What Social News Can’t Do…Yet

Social news may be revolutionizing content aggregation, but there are some things it has yet to master. Here are some types of content and methods of aggregation that have proved clumsy or non-existent on social news sites. Some of these niches are being tackled by new comers and some are just waiting for one of the big players to pluck them.

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Is the Future of Social News Automated?


Michael Arrington has an exclusive review on Spotplex, a new site which he asserts could become as popular a news portal as Digg if it evolves properly. From a Digg user’s point of view, Spotplex is a site that takes all the work out of social news. Users don’t need to submit, vote or comment on content. In fact, they don’t even need to register. Just visit a page that has Spotplex’s javascript code embedded and it will register a “vote” from your page view, driving the content’s rank up on the site. This begs the question: is the future of social news automated?

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I bought votes on Digg

“I bought votes on Digg” Not me but this report from Wired where the reporter created a boring blog and paid User/Submitted to digg her blog. It’s worth a read, especially so that the boring blog became part of the popular list.

It’s funny also that people are digging this story in Digg itself. [Wired]

Warning: Politics Can Get Messy on Digg

Recently a conservative blog called Little Green Footballs voiced their displeasure with Digg’s “mob rule”, claiming that they are falling victim to left-wing diggers. If you set aside the partisan politics, there is actually a lot to learn from the situation surrounding this particular site on Digg. It brings to light some common misconceptions about Digg as well as problems that need solving.

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What Digg’s UnBanning Doesn’t Address

Digg has recently unbanned a host of domains, and a list of them can be found over at at ProNet Advertising. But what does this mean? Mike Arrington had a chat with Kevin Rose, and he surmises its because Digg is getting “better” at preventing grouping behaviour. That is —

The changes they’ve made to Digg over the last few months, Rose says, allow them to monitor grouping behavior and stop it before it can drive a story to the home page. Thus, there is no real need to ban any particular site from Digg. They are confident that if a story from a previously banned site makes it to the home page, it deserves to be there.

I’ve been following this sort of phenomenon at Digg with a keen interest for some time. Kevin Rose has made a good move in addressing the banning process. But there’s one thing it doesn’t address.

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Killer Pipes for Social News

A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo! launched Pipes, a GUI that makes remixing and mashing up RSS feeds fun and easy to do. Since Pipes uses RSS data for input and output right now, the applications for social news are limited by the RSS features of the sites. The more RSS features they have, the more you can do with them in Pipes. That being said, there are a number of ways you can use Pipes to streamline your social news RSS subscriptions.

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How To Monetize DIGG Traffic Immediately

It’s been a long-held belief that the benefits of the DIGG effect are not usually seen in the short term. For one, most of the DIGG crowd are tech-savvy, and they are not likely to click on your ads (if you primarily earn from CPC advertising programs like AdSense). Secondly, the immediate outcome of the DIGG effect–say you’re frontpaged–is that your server will be hit with severe spikes in traffic. If your web host cannot handle it, then be prepared to see at least half a day’s downtime. If your server can handle the load, you’re most likely going to face some bandwidth surcharges if usage goes beyond your allocation. So usually the net effect is negative–at least in the short term.

The benefits of repeated frontpaging in DIGG, meanwhile, are mostly longer-term, since these involve an increase in mindshare of your site and enhanced credibility (this is mostly based on perception, after all). These will ultimately bring in good traffic, who are likely to be good targets for direct advertising, and probably CPC, too.

But here’s one instance where the DIGG effect can be monetized almost immediately after getting DUGG. Ahmed–whom I know to be very analytical about DIGG and other social news outfits–shares his observations at Tech Soapbox. [Read more…]

Transparency in Social News

The principle of transparency is regarded by many to be necessary in a successful democracy. Every day, people are demanding more transparency out of the media, business and government. Socially driven news sites are a step in that direction. They offer a level playing field where users come to edit news democratically. What role does transparency play in the users’ actions on these sites?

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