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URL shorteners appear to be all the rage this week, even passing Twitter for coverage. We took a look at many of the issues with the DiggBar earlier this week and now we have some new updates for BurnURL. BurnURL is a service from the team over at ReadBurner and apparently when ReadBurner re-launches, BurnURL will be integrated into the total package.
The new updates are outlined in their blog post and include:
- consolidated sharing – mostly a usability change but they also note here that to-date they have "burned" 20,000 links
- email sharing – you can now share a link via email with a friend
- Twitter search – this update is pretty valuable – clicking the button will take you to a twitter search where you can browse who is talking about your link (I wonder if they search both the short and the ful url – that would be hot)
- Mood Mining - now you can click emoticons to show your feeling about a story. I like the concept but the issue I have with nearly all rating tools is "what am i rating?" – is it the story, the quality of the writing, the subject, the company mentioned, etc. For example, today I read a story from a blogger where you could tell that the author was mad that the author didn’t get the story first – would I hit the "mad" button here to show support? I think they need to clearly note what it is that I am rating – that goes for all of the rating services online. It looks like they are trying to fix my concerns with their mood mining launch.
- Stats – now they track both unique visitors and page views.
If you haven’t read Danny Sullivan’s in-depth report on URL shorteners, it’s well worth a read. I noted that he didn’t include either BurnURL or DiggBar – probably too new. Update: Louis Gray has an in-depth review of the changes at BurnURL.
The ReadBurner team has announced that they are now supporting NewsGator products. ReadBurner now supports "shares" from Google Reader, NewsGator and last month they introduced NetVibes shares as well. Owner Adam Ostrow describes the service, "ReadBurner looks at data from link blogs created by Google Reader users and analyzes which stories are most popular (by # of times it is shared). Once we’ve established what’s popular, we allow users to filter that data by category (web, desktop, mobile, etc.) and timespan (upcoming, most recent, etc.)."
It looks like RSSmeme and ReadBurner are headed for a showdown at the RSScorral. Steven Hodson tested out the new functionality and has a review of his usage.
Recently acquired ReadBurner is announcing a new partnership with start page provider Netvibes today. This new partnership will allow ReadBurner to incorporate items shared on Netvibes to become part of the algorithm that determines which items appear on the ReadBurner front page.
It’s simple to add your Netvibes activity stream to your ReadBurner account and have the shared items count. What I’d like to see is how many people actually share items on Netvibes.
ReadBurner launched with Google Reader as their sole shared items provider. Today they’ve added Netvibes and Ostrow hints about future expansion plans. He notes, "This announcement gives you a bit of a taste of what we’re up to – analyzing what people are sharing across the Web on all sorts of different services. As such, our tagline has now changed to “what’s shared on the Web.” Stay tuned for more exciting announcements soon."
This idea of ranking content based on number of shares really only works for tech news – I am not sure the idea of sharing has hit the mainstream audience yet.
Check out our interview with ReadBurner owner Adam Ostrow.
ReadBurner was acquired a month ago by Mashable Editor Adam Ostrow. ReadBurner relaunched yesterday — check out the coverage on SheGeeks, DownloadSquad, Louis Gray, VentureBeat and ReadWriteWeb. I had a chance to speak with Ostrow last night and here is a transcript of our conversation regarding ReadBurner and the acquisition.
Allen: What is ReadBurner?
Adam: ReadBurner looks at data from link blogs created by Google Reader users and analyzes which stories are most popular (by # of times it is shared). Once we’ve established what’s popular, we allow users to filter that data by category (web, desktop, mobile, etc.) and timespan (upcoming, most recent, etc.). We’ll also show you related stories and let users leave comments on them via our integration with Disqus.
Adam: I’m really hot on the prospects of the so-called aggregation space – making sense of the tremendous amount of content that sites like Mashable, CenterNetworks, and hundreds of others are churning out. Further, Google Reader has always (well, since it came out) been one of my favorite pieces of software, so the idea of building something that leverages data from Google Reader was quite exciting.
I’d read about ReadBurner on a bunch of different blogs and been using it fairly regularly, so when I found out it was shutting down, I decided to make a move on it right away. It was also important to me that Alex, the original creator of the site, stay on board, and, we were able to work that into the deal and happy to report that he was a key part of launching the new ReadBurner this week and will continue to work on the project in his spare time.
The bottom line is I thought that owning a site that I actually find useful in my every day work (editor at Mashable) might be kind of cool :-)
Allen: How much did you acquire ReadBurner for? A range is fine.
Adam: Somewhere between $1 and $10,000,000 :-) It wasn’t that much money compared to most of the deals we talk about in the blogosphere, but it did represent a significant portion of my savings. If someone was managing my money professionally, they’d probably tell me I am no longer very well-diversified.
Allen: You relaunched the service this week – what should CN readers know about the update?
Adam: There is a ton of new stuff, which I outlined in a blog post yesterday. I think your readers will most enjoy the shiny new interface (very CN-like!), the integration with Google Reader so you can access your feeds without leaving our site, and our category filters so you can view only Web news stories if you prefer.
Allen: Can you share some details on the service usage?
Adam: Since we just launched yesterday, there isn’t a whole lot to share about usage yet. I do know that we now have more than 300,000 shared items in our system.
Allen: How do you plan to monetize ReadBurner?
Adam: If you look at what PopURLs just did with Intel, that’s the type of thing I think we can make a lot of money with; sponsored channels that show shared items data in a very specific vertical. We obviously need to grow our userbase and perfect our algorithms though before this is feasible.
Allen: While I have you, what’s your thoughts on the tech blogosphere? What’s the current trend? Where’s it going in 2008?
Adam: The current trend definitely seems to be towards more thoughtful analysis of the news. While breaking a big story will always be important, with aggregators like TechMeme (and now ReadBurner!) increasing in popularity, people have immediate access to dozens of sources for any given story. Readers will start to gravitate more towards the brands (Mashable, Center Networks, etc.) and people (Adam Ostrow, Allen Stern, etc.) that present the news in the reader’s preferred style.
At the same time, there’s definitely a lot of talk about the tech blogosphere being an echo-chamber, but I think that’s where sites like ReadBurner, RSSMeme, FriendFeed, etc. become valuable – cutting through the clutter and letting readers determine what’s important. This is how someone like Louis Gray can come out of nowhere to become Scoble’s "favorite blogger" in a matter of months.
Allen: Which blogs are you reading outside of tech?
Adam: Egotastic, TMZ, Perez Hilton … I’m a celebrity gossip whore.
Mashable editor-in-chief Adam Ostrow has acquired ReadBurner today. ReadBurner displays the most shared items in Google Reader and generated a good bit of buzz on the initial launch. I couldn’t get Ostrow to give up the acquisition price but my sources say it was lower than the $850 million AOL paid for Bebo yesterday.
Ostrow is being joined on the new ReadBurner team by Drew Olanoff and Eric Kerr. ReadBurner founder Alex Marktl will remain on the extended team and will help out when time allows.
Their first job Ostrow says is to get the service back online and improve performance and scalability. He expects to be back up and running in a couple of weeks. How they will generate revenue is anyone’s guess but here’s hoping the new management loses the Web 2.0 reflection.