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NewsCred Launches Cross-Web Newspaper With “Credibility” Indexing
NewsCred is a new cross-web newspaper site launching today in beta. What makes NewsCred different from the other "breaking news" sites like Digg, Slashdot, Techmeme, etc. is that NewsCred uses a credibility algorithm for indexing the sources and determining what should rise to the top. Currently the site lists about 100 news sources.
I spoke with NewsCred co-founder Shafqat and I asked him how he describes NewsCred. He replied, "NewsCred is a digital newspaper that will give you all the world’s credible news in one place. We aggregate news from hundreds of mainstream media sources, as well as established blogs, and let our users personalize their digital newspaper within seconds, without any fuss. Our community votes on the credibility of articles, authors and news sources. Our algorithms analyze this data, and unlike other social news sites, we use the data to present the news based on quality, not popularity. The credibility data that we collects is an essential metric for measuring the quality of a new source, and the journalistic credibility and integrity of its writers. We are also building an online track record for journalists. So in summary, we give news readers a platform to voice their opinions about the quality of news and the people writing about the news."
Here’s my take – NewsCred looks nice and could be a good start page for breaking news across the Web. But it’s another full-feed scraper and if they even so much as attempt to put an ad next to the content, all bets are off. What is with these sites scraping full feeds lately? Same thing with fav.or.it. There’s no reason why NewsCred needs to scrape full feeds – they can easily link out to the sites that they are indexing. The scraped stories on NewsCred don’t pull in any formatting so they are very difficult to read.
The other concern I have is similar to one I have with the Outbrain rating widget we have installed on CN. With NewsCred, what makes a story "credible"? There are so many rumors that float around blogs everyday, do people really care what’s credible? From my conversations over the past year, the answer is no. In fact, if you look at some of the more popular blogs, stories that are factually inaccurate or biased have done very well for those blogs. What really makes a story credible?
I like the concept of NewsCred but they need to stop the full-feed scraping and define for their users specifically what makes a story credible.
Svetlana believes NewsCred has potential but the 100 sources will need to grow for the site to work at a broad level. Jason notes that the site has a better ranking algorithm than when it launched in private alpha last year.
Update: in a further conversation with Shafqat he notes, "Just wanted to give you an update on our policy. We do NOT believe in full feed scraping and actually took the view opposing Fav.or.it‘s policies. We strongly believe in protecting the intellectual property of the content provider and respecting the copyrights. With that said, 95% of the sources on our site are set up so we only display the first sentence or a brief excerpt (usually the first paragraph at most!). There are a handful of blog feeds where the feed owner has chosen to provide the full feed. We are individually reaching out to every single one of them to get their feedback on how we should proceed. We didnt have time to set up a automated script that will only store the first paragraph but will happily do that. For now, we simply display what we receive in the feed for those and hence the formatting hasn’t been improved. Most likely we will do away with the full feed or agree on a rev-share and then format the feeds. You bring up an important point and I just want to reiterate that we really don’t believe in taking your content for free and making money of it. As you have noticed, because we did not have time to reach out to everyone yet, there are NO ads being displayed"