Spotplex To Bury Digg?

    March 1, 2007

There’s no mistaking the fact that news is becoming more socially driven these days. Bloggers are gaining more credibility as legitimate news sources, a trend which can be directly correlated to the volume of their respective subscription bases. Popular sites such as Digg have also contributed significantly to the phenomenon of social news.

Digg, however, is not without its share of critics. Recent evidence has come to light surrounding the “Bury Brigade” – a collective group of influential Diggers who band together in efforts to squash stories based on their personal agendas rather than the quality of the source material.

It’s due to this community bias that some have begun to shy away from Digg, viewing it as more of a social clique than a hub to catch the pulse concerning the hottest topics in the news.

That’s where Spotplex comes in. Spotplex is a socially driven news portal of a different sort that, while still in the early stages of beta, could position itself as a legitimate rival to Digg.

The fundamental difference that Spotplex boasts over Digg is the fact that responsibility for submitting news items falls not on the users, but on the content providers themselves. The number of views that a particular story receives then determines its overall popularity and position on the homepage.

In his review of Spotplex, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington speculates on its chances to compete within the social news realm:

Can Spotplex match or exceed Digg’s popularity? I think it can if it evolves properly. Unlike Digg, Spotplex won’t have to deal with voting fraud. Spotplex will have their own unique fraud issues to manage, though. Another problem with Spotplex is the fact that large blogs and publications will dominate it to start just because they have large readerships already.

To avoid this “the rich become richer” problem, I’ve suggested to Spotplex that rankings be based on a publication competing with itself – so only very popular stories on TechCrunch (compared to average TechCrunch traffic) would get to the Spotplex home page. The Spotplex team has said that they’ll be tweaking their algorithm constantly after launch based on real data they get from the beta.

There are only a handful of blogs that have readable content currently on the site, but recently Spotplex has opened up its beta to allow more content providers to participate. As the site continues to develop its process, it will be interesting to see whether or not a shift occurs in the social news landscape from Digg to Spotplex.

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