update: chris mcgill has responded to some confusion caused by the initial press release. check out what he has to say.
this is a response to marshall kirkpatrick’s recent look at mixx.
when i first read that mixx had been busy making deals with mainstream news outlets such as usa today, reuters, la times, and the weather channel, i naturally assumed that the deals were similar to the one digg recently made with the wall street journal. but when dave cohn, my friend and co-worker at propeller, pointed out that the mixx deal went far beyond that, that’s when i had to take a look at the fine print.
what does the mixx deal entail?
matt marshall has broken down the details of the deal and one particular point is especially worrisome:
…times’ content will be “optimized” for searches from within the mixx site, suggesting results will be biased toward returning la times stories.
what this means is that when you search for content from within mixx, you won’t be getting the best possible results, or the socially driven or personally relevant results, but paid results from la times.
why is this bad?
this is problematic because this goes against the fundamental principle of socially driven news and the main purpose of mixx. mixx is supposed to be a response to editorially driven news, but is supposed to be better than other social news sites because of the power of it’s individual user based recommendation engine. i understand that thus far the editorially sponsored results are only in the search results, but i do feel that dave is right in pointing out that this could be a slippery slope for mixx.
for comparison purposes
in addition, i also wanted to examine some of the other points that marshall raises because i feel that people are unfairly comparing mixx to digg while they should be comparing it specifically to propeller, reddit, and stumbleupon, since realistically speaking they should be aiming for a top 5 spot (#1 not included). that said, here’s a comparison with propeller (the one that i know best out of the bunch):
- openid login system: already implemented by propeller
- off-site submission bookmarklets: these bookmarklets already exist for digg, propeller, and reddit. in the case of digg it’s not a first-party bookmarklet but the community has created one. there is also a right-click contextual menu submission plugin for firefox users (70% of digg audience).
- personal start-page: was implemented at my.netscape.com but subsequently removed because not many people were using it. upcoming site upgrade will make it redundant anyway.
- photos and videos sections: n/a
- tagging: already implemented by propeller.
- groups: coming in future propeller release.
- point-of-submission checks: propeller checks story urls and story titles at point of submission without even requiring an action from the user. furthermore, once you click check story, it shows potentially related or similar stories to compare your submission with.
- bury accountability: propeller has had bury accountability for a long time now.
- changing votes: propeller allows you to vote and un-vote as many times as you want.
mixx certainly has a good set of features, but they should really be careful in the what kinds of deals they make. if they start killing off their social aspects in favor of sponsored results, then they’re playing a completely different game. and even with the features, the community has a long way to go.
Technorati Tags: social media, social news, digg, propeller, reddit, stumbleupon, mixx