by Rupert Insider
On 20th September, 2006 I posted an article on here entitled Koptalk News – An Honest Alternative – Please!
Today, I am looking for technically the best engines for a news aggregator. If you know the nuts and bolts of collecting and organising feeds and would be interested in participating in a new enterprise(s), or just helping out with your technical knowledge and advice, please let me know.
The first paragraph of my earlier article had this passage:
“The blog could act as a neutral meeting-point to get it going, if required”.
However, I think it proper that I now declare a potential conflict of interest that has developed since I wrote the article.
After it became clear that nobody was running with the original idea that I proposed – a cooperative between the unofficial sites – I began talking with others about a privately-owned automated news aggregator. So please take that into consideration when considering the objectivity of any future comments I make about automated news-aggregators, such as News Now (Koptalk is not a news-aggregator).
The September article produced a lot of positive comments on the blog and other sites and I received emails from interested parties.
Some of them pointed to two or three sites which were already up-and-running, doing some of the things I had suggested, and one person had registered a domain name with a view to potentially doing something similar in the future.
There was a discussion of the feasibility of different models.
Model 1. The “co-operative” idea, I had suggested, run by the unofficial sites.
Model 2. Privately-owned run on a cost-recovery basis.
Model 3. Privately-owned run on a commercial basis.
All models would exclude Koptalk, the S*n and other doubtful sources of news and comment about LFC.
ProgressReport – to the best of my knowledge this is where we are:
Model 1. An owner of a busy unofficial site offered to support the idea. But as far as I know it has not gone further.
Model 2. Some of the discussants showed an interest in forming partnerships and something may result from those discussions.
Model 3. I am at the advanced planning stage with potential partners.
I did not know about LFCWire.com (which Insider Insider has promoted in an earlier post today) until it appeared as a working site.
Two weeks ago its owner contacted me to identify himself as a long-standing contributor to the blog who had been stimulated by the blog article to set up his privately-owned site. He respected the fact that I could not reveal the identity or plans of the other discussants without their permission.
The model I have been working on would be compatible with all LFC-centric news aggregators (and there are three or four already up-and-running). I believe there is scope for co-operation in this area – which was one of the main points in my original article. So I continue to invite interest.
My potential partners have been looking at various technical models for a news aggregator.
What we need right now is someone with specific hands-on experience to give us advice on the best engines to aggregate news and blog feeds automatically and organise them into the categories we want. Even summary suggestions or links would be useful.
And if someone with that technical knowledge would also be interested in participating on an occasional or more substantial basis we’d be interested to hear.
So drop me a line, please.
Post-script : The distinction between Model 2 and Model 3 is very fine.
For example, Koptalk – which is not a news aggregator – claims to be Model 2 type business – privately owned on a cost-recovery basis. But “costs” includes a wage for the owner and family and lots of other goodies. It does not declare a profit, even though it makes one. Its owner claims it is run from “love of LFC” or as a “hobby” or “voluntary service”.
Model 3 – which is what I prefer – may aim to make a profit but may also make losses (News Now did for years) or may never achieve more than cost-recovery. But it is unambiguous and straightfoward. It survives or fails on the quality of its service, not on any claims to be a “voluntary service” or “hobby” or “cause”. The business disciplines ensures that participants strive for success and this should result in efficient service for the customer and investment in innovation.