NewsCred: You rank the credibility of news
Digg gained plenty of press because it let its users determine the popularity of various news articles. A new website, NewsCred, is taking a different approach: it lets readers rank the credibility of the news itself.
The site has been up since May in a private “alpha” mode and on Tuesday launches into an official “beta” version — Web terminology for something that’s live for the public, but not necessarily in its final form.
To find out more about NewsCred, I spoke to Shafqat Islam, 27, who was born in Bangladesh but lives in Geneva, and is one of the two chiefs who runs the site. Islam is a former project manager for financial systems at Merrill Lynch (he built systems there for traders and private bankers) who runs the site with Iraj Islam (no relation), 24, and a resident of Stockholm.
I asked Shafqat Islam what the purpose of the site is. After all, there are plenty of websites out there that present news from various sources all in one place. Besides ranking sites by credibility, he said he wanted to develop a modern news service that was not too difficult for people who are not techies at heart.
“For regular customers like my friends or my family, none of them had even heard about NetVibes or knew what an RSS feed was,” he said. “We wanted to create a news aggregating site where it’s just as simple as clicking the logos of your favorite websites. It’s for mainstream news readers.”
NewsCred capitalizes on the concept of the “community” in news presentation, something that traditional news outlets and other sites have determined is crucial to keep users interested in coming back. Making the ranking of credibility a mainstay of the site is something that he thinks will add a level of involvement among users that they don’t get right now on Yahoo’s or Google’s news sites.
“We want to give news readers a platform to voice their opinion. We really believe that being a news reader is qualification enough to give your opinion on a journalist or a news article,” he said. “We also want to encourage people to discover more news sites.”
The site is mainly in English, but already provides some links to sources from other languages, and will expand its offerings to include more regular helpings of French, English and Spanish — a polyglot angle that a number of other sites lack, but that seems natural to Islam, who besides English speaks French, Bengali, Arabic and Hindi.
So far, the site is self-funded, Islam said, but venture capital funding is not out of the realm of possibility.