blogburst 04.10.2006, 4:14 PM
posted by ben vershbow
A small Austin, TX-based company called Pluck is launching a new blog aggregation service called BlogBurst that will filter postings from hundreds of approved bloggers and syndicate their content to major news services (and eventually smaller niche publications as well). Tomorrow, BlogBurst lets rip its fire hose of content at a handful of major newspapers including USA Today publisher Gannett Co., The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and local pubs The Austin American-Statesman and San Antonio Express. Some are calling this a further blurring of the boundary between mainstream and independent medias. Seems to me more like an expansion of the umbrella of the former and a buttressing of the oft-lamented "power law" with regard to the latter (how the most popular blogs get entrenched in an "A-list" in spite of popular belief a level playing field). The AP has more.
Any blogger can sign up with BlogBurst but some editorial body there decides which blogs go into the syndication feed. Presumably, if the thing takes off, they'll start breaking it up into multiple feeds -- some generalized, some specialized. Participating publishers are povided with "editorial management tools" called the "publisher workbench." So if I'm a newspaper, I receive a daily dump of thousands of blog postings, broken down into different topic areas. I fiddle around with those in the workbench, choose the ones I want, and then plug them into various slots in my paper. Technically, it works like this (warning, acroynum blitz):
Incidentally, the name blogburst is a bit of co-opted net jargon describing any coordinated effort by bloggers to flood the web with postings on a particular topic -- usually some hot-button issue like the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. Search "blogburst" today on Technorati and you'll find a slew of right wing bloggers on a "guard the borders" rhetorical rampage (ha! idealistic me, I initially thought they meant the borders between mainstream and grassroots media!).
Meanwhile, as I write, thousands march down Broadway in New York -- blogging, as it were, with their feet -- in support of America's illegal immigrants.
I wonder how the two-capital-Bs BlogBurst will deal with the political polarization of blogs.
Dave Munger on April 10, 2006 7:37 PM:
I went ahead and signed up. So there'll be at least one voice in opposition to the right-wing hordes. However, my overlords at scienceblogs.com tell me that I'm not contractually allowed to place my other blog on blogburst -- they view it as a competitor. So unless they arrange a "partnership" (i.e. get paid), I don't think that's going to happen.
It's a neat idea; we'll see if anything comes of it, or if the newspaper world is simply overwhelmed with the volume of content.
ben vershbow on April 10, 2006 11:12 PM:
I'd been meaning to ask you, how's the Science Blogs gig been going? Seems like a great boost for Cognitive Daily, which already seemed to be going strong as it was. All good? Any regrets?
Dave Munger on April 11, 2006 6:46 AM:
Scienceblogs is going well, but I think the promised "conversation" between blogs hasn't happened to the extent I hoped it would. Part of that is Cognitive Daily's format, which is quite proscribed, but part I think can be attributed to the scienceblogs format. I think the front page needs to be more interactive. I'd prefer a format something like Comment is Free, but perhaps with even more emphasis on the comments.
The folks at Seed say they're working on a redesign of the front page, and we've tossed these ideas around in our internal discussions, so I guess the status at this point is that I'm anxiously awaiting the revision.