Wednesday, January 9, 2008

NewsGator Ships a NewsMonster-style Distributed Reputation System.

Looks like NewsGator might have just shipped a NewsMonster-style distributed reputation system.

From NewsGator’s announcement:

“It’s all about ubiquity,” said Greg Reinacker, NewsGator CTO and founder. “We have more than 100 Fortune 2000 companies using NewsGator Enterprise Server and our client products. In selling to these enterprises, we discovered that thousands of knowledge workers were already using one or more of our client products and we learned that we could drive the relevance of everyone’s experience by using the community’s anonymous content consumption patterns throughout the system. In general, we found that the more people that used our system, the more relevant we could make the product for each user. By making it easier for knowledge workers to use our clients we dramatically increase the size of our user community. Enterprises that then deploy our server can take advantage of the synchronization and increased relevance for every user supported by the system. Likewise, we can extend these capabilities to our online platform, which currently serves well over 1 million consumers and indexes 7 million new articles per day. The result is tremendous value and continued innovation for both consumer and enterprise users.”

From the NewsMonster documentation:

NewsMonster allows for the creation of a trust network of worthy bloggers which is managed by the user. NewsMonster then uses this network to build a popularity index of recent events and aggregated RSS content by reputation.

NewsMonster observes decisions of users and publishes implicit certifications/reputes into the users online profile. These are then shared with other NewsMonster peers and aggregated to form a relevance network and collaborative filter. NewsMonster pays attention to what you are currently interested in and recommends articles for you based on what you should be interested in.

In layman’s terms - there is a lot of relevance information that can be pulled from your subscriptions and shared with your friends. It doesn’t make sense for two NewsMonster users to simultaneously scan through blogs, often duplicating effort, trying to find interesting content. Why not use each other to make finding news easier? Divide and conquer!

NewsMonster used similar shared profile access to share these certifications with other NewsMonster users. We published the data onto servers (thanks Brewster) and other NewsMonster clients then aggregated the data and computed local reputation with a trust metric I developed.

This was all before Spinn3r, Tailrank, Techmeme, Reddit, Digg, Bloggrunner, etc.

Unfortunately, I was never able to finish up the full system. The NewsMonster assets were purchased by Rojo when we started the company. We then switched focus towards and I was never able to find the spare cycles to finish up NewsMonster.

Google Reader is pushing some of these ideas. Nice to see NewsGator moving in this direction as well.

I still think it’s a bit too early. I’m not even sure it’s a mainstream product just yet.

Selling into enterprises is a good idea though.

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