Monday, January 23, 2006

Feature lists for News 2.0

Since that last post on "News 2.0" sites got a fair amount of feedback, perhaps people would be interested in a quick survey of features of the competitive environment for the 20 or so companies in the general area. I'd be doing this anyway as part of touching up our business plan, so I might as well share it. Part of the inspiration for this comes from a graph illustrating a story on Publish.com about Gather.com and its competitors.

LEGEND:
Associated Content
Backfence
Bayosphere
Digg
Findory
Gabbr.com
Gather.com
Google News
Inform.com
Memeorandum
MSN Newsbot
Newsvine
NowPublic
Pegasus News
Reddit
TailRank
Topix.net
Tinfinger

I'll amend this as people suggest omissions or mistakes. Note that the entries for Tinfinger are for what we have planned at launch - I'm cheating a bit, but it's my blog so I make up the rules!

U-G content
MSM content
Blog content
Visual content
Citizen J'lism
Comments
Taxonomy
Tagging
Ratings
Reputation
Voting
Algorithm
API 
Widget
RSS/ATOM
OPML
Bookmarking
Recommending
Rev. sharing 
Ad revenue
E-C revenue
Localisation
Personalisation
VC funded

A few notes on the categories:

  • U-G content - user-generated content
  • MSM content - mainstream media content
  • Visual content - this refers specifically to original pictures and video, so pictures from MSM feeds do not count
  • Citizen J'lism - citizen journalism, meaning that the user conducts original reporting instead of parroting MSM content
  • Ratings - this specifically means non-binary numeric ratings given by users, so there is no crossover with voting
  • Reputation - this refers to an explicit (probably numeric) representation of users' reputation on the site, not just a list of their actions and probably influenced by other users' ratings
  • Algorithm - what I mean by that is that stories are ranked by an equation whose variables you can't all see, so ranking by votes/comments and time doesn't count
  • Widget - this refers to a script (usually Javascript) which allows anyone to put a small amount of the site's content on an external site
  • Bookmarking - this means submitting external URLs to the site which can then be retrieved later, organised by user
  • Recommending - this refers to an algorithmic technique of including personalised links to content that is similar to other content that each user has either uploaded or bookmarked or clicked on
  • Rev. sharing - revenue sharing, meaning that some of the site's revenue is shared with its users
  • E-C revenue - electronic commerce revenue
  • VC funded - funded with venture capital

30 Comments:

Anonymous Rich Skrenta said...

Cool chart! Topix has CJ and user gen content, btw.

2:54 am, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Sean said...

The web needs more feature charts like this. Well done.

10:01 am, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Steve Rubel said...

How about RSS feeds?

10:13 am, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Good point Steve. I should also add OPML.

10:41 am, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

I just added RSS/ATOM and OPML, plus included a few widgets I missed the first time (Newsvine and TailRank).

11:00 am, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've missed News Bump

12:58 pm, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

NewsBump is a self-confessed Digg clone with about half the features. Anyway, there's no room for any more icons. :D

1:19 pm, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Orren said...

Hi Paul:

Cool chart!

A few you missed for Pegasus, as shown in our demo launch of http://TexasGigs.com:

Blog content
Visual content
Comments
Taxonomy
Tagging (not in TG, but in our full launch)
Ratings (not in TG, but in our full launch)
Algorithm (not in TG, but in our full launch)
Widget
RSS
Recommending
Revenue Sharing

Thanks! I'll be using this in meetings tomorrow ;)

1:52 pm, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Done, Mike. Good luck with everything.

2:03 pm, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Orren said...

Thanks!

2:25 pm, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Orren said...

BTW, I don't think anyone else gets a checkmark for having amazing content like this:

http://www.texasgigs.com/podcasts/texasgigs-video/2006/jan/23/interview-lazer/

3:36 pm, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

That's what "visual content" is supposed to be for, Mike. I think I'll have to add an explanation of what all the terms mean, or at least what I understand them to mean.

3:43 pm, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Orren said...

I know-- But visual content like that!? Should at least get us a check-plus...

Sorry-- was having a little fun. It's been a long day over here...

4:21 pm, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Kevin said...

TailRank has both tagging, OPML, and recommending...and personalization...

4:21 pm, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Yep Kevin, I had tagging there already.

I missed the OPML feed. Is that the one at opml.tailrank.com? That appears to be password-protected.

4:28 pm, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great way to self promote.

I love it.

A least you're actually providing value.

Cheers

Bruno

12:47 am, January 25, 2006  
Blogger Mike Tippett's Daily Blather said...

Hi Paul,

You missed NowPublic. Here are the specs:

Ad revenue y
Algorithm y
API n
Blog content y
Bookmarking y
Citizen J'lism y
Comments y
E-C revenue y
Localisation y
MSM content y
OPML n
Personalisation y
Ratings y
Recommending y
Reputation y
Rev. sharing n
RSS/ATOM y
Tagging y
Taxonomy y
U-G content y
VC funded y
Visual content y
Voting y
Widget y


Best,

Michael
NowPublic.com

6:13 am, January 25, 2006  
Anonymous Karl Prigge said...

As a devoted redditor, I feel obligated to correct you on two points:

reddit has blog content (anything that's linkable is submittable) and also has bookmarking (but it's called "save")

I also wonder whether or not quantity of features matters here, but rather the quality of the actual links on the sites -- after all, that's what I'm looking for in a "News 2.0" site... personally relevant, interesting news.

10:47 am, January 25, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Potts said...

Paul: Fantastic list and chart. You left a couple out for Backfence--we've got visual content throughout the site, and a very detailed taxonomy behind it all. We've also got tagging in our photo galleries and (somewhat behind the scenes) in our Yellow Pages. And a few more goodies coming soon!

2:20 pm, January 25, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Mike Tippett: I added NowPublic, but I'll have to respectfully disagree on a few of your claimed features, at least as far as I define them for the purpose of this chart. You haven't got a taxonomy as I define it - i.e. a hierarchical directory - you have a collection of tags. Similarly, you don't have an explicit numeric representation of reputation, nor do you have an algorithm which uses hidden variables. Also, localisation means more than just having tags for major cities.

None of that constitutes a criticism, you have a great site there which hits a lot of buttons. I love the usage of the word "footage"... perhaps you're another Gibson fan? :D

6:34 pm, January 25, 2006  
Anonymous Steve said...

That's a very handy guide, thanks.

5:55 am, January 26, 2006  
Anonymous Adrian Holovaty said...

Lawrence.com has had most of this stuff for about 2 years, although it doesn't get due credit in the geek community because it comes from a mainstream-media organization. The software Pegasus News runs for TexasGigs.com (represented here) was purchased from Lawrence.com, so Lawrence.com had all of that stuff first -- and has had it for, literally, years.

Disclaimer: I worked at Lawrence.com for 2.5 years. We made all of that with a small team and no need for VC funding.

Good luck to all news-technology startups.

2:47 am, January 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where's yahoo? they've had rss feeds for three years, rss aggregation for a year, news and blog search, ratings, bookmarking and blogs, etc...

2:56 am, January 28, 2006  
Anonymous Steve Bryant said...

Nice, I just saw this. Very cool and very helpful. Thanks for linking to my column, by the way, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

6:17 am, January 28, 2006  
Blogger Mike Tippett's Daily Blather said...

Paul, Thanks for getting us in there.

Here are a couple of corrections/clarifications about NowPublic. We actually do have a hiarchical taxonomy with respect to location. It is invisible but is working behind the scenes so that if you tag something with 'San Diego' it gets counted as part of 'California'. You can see this in action (partly) in the RSS Tracker. we used to have it displayed but people found it easier to just enter stuff free form. We parse the input and scan for location whenever you submit something to the site.

Depending on how you define reputation we do have a lot of data that is used in sorting that incorporates the rating of footage. You'll see that within each story you can rate user footage (see just above thumbnails in a story with multiple stories). This is used to rank and display member material within locations, tags etc. You're right about it not begin explicit yet but we are in the process of exposing that data.

There are a number of algorythms on the site that determine the display of popular stories within different contexts (i.e. the homepage, popular news, locations, daytime popularity, week end popularity etc.). We probably don't do a good enough job of explaining them but they are operant.

If you mean localization in linguistic terms then your are kind of right about localization. We have very few non-English posts and the site instructions and UI are all in English. Feel free to adjust the chart accordingly.

I look forward to following this conversation up with others and thanks for the great resource.

Best,

Michael Tippett,
NowPublic.com

9:07 am, January 28, 2006  
Anonymous Team Kernow said...

Hmmmmm...
We may have to suppress a titter, Michael, if you don't fix our 'issues' soon!!!

2:37 pm, March 28, 2006  
Anonymous Team Kernow said...

At first sight and on early day usage NowPublic seemed great.
Then problems emerged with logging on to edit or update stories or add new stories.
These 'issues', as yet, have not been fixed and the NowPublic administrators appear to be having difficulties responding to requests for information or assistance.

C'est un mystere!

Perhaps Michael will now attend to this and positive news will soon emerge!

Team Kernow

7:21 pm, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Olivier L said...

Is it possible to get eventually a PDF version of the chart because I'm unable to view it properly in the post.

Thank you

It looks like a very good job

10:01 pm, June 02, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Whoops, that has been fixed now for you Olivier L.

11:57 pm, June 02, 2006  
Anonymous Mimme said...

all these site look a like in my opinion. Even worse, they get copyd in other countries creating even more look-a-like sites

12:56 am, December 15, 2006  

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