truemors

May 16, 2007 —

Wow do I want to weigh in on Guy Kawasaki’s new one-line rumor site, truemors.com. Truth told, I’ve already weighed in on it a few times, just not by name.

Guy contracted us to build the pseudo blog a few months back. His request was simple: build a rumor aggregator that operates like a blog, and then hack it so anyone can post to it. We bit.

The site has been live for about a week but today seems to be its coming out party. Techcrunch posted its third review of the site. Scoble, Data Mining, Frantic, and Pronet have reviews. So do all kinds of others. My RSS reader is full of other people’s opinions.

You can almost gauge the authority of the blogger by the reaction to the site. Those without it seem to dwell on the site’s technology (“heavily hacked wordpress install”) or its content (“spam-flavored rumor aggregation.”) To a large extent, these observations are valid. They just don’t matter.

The important aspect of the site has nothing to do with its technology. It has nothing to do with the top posts being gamed. It doesn’t even have anything (much?) to do with the site owner’s celebrity.

It has to do with the fact that the rules of [community] engagement have been completely removed. Post what you want to post. Do what you want to do. Leave when you get bored.

It’s an intriguing experiment in crowdsourcing. While most sites are busy trying to keep the unwanted content out, truemors is daring you to plug it in. And if it looks like a modern day Eugene OR (rioting / looting / anarchy) right now, give it a week or two. It’s going to be interesting to see the community that spawns out of it.

8 Responses to “truemors”

  1. Tony Hung

    Wait — its interesting *because* its an unmoderated free-for-all?

    Sorry dude, I just don’t buy that.

    A constant state of entropy would exactly be the kind of mess that all social *anythings* try and avoid, from BBS’s all the way up to Digg.

    I agree — it will be important to see what’s left after it dies down, but if there are no future intentions to place rules to prevent spamming / gaming / flaming / trolling to *encourage* a useful community then, you are right about one thing.

    Celebrity won’t mean a thing.

    tony @ dji

  2. Andy Beard

    Aaron, you should really be careful about all those Feedburner redirect links. 4 of the link above are currently to Feedburner redirects.

  3. Aaron Mentele

    Thanks Andy. Those are corrected.

  4. jdbartlett

    Recapping your SXSW experience, you doubted the business models that run some Web 2.0 services. I’m curious, was advertising/sponsorship intended as a true business model for Truemors, or just a way to support the cost of hosting, etc.?

  5. jdbartlett

    Speaking of the unmattering technology, I’m kinda curious–and suspect the answer is probably very practical and involves things like deadlines and budgets–why Truemors prefers an ol’ fashioned page refresh timeout over Ajaxian magic like Prototype’s Ajax.PeriodicalUpdater.

  6. Aaron Mentele

    Hey JD. You’re right – ajax would make for a nicer refresh. You’re also right with your answer – the current rev was a relatively quick project with most of our time going into the posting mechanisms. We’re still circling back on a number of items (partially out of vanity.) The list just has a way of growing faster than it shrinks.

    You really need to stop by sometime.

  7. Aaron Mentele

    Hi (again) JD. Akismet caught your question regarding advertising. I’ve been a bystander only in the ad revenue conversations. It has the potential to be a significant source of revenue, though.

    I’m, personally, not big on surrounding content with contextual advertising and calling it a business plan. I’d rather focus on getting the service right early, monetizing it late. I had a different opinion a year ago.

  8. Aaron Mentele

    Hey Tony. Akismet caught your comment too (dammit.)

    I’m not interested in one-line, unverified rumors about Paris Hilton, so my interest comes more from the crowdsourcing aspects – volume of posts, authority factors, etc. Day 1 was mobsourcing. That was something else.

    Truemors will continue to evolve and mature as posting “rules” get layered in and the technology continues to become more sophisticated. The mob will tire of blurting. The value of content will increase. But that won’t necessarily make it more interesting to me.