Slinkset – A very interesting Digg clone

I just finished having an email chat with John one of the co-founders of Slinkset.  Slinkset is the new Digg-clone we use to power our news-specific area (News Engine) of TechWinter.

The chat was initiated by John as he wanted to 1-1 feedback on their product. Below is a summary of our chat in interview form.

1. Does Slinkset offer anyway to embed code to drive people to my main site/homepage?

John: Widgets are now available.  Simply scroll the bottom of your page and click the “Widget” link, or you can go to http://news.techwinter.com/widgets. Anyone can embed these widgets including your readers.

2. A plugin or badge that allows people to auto-submit my site and theirs to our News Engine? This would be very helpful to our readers.

John: These auto-submit badges are on our to-do list

3. On the invite box I have no easy way to invite new users. I know adding those fancy scrape systems for Gmail, Yahoo, et al are more challenging than just a CSV import but even a basic    CSV import would be nice to have?

John: Yes, we’ll have to put something in place for this eventually.

4. Can comments be made more prominent? Also it would help if those who submitted to the News Engine were told of any comments made to their submission.

John: Users are able to subscribe to the comments feed, but yes having this automatically into the slinkset site is a good idea.

5. Integration with FF would be really nice as I get tonnes of traffic from FF now and I think a great many social bloggers do too.

John: What do you think would be the most useful way for us to integrate here?  Auto-post to FF?
TechWinter: An Auto-post feature could be really useful. Regarding FF I would say look at how Twitter is integrated rather than Disqus as their implementation is rather unpopular with fixes on the way.

6. Can we expect a bookmarklet that includes summaries rather than just the article title and link? Mixx does this and Digg does not.

John: Agreed, in future plans.

7. Can I include Adsense Ads as I didn’t see that anywhere yet?

John: The ability to place your own ads is already in place through the use of the HTML sidebar, but the ability to run a full ad campaign has not been vetted out yet.

8. Will we ever be able to include our own GA code for tracking?

John: The HTML sidebar allows for you drop anything you want in there, JS, Adsense, GA code, kitchen sinks.  You can check out it out in the admin section Settings->Advanced. GA code fully integrated might be something we add in the future.  But we’re more likely to have our own robust stats app, for users to get data more pertinent to their slinkset site.

All in all I learned lots from John about their upcoming feature development and some of their current features that I had overlooked. If you are looking for a tool to drive users to your site by aggregating news, quality links, or topical conversation then this may be a good tool to start with since it took 10 minutes to set up.

Have you tried out our News Engine yet? If not please do give it a go the content turns over regularly and we always adding users.

*You can also find this post published at Posterous. I have decided to give them a try, one of these days I will possibly write a review of the service if it proves interesting.  Thanks to Duncan Riley for promoting it enough that I just had to try it.

Why do you blog?

I have blogged in some form or another since arond 2000/01. First I was on Blogger.com writing some political pieces but blogging then didn’t give me any satisfaction.  As much as I have these ‘rules‘ now I am all about craving readers and generally having the respect of my peers.

Fast forward to 2004+ and my craving to have others read and validate my thoughts as insightful or at the least helpful on occasion is strong and a driving force. On its own this desire would keep me blogging although probably less frequently, but in all honestly what drives me is I use my blog as a reason to research and stay current, all the while knowing my identity (brand) is developing and becoming known as opposed
to…..

I have spoken to other bloggers about why they blogged and I get so many different answers from ‘because I am bored’ to ‘I want to launch a startup’ or ‘it helps my business’.  These last two are clearly focused people but none of these examples are representative since the variation from blogger to blogger can be significant.

So my question stands, why do you blog?! Share your thoughts and lets learn a little about each other.