A couple of weeks ago I’ve had the pleasure of attending outbrain.com‘s “friends night out”. A small get together of bloggers, outbrain.com crew and sympathizers. Not only was it great fun, it was also educational as Dr. Nahum Sharfman (of shopping.com fame) gave a short talk about the recent web 2.0 startup boom.
Dr. Sharfman’s bottom line seems to be that nobody knows what’s going to catch on and what isn’t, with the one exception that a viable business model should be the prerequisite for anyone thinking of getting involved.
I heartily second that. I dread the thought of a repeat of the .com bubble and its collapse. I think that if investors avoid spending money on ideas that have no clear way of returning that money, then that would keep the it market stabler and give a better chance for the genuine articles to succeed.
But I digress. What I’d really like this post to be about is outbrain.com. Outbrain’s idea is to give you a steady feed of blog posts that are custom tailored to your interests and reading preferences. The key concept is that you rate whatever content you happen to read, wherever you get to read it, and based on these ratings outbrain’s algorithms will supply you with relevant new sources.
Rating content is done through a small FireFox extension that gives you a standard “5 stars control” at the bottom of your browser:
An IE7 extension is to be released soon. The FireFox extension has recently been upgraded to also embed the “5 stars control” inside Google Reader, adjacent to each post:
Now how convenient is that? (With the exception of it currently only working in Expanded View 🙂 )
In return, outbrain gives you an RSS feed with up-to-date blog posts that match your interests. This personalized feed is a great way to get to know blogs and other sources that you might not have the chance to find in other ways. I’ve already added 3 new blogs to my reader and I’m sure I’ll be adding more.
Bottom line – You should definitely check out outbrain.com for yourself!