Since I started writing for Web Worker Daily last month, I’ve been trying to remember a web app I’d seen a year ago that make it possible to catch up on a lot of breaking online news in just a few minutes. That app was popurls – but now there’s something much, much better: Alltop.
Alltop’s the unannounced creation of Guy Kawasaki and his two partners at Nononina. (Yes – that Guy Kawasaki). The beauty of Alltop is by providing the latest of the best on say politics (or 20 other topics presently), you can get a sense of what’s really happening in that world, quick. Alltop refreshes every 10 minutes or so, so are really seeing what’s happening now.
I caught up with Guy via email to ask him for Web Workers, what’s the biggest advantage to Alltop over reading all the same sources in Google Reader? “The biggest advantage is that we’re pre-loaded the topics with the most important feeds. Think of Alltop as an online magazine rack. You can go to the “social media” section of the rack and see the last five stories from approximately fifty publications,” he replied. “We don’t compete with Google Reader, MyYahoo, Netvibes, or Pageflakes. These products are for the top .1% of Internet users who know what a feed reader and RSS feeds are. Alltop is for ‘the rest of us.’”
“Not to be sexist, but here’s a good test. Let’s suppose that your wife really loves fashion. Would you rather tell her to go to fashion.alltop.com or go find Google Reader, install it, find the feeds of her favorite fashion sites, and put them in Google Reader? Or, suppose that your husband loves cars. Do you want to use Google Reader or point him to autos.alltop.com? Of course, this assumes that you love your wife or husband.”
“If nothing else, we provide a very good starting point for power users to find the best sources for a topic. Then they can use the feeds that we found and put them in Google Reader, Netvibes, Pageflakes, etc. Such is life–I’m willing to gamble when their less-technically-astute friend, relative, colleague asks about finding news for a topic, they’ll probably rather point them to an Alltop site than teach them the art of feed aggregation.”
Presently, Alltop is getting 5,000 to 10,000 visitors a day, plans to roll out another five topics in the next three weeks and hopes to make money via inline text ads, similar to what what Google does at the top of search results.
The only things I might like to see different is that unlike stories in Google News and iGoogle feeds you click and you’re in the story: with Alltop, you either have to log in or register for mainstream news sites such as the New York Times to get to the story. Nor does Alltop produce an RSS feed. “We’re not sure that an RSS feed makes sense,” Guy wrote back. “For a topic like politics.alltop.com, there are approximately sixty sources with five stories each updating every ten to twenty minutes. That’s a minimum of 300 stories in a feed. How useful do you think it is to drink out of sixty hoses at once?”
On second thought, maybe not having an RSS feed isn’t a bad idea at all.