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This article was published on May 20, 2008

Start-up sweetheart socialmedian aims for a global appeal (invites)

Start-up sweetheart socialmedian aims for a global appeal (invites)
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Last month, bloggers found themselves a new start-up sweetheart: New York-based socialmedian. Everybody from Louis Gray to VentureBeat‘s Anthony Ha was raving about it, saying this service was an enrichment of the existing social news landscape. Funny detail though, socialmedian has been in Alpha all the time. It probably helped that Jason Goldberg – former CEO of Jobster – is the founder. I’ve sent him a line to ask how he has experienced this early coverage.

The idea of socialmedian is to offer people a new way to keep up with personally relevant news about specific topics. Users can join different news groups – currently 653 different ones – and add stories by “clipping it”. Unlike Digg, is not about a popularity contest but more about what users with similar interests like. As mentioned before, this service has been described more than a dozen times, so read more on Mashable, ReadWriteWeb or VentureBeat. So how is it like to get coverage from this major blogs in such an early stage?

Goldberg: “The press we have received is very kind and unexpected at this stage. We think that part of it coming so early is because our product appeals to journalists and bloggers who seem to immediately “get it” and we have a number of them participating in our alpha and they’ve asked if they can write about it. Some of the press is also due to the fact that we’re trying to solve a problem that a lot of people have — there’s so much information out there that it has become very very hard to filter out the noise and hone in on personally relevant info; so, there’s a lot of interest in what we’re trying to do.”

If you’re interested in trying out this new service, I’ve good news for you: Goldberg supplied us with 200 invites. He explains why: “One of our key initiatives is to give socialmedian a global appeal. We already have more than 25 percent of our users residing outside the U.S., our plan is to continue to that trend as we want socialmedian to be useful for anyone anywhere to easily find and discover personalized news of interest.”

Well it’s not just the invites for European users that helps creating a global appeal, an office in Pune, India also sure counts. Or is it just typical outsourcing? Goldberg: “Our team in Pune is not an outsourced operation, rather an offshore extension of our company. The team there are all shareholders in socialmedian and we are building a company and product together. I go to Pune for one week out of every four weeks and it is working very nicely thus far, albeit a bit tiring, but that goes with the territory.”

SocialMedian email functionsAlthough creating another news filter site sounds a bit risky to me, Goldberg and his team seem to do a good job. What I especially like are the email functions. I don’t have to browse to another site or add ANOTHER feed, I just receive a short summary in my inbox every morning. Socialmedian even asks me whether I “want milk with that”.

Want socialmedian to go with your breakfast as well? Browse to the site and click on “create an account”. Enter your invite code “amsterdam” and become one of the 2700 alpha users. Just like 25 percent of these fella’s, you might come back every day.