Mirror (Working Title)22 Sep 2010
Crowd-sourced online media responsibility, whether they like it or not
This is the project write-up for a little something I’m working on. I’d like to hear your feedback.
Executive SummaryThere exists online many sources of information. Modern search engines do little to actually validate the information, they merely rank on the popularity of the information. This has given rise to a large number of articles consisting of nothing more than repetition and guesses.
Mirror gives users a way to quantify individual stories for their originality, accuracy, and value. When a user visits an article that others have rated, that rating shows up on the article, prominently displaying things like “Reprinted from elsewhere”, “Copy + Pasted Press Release”, or “Author Doesn’t Understand Subject”. This immediately alerts readers to the nature of the article, and they can then elect to continue reading, or go elsewhere.
Mirror runs as a browser plugin, laying a ranking on top of the page, and offering the user a chance to contribute. A “bookmarklet” function will also exist.
Mirror ranks users and weighs their opinion accordingly. Users who often agree with the general community consensus are rated higher, and their rankings count for more.
ProblemNews blogs have begun to proliferate, and with that the desire for ever more content has pushed quality standards down at even major sites. A search engine treats all facts equally, and can lead to confusion on the part of an uninformed user. Reviews of products, coverage of technology or social issues, nothing exists (aside from the “comments” section) that lets you actually tell if there’s any validity to the author’s claims.
Near-term goalsGive users the ability to rate and share article quality across all sites. Any page on any site can be used. Generate a tracking site for users to see what they’ve ranked, where they fall relative to everyone else, and get Firefox and Chrome plugins (or bookmarklet) running. Sites that value their content may chose to embed current rank and feedback tools directly into their site, which can help drive adoption.
Distant GoalsBrowser plugin directly supports ranking display in Google Reader and other online RSS feeds.
Financial GoalsData mining of rankings on site, vs. anonymized user data. Help sites determine who their “best” authors are. Sell analysis services to blogging sites, eventually move to fully automated, subscription-based reporting tools.
Possible to offer referring link when user visits a non-helpful site? Potential tie-in to Adwords?