Jul 20 2007
The difficulty in getting posts “dugg” is well lamented by bloggers. Too often one measly digger can get a popular post “buried” because he or she disagrees with its content.
I really liked the feel of Sphinn (if the logo looks a little familiar, that’s probably because it’s a spin off (pun intended) of Search Engine Land) . As of a day ago there were a thousand registered users, and Danny Sullivan is the man behind it all.
I suppose it IS another “digg clone”, in that you vote (sphinn) for posts which then become popular (”hot topics”). But Sphinn is aimed at a niche market. As you can see from the screen shot below, Sphinn has various categories that posts can be submitted to (with sub-categories under these). Digg, in contrast, has a broad range of general categories, and a large number of blog posts would fall into “Tech Industry News”.
At Sphinn there are categories for Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Search Marketing, Social Media, Online Marketing, Searching and Other. It’s easy to drill down and see what’s popular in the subcategories too. Below is an example of the subcategories of “Social Media”.
After having a look around and reading the submission guidelines, I decided to try submitting one of my posts (Beginners Guide to StumbleUpon) in the “Bookmarking” subcategory. The post made the “Hot Topics” list (I guess getting in early has its benefits, as there’s not much competition ).
I can’t compare it to digg or reddit traffic, because I’ve never had any success there, but I had 157 visitors from Sphinn in 48 hours, 33 “Sphinns”, 10 comments on the Sphinn site, another couple of comments on the post, and two trackbacks.
What I can’t work out is how the “hot” list is displayed - it doesn’t appear to be either chronological or by popularity. But perhaps there’s a reason for the seemingly “random” display.
The website has only been actively in beta for a week or so but there’s already dissension. Tanner Christensen described Sphinn as a popularity contest, whereby he comments
Unfortunately, because the big named marketers are already “big named marketers” it’s hard for anyone new to SEO or marketing to stand out from the crowd.
Hardly anyone is using the comments feature to share their opinions. In big topics a few comments can be seen - roughly 20 or so - but even on articles with 10 or 20+ Sphinns there are zero comments.
I’d have to disagree from my experience. I’m NOT a “big named marketer”, and I think the response was pretty good.
Like any community site, Sphinn has a profile page, which displays a number of fields (including your links to other social media and forum profiles), your blog URL, and links to your last 3 posts. If you see a sphinner that interests you, you can “stalk them”. I’m not sure of that terminology, but I daresay everyone will take it as being “tongue in cheek”. Reciprocal stalking makes someone a friend (or you can add them directly from your “stalkers” page). You can also track items you’ve submitted, “gone hot”, your comments, the Sphinns you’ve made, and of course your friends, stalkees and stalkers.
And of course there’s already a facility to add Sphinn to your WordPress blog.
I can see myself hanging around Sphinn, as it’s a great way to find posts about topics I’m interested in. I especially like the way they’re classified, which for me, makes it much more relevant than Digg. But I daresay like any community, you’ll only get out of it as much as you put in.