Quotables launches as a Delicious-for-quotations but with CafePress revenue model

Quotables, which soft launched in August, is aiming to become the destination for finding and sharing quotations online by embracing social media and crowdsourcing to organise its, largely, user generated database of quotes and to weed out misquotations and misattributions. The Glasgow, Scotland-based startup is backed by Channel 4 and the Arts Council England, while the site itself was built by Mint Digital.

A sort of social take on the traditional quotations dictionary, adding a quote can be done manually or via the newly introduced ‘bookmarket’, which lets a user highlight a passage of text on any website and with one-click add it to Quotables, along with attribution and a link back to the original source. It’s fun and quick, as well as being potentially useful for recording those little gems of wisdom or idiocy online.

Additionally, quotes can be tagged and curated through the creation of lists. In many respects, Quotables can be thought of as a Delicious for quotations, which brings us to the thorny issue of how the site plans to actually make money.

Clearly aiming for scale, Quotables says it wants to become the “most authoritative online resource for quotations” – that’s a direct quote – although its revenue model might not be quite so scalable (or ambitious). The startup says it has plans to create an on-demand merchandising operation, which I’m presuming involves letting users order things like t-shirts, mugs, mouse mats and that sort of thing (a la CafePress) with custom printing based on quotes pulled from Quotables’ database. That’s certainly a nice idea but whether or not it’s a potential cash cow, I’m not so sure.

In addition, the company says it’s exploring media partnerships and in particular is planning on extending its existing integration with Channel 4.