November 1, 2007
coRank is a site where anyone can create their own social news site. Kind of like a Blogger for creating Digg-like sites instead of blogs. Well, you can also create sites that have little to do with Digg, but the Digg-cloning feature seems to be one of the most widely used.
Meneame is the most popular Digg clone in the Spanish speaking world, with many stories reaching hundreds of meneos (the Meneame equivalent to diggs), something unusual for 99.9% of all Digg-like sites out there. Also, it was released as Open Source, which in fact was the foundation of a project you may be more familiar with: Pligg. In other words, Pligg originally used Meneame’s open source.
Both stories came from the same source, backed up by some solid facts that unfortunately have to be kept under the rug. Regardless, after some further investigation, where my High School Spanish came in very helpful by the way (I asked for help from my friend Pablo anyway) there were some more indications that the tip was right on the money.
Regarding Meneame, it has been publicly, but not officially, confirmed by their founders that they’re having talks with Digg. Ricardo Galli, co-founder of Meneame, was caugh here saying (in Spanish, loose translation follows):
… we are trying to find a collaboration point with Digg. Martin has already met twice with them. So far it seems there is mutual interest but there are some long and hard meetings pending.
Benjami Villoslada (the other Meneame co-founder) leaves no doubt when he later goes (again in Spanish):
Early September they already told us they were interested in Meneame
Thanks guys! That’s all we needed to know! Acquiring Meneame would be the first known international attempt by Digg to reach a non-English audience, and it’s clear that Digg is thinking about moving in that direction.
As for coRank, we were not able to catch any loose comment from them as straight forward as those from the Meneame guys, and an email sent to them went unanswered, but we did find this (again, original is in Spanish) from coRank founder RBA:
Today I had a chance to chat with Kevin Rose. I don’t think is prudent to comment what we talked regarding Digg’s future plans, but if I could put it in one word, that would be “holy shiiiit!”
Now, that statement proves nothing other than RBA and Kevin had a chance to chat, something they could do in the hallways of a conference, and we don’t know if that “holy shit” was because RBA was so excited from the prospect of being acquired, because what he and Kevin talked about scared the shit out of him, or because he simply loved Digg’s future plans.
However, this also makes a lot of sense, especially considering the recent Jay Aldelson’s declarations to The Guardian regarding the possibility of a Digg white-labeling. Despite Jay tried hard to be as vague as possible, it’s clear that Digg is definitely looking into this space, and right now the only company allowing people to do their own “Diggs” is coRank (there is Pligg, but that’s an Open Source package, not a service being offered by a company).
Now if I were coRank I would be careful. While an acquisition does make sense, it also seems logical that Digg attempts getting into this space going solo, in which case Digg might just be learning from coRank’s experience.
Bottom line: Companies talk to each other all the time, and Digg might be talking to another 10 or 20 companies at this time. So what? The main reason we believe this is significant is not by speculating that Digg might acquire such or such company, but because these talks do confirm that Digg is interested both, in going international and in getting into the white label arena. And that is significant.
Today was the day the blogosphere – well, at least a small part of it – talked about Publish2, a site that has not launched yet (why do people keep doing that?) but that, in the words Scott Karp (the founder), it “will create the ultimate consumer news service by networking journalists’ news intelligence“.
You cannot blame Scott for making such statement. What would you want him to say? We’re going to give it a shot and see what happens? Well, perhaps. Yours truly is a believer that the hype that really works is the one that comes from the consumers. But that’s not really important.
What caught my attention was that at some point Scott is presenting his project as yet another “solution” to the “problems” surrounding Digg. Does that ring the bell? Thoof, coRank, Spotplex, to-be-launched Streamy and a ton of other sites have, at some point or another put on the table the same proposition
Scott ‘s had some sour grapes with Digg, or better said, with Digg’s hype. And he’s not alone. But what’s wrong with Digg anyway that everyone’s trying to “fix” the model? I’ll tell you. There’s nothing wrong with it. It serves its community quite well. Yes, people cry about a pictures section and what not, but we’re talking about the model here, not bells and whistles.
Now, if you’re not part of that community bu would love to get your wonderful story or project in the front page, then you struggle and start to see “problems”. But you see? Those are your problems, not those of the people who genuinely use and enjoy Digg every day.
Anyway, let’s talk some more about that some other day. Back to Scott’s words, he claims that Publish2 will extend the “social news” model to “every topic and every niche“. Somehow I don’t think it will (bear in mind I’m only going for what’s been written about it). The only models that I see doing that are Topix.net and the likes of Drupal, Pligg and coRank.
Why? First, Topix brings the news and let people democratize them, at any imaginable level. Just look at this. If that doesn’t cover topics and niches, I don’t know what does!
And coRank/Pligg/Drupal, although geeks tend to talk them down as stupid Digg clones, they let people create their own social news space about, quoting Scott, “every topic and every niche”. Now, to me, that’s social.
Will Publish2 succeed? It might, why not? Will it deliver on the promises being made now. Unlikely. Not only it needs to attract enough quality journalists, it then needs to appeal to the masses. Two hurdles that aren’t easy to overcome. We’ll be watching.