New startup Publish2 hasn’t launched or even entered private beta yet, but the company has scored $2.75 million in funding. The investor, Velocity Interactive Group, believes in the idea so much that they put both Ross Levinsohn and Jonathan Miller on the board of directors.
Publish2 is talking freely about the product, they just won’t show it to anyone yet. The idea is to create a news resource for news rooms, who are increasingly stressed due to headcount cuts and competition with blogs.
The main service will be a Digg -like social bookmarking site, says CEO Scott Karp. Like Digg, anyone can submit a link to a news story. But the only people who can vote on stories are pre-approved journalists. The goal, he says, is to avoid Digg’s spamming issues and ensure that only quality news can get to the top in any category. He says it’s “Digg, powered by journalists.”
It’s sort of the opposite of Yahoo Buzz, which launched last month, in its approach. Buzz only takes links from pre-approved sites, but anyone can vote. Top stories must pass through an editor, though, before going to the Yahoo home page.
It seems that everyone has tried one variation or another of Digg. In addition to Buzz, AOL launched Propeller in 2006, which also required editors to approve top stories. And there are others with models that fall somewhere in between.
Publish2 will also allow newsrooms to use the service to create customized headline feeds Presumably the quality will be high because only journalists get to vote stories up. That may be true. But it’s just as likely Publish2 will end up a ghost town. One of the main reasons for Digg’s success was the viral way stories spread. People send stories to their friends to get them to Digg them up. Those people, seeing Digg perhaps for the first time, may come back to read the news. Publish2 won’t have that benefit.
We’ll withhold judgment until the product launched and we can take a look for ourselves.