The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Tip'd is social news for businesspeople

April 10, 2009 |  4:46 pm
New Tip'd version video walkthrough. Credit: Tip'd

If Digg is the USA Today of social news -- in that it serves an all-purpose, national audience -- then Tip'd is aiming to be the Wall Street Journal.

The concept is the same as other social news websites, like Digg and Reddit. Users submit links to news stories around the Web, and the community votes on which are worthy enough to be promoted to the home page. Except with Tip'd, it's solely business and financial news.

Stories popular on Tip'd deal with more in-depth analysis about bankruptcy and owning a home, whereas Digg's business section covers more bizarre, general-interest topics, such as this one about the national increase in hot dog vendors.

This week, Tip'd delivered its first major revision since launching in October. Among the new features is a video section and a tagging feature called SocialTickers. The latter provides a list of the most-talked-about companies, and a page that shows any particular corporation's live stock ticker as well as blog posts and Twitter chatter mentioning the company.

Tip'd isn't the first social news website that targets a niche. Auto Spies is geared toward car enthusiasts; Ball Hype is for sports lovers; Design Float covers Web designers. Before branching out more broadly, Digg began with a focus on technology news.

In fact, Tip'd isn't even the first social news site that zeroes in on business and finance news. "There are seven or eight other sites ...

... that I know of that do business news," said Muhammad Saleem, the community manager for Tip'd. "We actually learned from their failures."

Those failures, Saleem says, include the common misconception that if you build a platform, people will use it just because it's there.

The Tip'd team took a different approach. They met with the publishers of financial blogs -- ones widely ranging in popularity. Saleem and Co. promised bloggers that if they actively used and promoted Tip'd on their blogs, they would be rewarded in the long term with an increase in traffic referrals. Saleem said the majority signed up, including WalletPop, AOL's financial blog.

Tip'd has dug itself a niche among many mid-sized business blogs over the last six months. The return on a front-page story doesn't come close to rivaling the power of hitting Digg's home page. But despite the fact that Digg has a "business and finance" section, most of the content that appears on Tip'd doesn't have a prayer of receiving enough votes from the average Digg users to get attention.

"The only time when you get on the front page [of Digg] is when the story is so generic and watered down that it appeals to a million different demographic subgroups," Saleem said.

And he should know. He's the No. 2 power user on Digg, under the moniker msaleem.

"The more in-depth stuff finds a home on Tip'd," Saleem said. "If it's something to do with coal, gold or the U.S. dollar, it will never get on the front page of Digg. ... Real estate would be immediately marked as spam on Digg because they just don't care."

Bloggers reach a more specialized audience with Tip'd -- readers who are perhaps more likely to bookmark their sites and become regulars.

-- Mark Milian