The Web runs on opinion.
We Digg, Stumble, rate and recommend everything from books to blogs and, if Scribnia gets its way, you will be able to add writers to the list.
Scribnia is a University City-based Web site that allows readers to rate and recommend authors, writers and bloggers on a one to ten scale. Users can leave comments and rank authors in categories based on their writing topic. For example, a political writer can be rated as more liberal or conservative, or a tech writer can be rated on a scale of whether they write more for the general public or for tech experts.
“Readers are actually starting not to just read one-off articles on sites like Digg, but [they are] finding authors that they care about and want to come back and read,” said co-founder Russell D’Souza.
The result is a growing database of content creators that can provide users with recommendations based on previous rankings. Rate, say, baseball writer Peter Gammons high and you may be recommended other baseball writers that Peter Gammons fans rated highly. Tomorrow, the site will roll out my Scribes, an RSS reader within Scribnia that will provide author recommendations based upon the feed items the users read.
Scribnia was founded by Boston natives Russell D’Souza and Jack Groetzinger, both 24. The duo made the trip to Philly after receiving funding through DreamIt’s bootcamp program that netted them $20,000 in angel funding as well as a host of pro bono services.
The company of five employees has set up shop in the University City Science Center where it is trying to build its user base after emerging from a private alpha earlier this month with a post on Mashable.
“We had a very strong influx of users [after coming out of the private alpha] and we have managed to keep a lot them,” D’Souza said.
Currently, the PHP-based site claims to have just under 1000 users and 100 “claimed” author profile pages and, starting tomorrow, will roll out its new my Scribes feature that will help users discover new content.
“We wanted to create a way so that once you find an author, you don’t have to click on that author and Google their work, you can see all of their work on Scribnia and read it,” said D’Souza.
The result is a recommendation engine wrapped in an RSS reader where users can rate individual articles using a thumbs up/thumbs down system. My Scribes will then suggest authors based on the posts your rate.
Soon, the site hopes to leverage of its user ranking and comments into a paid premium service that will help bloggers drive traffic. For example, users could submit post topics they want to hear about and bloggers could access this list for a fee, similar to Skribit.
Scribnia will also sell authors information about how be more like the top writers in their niche. For example, the site will evaluate metrics such as pictures per post. Scribnia could then provide the average picture per post for the five highest rated food bloggers. Food bloggers not in the top five could then compare the metrics to their own numbers and adjust the content accordingly.
“We can provide quick, little things that writers can do to improve the number of readers they get,” D’Souza said.
Currently, D’Souza said the company is more focused on building up their user base after moving to Philly for the summer. The company said although none of its employees are from the city, it may consider sticking around.
“We’re here, and we really like it a lot, there is definately a chance we will be here in the long run,” he said. Of course, having the company’s funders here doesn’t hurt, either.
Every Wednesday, Shop Talk shows you what goes into a tech product, organization or business in the Philadelphia region. See others here.
Companies: DreamIt Ventures / Scribnia / University City Science Center
People: Russell D’Souza
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