reBlogger past, present and future

Yesterday I completed our first interview about reBlogger with Robin Good. It will be published next week on his excellent site.

I had great fun doing it – a lot more fun than I expected. I've realized that I (and our team) are very passionate about what we're doing.

In essence I sketched out the existing reBlogger 3.x and the forthcoming Next Gen version and the corporate version after that. I'll share the extremely short version here. (I look forward to reading Robin's take on our discussion)

Background to reBlogger: We began to build reBlogger almost 2 years ago for our own internal needs on TopXML. It was about a year ago that we made some copies of reBlogger available to other websites that we have close relationships with. By the end of last year reBlogger was in it's 3rd version and we had moved it to .NET because of the massive increase in development productivity over Classic ASP. As I travelled in Europe at the end of last year I was in beautiful Venice (Italy) and I read Robin's website (also in Italy). Robin wrote passionately about newsmastering. Amongst other things he wrote:

We need something of an entirely new order of magnitude to manage all of this information.

Search engines, open directories, and millions of bloggers are not enough.

We need a multi-layered, self-organizing approach that allows the load to be highly distributed and the focus and depth to be guaranteed by the combined result of many highly focused individual efforts.

As I travelled around Venice along the grand canal (and went to a wonderful masked opera), I began to see a much larger picture of what our existing reBlogger can be used for. I saw that we could provide the answer that Robin had been looking for.

I bought newsmasters.com for a small fortune and ever since we've been gradually building reBlogger into something that will help people and companies manage the torrent of data that is flowing past them – in Octber 2005 it was called a river of news but these days it's a tidal wave of news.

reBlogger 3.x is predominantly designed for SEO companies and websites that want to track blog content in tightly grouped themes. This product is described in this post covering the "reBlogger engine" and you can view many existing websites that are built our of reBlogger 3.x One of the great things is that right out of the box reBlogger gives you excellent ranking in search engines because of it's focus on creating themes. In this way reBlogger 3.x is similar to a content manager (CM).

reBlogger Next Gen is designed for building meme or web 2.0 websites. It's an engine with a far higher level of functionality than reBlogger 3.x. It's basically DIGG-in-a-box. With the mushrooming number of 2.0 sites out there (all containing voting and Ajax coolness) there is a big need for standardization and componentization. Atlas brings that at a technology level, but we're making DIGG sites (meme, web 2.0) into a commodity that anyone can buy. By using our reBlogger Next Gen you can easily have a DIGG site working on your website. It's got all the functionality of reBlogger 3.x plus all the existing Ajax goodies that most 2.0 existing sites have – and then some extra innovations that have not been seen yet on the web, for example Hover Comments.

reBlogger corporate version is designed for… corporates. When you have 1,000 bloggers in your company, you have major headache looming. How do you track the bloggers? When you can get the blog posts of your competitors employees you have a major opportunity! What can you extract from their blogs? Sales departments want to track buzz about a product, is it increasing or declining? Marketing departments may want to generate buzz about upcoming products and compare that graphically to buzz about upcoming competitor products (think XBox 360 and PS3).

We think the enormous volume of blog content is a whole new addition to the lives of people who are connected via the internet. Everyone wants to track something of interest to them. Everyone naturally has a desire to play and explore. We have the long term vision to enable it.

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