April 07, 2008

BlogRize Builds A Community Around Your Blog and its Readers

There are two major trends converging in the blogosphere. The first is the growth of sites dedicated to tracking shared items, and the second is, as Allen Stern from CenterNetworks called it, "the year of the friend". In this perfect storm around finding what your friends are reading, and learning new sources for content comes a new entrant: BlogRize, a site developed by Jesse Spaulding, a 26 year-old from Vancouver, Canada, who has built a new platform for blogs to grow their community, through seeing what their readers also like reading and sharing.

The louisgray.com BlogRize community in action

As Jesse writes, "BlogRize is today's news, filtered by communities of people who enjoy reading the same blogs." BlogRize tracks items from two sources - a person's blog, and their Google Reader shared items. The two, in combination, are displayed as a person's "Community News", and each shared item has a number of activity options, from adding comments, to marking as "Interesting", "Funny" and "Insightful", or from the other perspective, "Lame", "Disagree" or you can even flag a post as having the "Facts wrong". You can also save stories for later reading.

My BlogRize profile shows recent activity and who I'm following

When joining BlogRize, you can start using the service by joining an individual blog's community, such as louisgray.com, techcrunch.com, or readwriteweb.com. By joining the community, those posts you find interesting from around the Web are integrated into that site's community news, where they are tabulated based on the number of shares, how often they were found interesting, and you can even see which friends found the same items intriguing that you did. Comments can be left on any item, and are highlighted.

Clicking through to an item shows who shared it or took action.

Interestingly, unlike some sites which rely on a large mass of users to get rolling, BlogRize doesn't need the wisdom of big crowds. As Jesse wrote me in an e-mail back in February, during early development of the site:

"Imagine a site like Digg where the entire community is made up of readers and fans of louisgray.com. But this is not an isolated community. Nope, BlogRize is an integrated site of many separate but interconnected blog "channels". So, there is not going to be a problem of the content stagnating due to a certain channel having a small subscriber base. In fact, our system is able to generate a HOT page of highly relevant links within a channel - even if that channel has zero subscribers. It can do this because it knows what keywords and what other blogs are most relevant to louisgray.com."

Jesse also noted Dave Winer's blog post on The next step in Digg clones as one source of inspiration. BlogRize users can build a Digg-like community just with the readers of a single blog, big or small. We also saw another entrant in this market debut just last week, with Yokway, as more and more frequently, bloggers are looking to share items with people they know or their peers, rather than with strangers.

To get started with BlogRize and join the louisgray.com community, sign up with the embedded invite code. If you have your own blog, you can claim it and start a new BlogRize.com community just for you.