- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
On Saturday I wrote a post titled, “Why Every Startup Should Complete the Y Combinator Application.” In just a few days, it’s become one of the most popular posts on CN this year. The conversations I’ve had about the post and the application on the various chat networks have been educational and uplifting. The most interesting discussions come from entrepreneurs who have been working on their startups for more than a couple of years — they have found the exercise to be a very important one to get them grounded again as to what product or service provides.
Today Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian posted their Y Combinator application — they were part of the first class of the startup incubator. Just like the Dropbox application, the Reddit app is also worth a read. Oh wait, the app isn’t actually for Reddit. It’s for a mobile food ordering service (see end of this post). Alexis notes that the team was rejected by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham. But Paul called the team the next day and offered them a slot in the initial Y Combinator class if they could come up with a new idea — that idea became Reddit.
The best part about these apps is reading the portion that details how the company plans to generate revenue.
I’d love to hear more about why the application was rejected because I still think it’s a huge market opportunity – even more today than back when the Reddit team submitted the application.
I’ve got two more Digg stories to write — actually I only had one for tonight but then I noticed something worth sharing. It’s certainly been an interesting week for the social news aggregator. They traded oxen for wheels and sold some sheep to keep the new Cassandra servers running as they cross the river. We’ve heard from our close sources that several tech blogs have sent Digg a whole gaggle of new oxen but so far we are unable to confirm.
Top Digg user JD Rucker put together a chart showing the last 118 stories to make the front page and which sites grabbed the highest percentages. Check out his blog for the full chart. Some notes:
- Mashable owned the home page with 15% of the stories – and if you change the clock to only Friday, my guess is that the percentage would be closer to 70%. Mashable also wins for “most unlikely story to hit the frontpage” with their “thank you sponsors” post making the Digg frontpage on Friday evening – now that’s a thank you if I ever saw one!
- Leo Laporte grabbed 8% of the total stories – a lot of which go to his Google Buzz feed (I thought he quit Buzz??) – perhaps this promotion is due to Leo holding the 2nd most popular spot for default users
My suggestion to Digg is simple – if the algorithm that promotes stories is broken, turn off the front page until you get it fixed. While it looks like today’s tech blog to promote is RWW (yesterday was TC), it just looks bad on Digg to not have some sort of variety — and I’m not even talking about tech blog variety – I am talking about overall variety.
The benefit to turning off the frontpage while making the corrections is that you will force users to “learn” how to use the new MyNews function – a function which blogger Robert Scoble says is his favorite part of the new Digg.
Content voting service Reddit has announced the launch of Reddit TV today. Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee notes that Reddit TV is very similar to StumbleVideo from StumbleUpon which launched quite a long time ago.
There are a variety of categories including geek, happy, politics, sports and wtf. They are actively seeking sponsors to create “sponsored channels” and as a test they are using videos from the TED conference. Reddit has integrated Twitter as well so you can send messages to your followers which push them to the Reddit page (not the source content page).
Here’s a video from Reddit on how the service works…
Social news aggregator Reddit is making a big announcement today. They have decided to open source the Reddit code. I spoke with Steve Huffman to learn more about the announcement and grab some of the latest stats from Reddit. The open source license matches the one Facebook is now using for some of their code.
He says that open sourcing the Reddit code is the next step in the transparency of media that Reddit strives for. It’s also a way for Reddit to give back to the open source community. Steve noted that they are the only one of their peers offering their code under an open source license. He also said that Digg struggles with transparency.
I immediately asked if the "secret sauce" would be part of the code. The idea we can review the code and figure out how to hit the Reddit front page seemed possible. Steve explained that certain key parts of the secret sauce won’t be released.
I also asked about developer manuals and guides – something that is important when reviewing another’s code. At this point there are guides but they are a work in progress.
As for the latest stats, Steve shared the following on our call: 4+ million unique visitors a month 120 million pageviews a month 2,200 user-created reddits (including the custom tech reddit run by some of the top tech bloggers) 23% of registrations are coming from the user-generated reddits politics and technology are the strongest categories entertainment is the fastest growing category
I also asked for U.S./non-U.S. traffic on Reddit and Steve shared that nearly 45% of traffic on Reddit comes from outside the U.S.
Will this announcement today help Reddit gain more marketshare against Digg and potentially against newcomer Yahoo Buzz? It should certainly get the developer crowd talking and hacking. Reddit needs to make sure they promote this to all of the applicable sites in the Conde Nast portfolio. Whether it will drive more traffic and users to Reddit, we will need to wait and see.
206684416 This weekend’s bitchfest is about the "conversation" and where it takes place. We’ve got Louis Gray for the "Steal Me" team and Tony Hung for the "Don’t Steal Me" team. Then there’s Robert Scoble who should probably stick to running the camera for interviews. Canadian blogger Mark Evans wonders if pageviews still matter. That answer is easy: yes.
I went for a walk in Times Square and started to think about this question again. It seems to come up about once a month with some tool or app, this time it’s with Shyftr. We discussed it with Brijit. Last month I wrote, "There. Everywhere. But Here." Lastly in January 2007, we asked why Digg allows comments.
Here’s where we stand — everyone has already stolen the conversation. Here are some examples:
- Shyftr – they also steal the actual content
Stolen conversations are where a service allows users to comment on content created elsewhere. On virtually none of the sites above, can you actually create content. You are sharing content that you think others in the particular community might enjoy. In my post about Digg allowing comments, I asked Digg to create a way for the comments to show on my post here along with on Digg. Otherwise what happens is that a post looks like crap because there is no conversation yet there might be hundreds of comments elsewhere. I continue to stand firm that none of these community sites need to allow comments – they should be pushing the commenting activity back to the original source. But without comments Digg would have 20% of the traffic they do today, the money is in the comments.
I’d like to see the conversation come back to the source because this allows everyone to join in one large conversation. If we can allow comments anywhere, and they can be aggregated back to the source, that would be a decent workaround. Make no mistake about it, in a perfect world, a reader would enter their comments on the source only so the source can benefit from the work created instead of from all the thieves. A user could read the comments from any of the services.
It’s interesting that not one of the other posts has discussed the monetary (cash or brand building) side of commenting. Both for the original source along with the conversation thieves.
Last night during the first Digg Townhall, we learned that there are an average of 10,000 stories submitted to Digg daily. I pulled out a scratchpad today and while my numbers might vary a bit from you home gamers, the data is very interesting indeed.
Based on the math in my original article about which categories hit Digg the most along with Richard MacManus’ post about which sites hit Digg the most in the tech category along with additional research outside of the tech category, here are my findings. Approximately 150 stories make Digg’s frontpage per day, not including stories that make it but are subsquently buried.
On an average weekday, you have a 150 in 10,000 chance that your submission will hit the frontpage. However we need to remove a piece of your chance because we know that some sites (in Tech for example: Gizmodo, Engadget, NYT, Techcrunch, Lifehacker, Ars Technica) will get more than one a day on average. Using the completed research and MacManus’ figures, I peg these special sites at 25% of the daily average which leaves the rest of us with the balance 112 out of 10,000 chance. I am being very conservative here with the power sites, the number is probably a bit higher.
When we pull out the HP 10B with these revised figures, your chance is now 1.12%; or in other words, a 98% chance you won’t make the Digg frontpage today.
If these percentages continue to get worse for the average site or average Digg user to see a benefit, will there be a slow exit out of the service? Why should a Digg’er push and push if the chances are slim to none that a story will make it? Would it make more sense to target Reddit or Mixx where there are more chances to get at least some bit of traffic?
My suggestion for Digg is to create separate verticals which would allow 150 stories in each category to hit the frontpage of that vertical each day. For example, I have no interest in Politics so why do I need to see it? I know that I can turn it off but it still counts into the stories that make the frontpage. These verticals (subdomains perhaps) could allow Digg to once again embrace the community and actually grow their userbase.
For all of the startups who bank on Digg for growth (you know who you are), this should be yet another wakeup call that no blog or social news site alone can make or break your product or service.
note: not all categories have the same weighting for frontpage status and power digg submitters can up your chance by a small percentage.
This is the time of year when everyone wants to head to Grandma’s house. The cookies, the dreidel spins, the eggnog, it’s a happy time. For Reddit, Grandma = cash! And specifically it’s Grandma’s boobs!
This has led some Reddit’ers to install ad-block and that means that Reddit’s foolishness is potentially costing me money. Thanks for the gift Reddit!
The two top stories on Reddit currently are (both with more points than I’ve ever seen on a Reddit story):
- Dear Reddit, we ALL HATE these "dealnews" ads! All of us. PLEASE get rid of them.
- Dear Reddit: Thank you! The grandma boobs finally drove me to install AdBlock Plus, and it is great!
Here is one of the ads in question (the ads promote dealnews):
It looks like this campaign is targeted to Reddit based on the sheer number of impressions I see as I browse the site. So turning it off shouldn’t be that difficult. That is if Reddit wants to.
Should the community have a voice in what ads are taken by a service/blog?