SmartBrief Publisher Merritt Colaizzi is at South by Southwest this week, talking social media with the best and brightest, including Guy Kawasaki. She spoke with Guy about the latest developments at Alltop.
MERRITT: You just announced version 3 of Alltop. What’s special about this release?
GUY: The huge news is that we’ve added customization called “MyAlltop.” This means that people can create custom collections of feeds and design their own Alltop page. We have over 550 topics containing more than 31,000 feeds to choose from.
SmartBrief editors find Alltop useful. While it’s an obvious fit for journalists, who else can benefit from MyAlltop?
Our goal is WWDOR (“widower”): worldwide domination of RSS. We want people to stay on top of their passions–whatever those passions may be — by going to Alltop. With more than 550 topics, we have this pretty much covered from Adoption to Zoology.
Take a hypothetical mom. She likes to keep on top of the following topics:
- Mommy blogs: moms.alltop.com
- Kids: kids.alltop.com
- Homeschooling: homeschooling.alltop.com
- Shopping: shopping.alltop.com
- Shoes: shoes.alltop.com
- Celebrities: celebrities.alltop.com
- Environment: green.alltop.com
- She loves the New York Times: new-york-times.alltop.com
- She loves to go to SXSW: sxsw.alltop.com
- And she works as an event planner: event-planning.alltop.com
There’s a reason why we call the company Alltop: “all the topics.” With MyAlltop, she can now select just a handful of sources from all these topics and build a “custom magazine.”
If people ask, we build. Because when your goal is WWDOR, you have to move fast and be flexible. Most requests come from the Twitter community. This community not only suggests topics and feeds for the topics, it also evangelizes the topics for us.
With the demise of newspapers-as-we-knew-them, what role do you think news aggregators like Alltop and SmartBrief will play in the future of media (and social media)?
This is a complex question. Are we hurting these publications because people come to our sites and find the nuggets that they want without having to page through entire papers or sites? That is, are we hurting their page views?
Or are we helping them by sending them more traffic as our readers discover articles they never would have seen before? Clearly we both need these publications to survive because an aggregator needs something to aggregate.
It may take a rethinking of the newspaper business with organizations like the MacArthur Foundation and Pew Foundation supporting journalism. Or, even better, the Google Foundation — it needs something to search, right? Plus hyperlocal papers like the Village Voice who have cracked the code on making money even in this day and age may show the industry the way, too.