold an earlier L.A. Internet business, eCrush, to Hearst Corp. in New York in 2006, and seeded his latest venture with $1 million of his

own money.

Ranker launched in 2009 but grew slowly until Benson made the decision to allow casual visitors to vote on lists without having to register or log in to the site.

“That changed everything,” he said.

– Matt Pressberg

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.