Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Human Powered Editorial Processes

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It always brings a smile to my face when i see new services cropping up that have 'human powered' editorial services as part of their value add. Today over at TechCrunch a short review of's news portal peaked my interest so i went to check it out.

From their about page:
The blogs in our database are reviewed, rated, and categorized by editors, so you won't experience the frustration of filtering through blogs that are spam, outdated, or irrelevant. You'll be able to find quality blogs that you would be unlikely to have found through a traditional blog search. We also offer time-based searching, bookmarking, sharing, and feedback functions

I love getting my blog tech news from Techmeme which is auto-generated through a news-picking software system and have relied on it for a while (here is a video of Robert Scoble in Feb 2007 explaining what Techmeme is to Clare Hart my EVP at Dow Jones/Factiva). Techmeme is usually the first thing i check in the morning, and i visit it often during the day. It highlights many of the top blogs i like to read and makes it easy to browse and see the buzz and who is talking about what- i love the interconnections it displays for me.

I also have hundreds of 'trusted bloggers' that i have organized into categories in my GoogleReader, get great tips from the Twitter and FriendFriend folks i follow, subscribe to various daily newsletters, sometimes check and have a good amount of alerts from various services- so another service is probably not going to make or break me.

I like concept that is surfacing in the Topics that they cover, but currently not all the blogged categories are listed (probably still adding content?). As they expand their editorial selection that should get better. i think it is useful that the topics the posts that are added to, are deemed to be about the post- not the blog's domain coverage category (although much of the content within the existing categories seems to be blog domain specific). So if tomorrow i write a wicked post about gardening on this blog that is about information delivery, the editors might pick it up. If i never write about gardening again that would be ok because the value to the readers who care about gardening would be in that one post.

I also like the fact that on a whim or for a specific project i might be working on i can go find editorially selected posts- say tomorrow i am meeting with a prospect that has a fitness and nutrition service- i can check out the stories in the fitness and nutrition topic- perhaps giving me something interesting to say when i met them!

I am not surprised that they are attempting do this and have such diverse categories that they are covering. One of the things our Client Solutions team has been selling more and more of is the Targeted News Delivery Solutions that we offer where editors who learn the clients specific business requirements crawl our aggregated content sets (10,000+ sources 22 languages), blog and Web content, multimedia and perhaps even the client's own submitted internal content to distribute via email, rss or portal/intranet post. Newsletters are not really a new service, but incorporating different type of media is. The editors become the customer's eyes- to power targeted delivery of content to employees daily who have better things to do then crawl multiple news and blog sites and do not need immediate notification (although we of course have many real-time notification solutions as well).

A quick search on people blogging about points to a smart approach to making people aware of their service- editors rate the sites and a note is sent to the blogger notifying them and providing a badge for their blog- and who doesn't like to see themselves in an editorial human powered site?

photo attribution: robotson

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