You want to help collect LFC News?

by Rupert Insider

editor.jpgOn 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 (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.


21 Responses to “You want to help collect LFC News?”

  1. redman Says:

    So you are going to create a Liverpool website for commercial gain-after destroying what would have been a main competitor? You do know how this looks – how long have you been planning this? Are you the new Oldham?

  2. rupertinsider Says:

    I guess you did not read the article.

  3. dataimaginary Says:

    Redman la,

    There is a difference between a privately-owned news service that is free to access and a site that demands substantial subs and aggregates it’s “services” from all the free sites that already exist.

  4. lfcwire Says:

    Mine’s model 2!

  5. Ordinary to Rome Says:

    serious question – why not just throw your support behind LFC Wire as most of the unofficial sites have already done?

  6. RobbWillo Says:

    Where can I buy shares in LFC Wire? And I want a friggin whippet to invest in!

  7. rupertinsider Says:

    The same question could be asked about the other sites that were up and running before LFCWire and the other projects that were under development – and I would like to cooperate with them.

    As I said, the owner of LFCNews Wire contacted me after his site was up and running. We have subsequently discussed potential cooperation. The model I am interested in is compatible with his site and with the other sites.

    As I understand him, his is privately owned, not part of a cooperative of unofficial sites.

    EDIT: I posted the above before Insider cleared “posts awaiting moderation”. And I see that there was an earlier post among them from LFCWire that confirms that his is not Model 1 – a cooperative of the unofficial sites – but Model 2 – privately owned.

    I have also made a Postcript to the article about the fine distinction between Model 2 and Model 3. I prefer the unambiguity of Model 3.

  8. Insider Insider Says:

    I’d not realised that Rupert was looking into doing a site like this when I posted this article – I’d not been reading my emails very often as I think I’ve mentioned before, and I’d not realised Rupert had been looking into this.

    If I had, I’d have possibly not have posted this article. To be honest I’ve been looking for time to write about the News Now situation for a while. Why do they send a mail saying “Welcome”, then decide to ignore the replies? Seems that something is amiss there, and an explanation wouldn’t have hurt if they are happy with their actions.

    As things stand, I use a mixture of methods to look up news on the Reds. I’m actually not a regular user of News Now, haven’t been for years, because the pop-up method of displaying each article really annoys me.

    I use Google News a lot, because although it throws up odd stories quite often (there are other places called Liverpool elsewhere in the world) it does use mainly good quality sources. I like to sometimes read about Liverpool from the perspective of a local paper from a city we have just played in sometimes.

    LFC Wire looks ideal for when I just want quick news about LFC. I’ll know when I go there that I won’t have to sift through anything. Every story will be relevant.

    News Now has a lot of blogs included, Google News doesn’t, LFC Wire has only certain blogs included. There’s still a place for News Now but they do need to take on board some of this criticism they’ve been getting and they might want to refine their software a touch. They also need to see about getting some personal touches added – they tend to vet a feed when it’s first applied for then when it first goes live, then they leave it. It takes a complaint before they’ll look into a feed. Perhaps they could refine that a lot more.

    I feel there are opportunities for there to be many different types of LFC news aggregation sites. The best ones will be most successful, just like any other type of LFC site. If some are purely LFC related then that will be ideal for a lot of people. Everybody’s different.

    RSS feeds like ours – – have made news aggregation something easier than ever before. I can see a lot of different initiatives starting up in the near future and I see no harm in it being Rupert who has one of the most successful ones. I know he’s thought long and hard about whether this was a good move or not and quite rightly he’s realised it is. You know with Rupert that he’s not going to charge you money for things he doesn’t deliver, or take stuff from The S*n. He’ll not try and instigate a smear campaign against our players. And if he did, well I’d have a new blog to start up wouldn’t I?

  9. rupertinsider Says:

    Following the various comments above I want to be clear.

    I am NOT referring to an LFC site with forums, like any of the unofficial sites, let alone like KT.

    I am talking about creating, with others, an automated news-aggregator, like News Now – only of better quality. It would not charge the sites anything. It would promote traffic to them. It would not ask any favours of sites or seek special advantages. It would just do a good job and succeed or fail on the quality and integrity of its services.

    News Now told me in correspondence that for several years they consciously decided to ignore many complaints they received about Koptalk’s dominance of the LFC section at News Now for various reasons which they explained.

    That Koptalk dominance meant that many of the other unofficial sites, and the LFC official site and many serious journals, like the Liverpool Echo, were underepresented or not represented at all.

    It led to questions about whether there was manipulation of the News Now software by Koptalk. News Now denied that was possible. But a blog contributor demonstrated it was. News Now have recently admitted their error and have plugged that loophole. Perhaps that contributor will write an article for the blog on the issue? He is something of an expert.

    We also pointed out that there were other ways KT could manipulate hits. One of the most obvious was by stealing stories from others then adding a provocative and misleading headline. Another was by being the only site to feature stories from the S** – also stolen, also presented under misleading headlines. (News Now does not take feeds directly from the S**).

    It was also clear that News Now was not supervising their Koptalk content until we pressured them. They were allowing Oldham’s opinions, advertisments for KT, podcasts, misleading headlines and ripped-off stories to crowd out the genuine and original news and comment from other sites.

    Some have suspected for years that there was a financial arrangement with Koptalk that gave it preference over other LFC related sites. News Now says no, but some questions remain and are being pursued.

    The bottom line is that New Now’s virtual monopoly was not a good thing for anyone except News Now and Koptalk.

    Having ploughed through all this stuff for the blog, I thought a way of dealing with News Now and bringing more pressure to bear was for all the unofficial sites to form their own news-aggregator and essentially stop using News Now. I suggested that in my article. But it turns out it was not feasible. Then I decided that I would like to join with others who want to compete with News Now. I believe it is best done on business terms and with sufficient scale to make it feasible.

    I do not call for a boycott of News Now. If I did, it might seem I was acting from vested interest – competing unfairly. When Insider Insider surprised me by calling for a boycott of News Now – effectively – I felt I should declare that a conflict of interest might develop if I continued to comment on the blog about News Now or any news aggregator while I still remained interested in the business plan.

    Irrespective of that reason, I do not think a boycott of News Now is necessary at this moment. Because of the efforts of contributors to the blog, News Now now requires Koptalk to conform to the same standards as everyone else. Koptalk feeds are now subject to scrutiny both by News Now and by the blog. As a result Koptalk has virtually disappeared from News Now. There is no guarantee that it won’t return at the drop of a hat – but at least News Now has responded – if reluctantly – to the blog’s representations and that’s all we asked from it.

    I agree with II that News Now’s treatment of other sites has not been even-handed or efficient and it needs to be watched and held to its own published Terms of Service.

  10. kraptalk Says:

    I agree that there is a need for an alternative to NewsNow, but don’t think there needs to be multiple ones. As far as I can see LFC Wire looks pretty good and deserves a bit of backing. I also think that the Liverpool sites now on there should stop submitting their headlines to NewsNow in protest, and email NewsNow to explain why. Only if NewsNow’s service is devalued will they feel the need to do something about it.

  11. rupertinsider Says:

    As I understand him, the owner of LFCWire has received all the backing he has asked for since all the site owners he has contacted have allowed LFCNews to take their feeds and have given him a plug as one of several alternative to News Now for LFC news. As far as I know the other sites that were up and running before his also have the backing of the sites – in that they have allowed them to take their feeds.

    I know you have been a pioneer in the battle with News Now over the years. The fact is that in the last three or four months it has responded to the blog’s representations, if reluctantly.

    If the site owners do what you suggest and withdraw their feeds from News Now, then that will create a vaccum of LFC news and comment that News Now might be tempted to fill by offering the space to Koptalk.

    Sites and individuals will use whichever news aggregator they think is best for them. There should be freedom of choice. What blog participants have been doing is removing the distortion or “fix” that was in the market as between News Now and KT . Now that Koptalk is being held to the same standards as everyone else it has not fared so well.

  12. Ordinary to Rome Says:

    “As far as I know the other sites that were up and running before his also have the backing of the sites – in that they have allowed them to take their feeds.”

    Any links to these?

  13. rupertinsider Says:

    I made a declaration of potential conflict and am a bit uncomfortable commenting on other sites, especially since I have been or am in discussions with them.

    The Owner of LFCNews is a contributor to this blog (and this thread) and I will leave it for him to comment on or answer questions about his site which is his private business.

    These are three links. Others were mentioned in discussions but I would need to rummage through my correspondence to find the links and don’t want to do that. There are also others in development since the blog article.

    The first site is more than a news-aggregator – you have to enter the news section.

  14. An Observer Says: – just uses newsnow in a frame or am I missing something? – is newsnow powered, looks to be using their paid service.

  15. rupertinsider Says:

    I took a short cut to find them for you – took them off a RAWK thread. I’m afraid I did not stop to examine them. I see now that the owner of au/home has made some comments about his news feeds on that thread.

    It has been suggested to me that the owner of walkon is associated with the ownership of an unofficial site – if true, its perhaps another reason a boycott of NN would not work?

    I was looking for another pre-existing news aggregator – based in Toronto – that started with LFC but has since added one or two others.  I cannot remember its name. Perhaps someone else can provide the link. I know its in my correspondence file somewhere.

    I am aware of other sites that pre-existed and are innovative and which aggregate news etc about LFC but they are not exclusive to LFC.

  16. Amused Says:

    So, first this about generating profits. And now I notice that your censoring posts you don´t like (like my last one). When´s your “members only”-area due?

  17. Insider Insider Says:

    “Amused” – I can’t find your previous comment, and we don’t delete or censor comments. There’s a spam filter included in the software this blog runs on, and it does a good job of getting rid of comments containing numerous links to porn and pills. The software lets me look at the spam before deleting it but this morning, as an example, there nearly 900 spam comments spread over 18 pages. I can’t do much more other than skim through those looking for a genuine one. If your post was picked up as spam (if it had words in that a spam filter didn’t like or if it had a couple of urls in it) then it could have been lost that way.

    The first time you post a comment it sits waiting to be approved. I approved your comment above this morning, it was sitting there waiting.

    So let’s hear your comment again. I’ll try and keep an eye out for it, but now you’ve had a post approved it should come through.

    If the spam situation carries on we may have to consider making it that people have to register first. I’d not get to know any of your details (the people are the ones who would) but it would make it easier to ditch the spam.

  18. rupertinsider Says:

    Amused. “So first this is about generating profits”

    If you are referring to my article, I suggest you read it again.

    If you are referring to the blog I suggest you read 1. About us and 2. Summary: Blog v KT which you can find in the tool bar index.

  19. Amused Says:

    fair enough Rupert. I´m not saying I´m against you generating money for providing a service, not at all. I belive people should who provide something that others want should be rewarded.

    The quality of Koptalk aside, surely you see the irony if you were to make a profit (maybe even a living..) of a web page providing news to LFC-fans?

  20. rupertinsider Says:

    What irony?

    The blog belongs to Insider and its contributors. I’m one of them.

    I never said I was interested in an exclusively LFC-centric service. In fact, I’m not.

    Many people contribute to this blog who are involved in enterprises related to LFC – from LFC site owners, publishers of LFC related material, journalists,photographers, contractors of LFC, employees of LFC, travel agents and business that sell to an LFC-supporter clientele. Would you tar them with the Oldham brush?

    The problem with Oldham, as contributors to the blog have said many times, is not that he makes a living from LFC but that he claims it is not a business but a hobby or cause, and he uses this deception to beg for money and equipment, and he starts charities for children and other relatives and has the money sent to himself or his mother and does not keep accounts, and he cheats in order to gain unfair business advantages over competitors or “rivals”, and he uses his site to attack the club – he actually wants to expose it in a book – and to attack its players and executives, and he lies to his customers about having inside information and contact with the club’s executives and charges them for that false information, and he steals the intellecutal property of other sites and squats on their domain names and tries to squeeze them out of news aggregators and works of reference and claims to be the No. 1 LFC site and tries to break the boycott of the S** etc etc etc.

    Read the blog.

  21. amused Says:

    Can I just point out that this poster called “Amused” is different to me, I post comments as “amused”.


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