Aug 31 2007

Social News Aggregation in Australia

If you’re very active on the internet (particularly the blogosphere), you’ve probably heard of a website called Digg.

Digg allows members to submit, vote and comment on news items, and is one of the most popular sites on the internet. Digg is classified as a social bookmarking site for news. It also incorporates social networking to a degree, in that people are able to make friends and follow what their friends are “digging”.

Of course, like many popular sites, it’s very US-centric, and attracts criticism that a small percentage of members are defining what is “popular”.

So let me ask you some questions.

  • Do you look for local content?
  • Do you find local content hard to find?
  • Are you looking for exposure within a local audience?
  • Do you want to see what’s popular with Australians?
  • Do you want to be quickly immersed in local relevant content?
  • Do you want to level the playing field between traditional and web 2.0 style media in Australia?

Australia your wake up call

So, if you answered “YES” to any or all of the answers above – have I got some websites for you! Presenting the top Australian, up and coming, pligg based social news aggregating websites.

Confer News Sharing and Discussion

Here’s what confer is all about:

Confer is the Australian web site where you can share news, articles and interesting content that you find on the web. Members of Confer can discuss submitted articles, share views and vote on submissions. Articles are promoted to the front page based on popularity (member votes) creating, in effect, an online news channel powered by the community.

It’s a great way to discover content on the web and also have your say on the latest issues in the news.

Confer has the following categories to add news items; Autos, Business, Environment, Food, Health/Fitness, Humor, Gadgets & IT, Jobs/Careers, Money, Movies/TV, Music, News, Online Videos, Politics, Real Estate, Science, Sport, Travel.

Confer is a very new site with a couple of dozen members. They have just produced a short video outlining the service. The site allows members to make friends and subscribe to an RSS feed of new entries.

Dan Walsh from Kwoff writes

We are in the final throes of launching and are hoping to expand the minds of mainstream surfers who only dip into one or two mastheads only.

We think social media can open the minds of the average web user to the depth of content that exists in .AU (blogs, photos, video and audio – we know a lot of superior Australian content exists)

Our initial focus includes Politics/Business and Culture.

I’d invite anyone intersted to drop in and give us their opinion in our final beta week –

Kwoff have the following categories; General, Business & Finance, Politics, Humour, Environment, Sport, Culture, Mind & Body, Technology, Entertainment, Miscellaneous.

As with Confer, you can add friends and subscribe to new entries by RSS feed, and also new entries within a category.


Laurel writes:

There is NO Bloggerati. Just a bunch of people posting up stuff. That’s how the blogosphere works. Level playing field and all that. Bloggerati, is a web application that allows you to submit an article about Australia and Web 2.0 that will be reviewed by all and will be promoted, based on popularity, to the main page. When a member submits a news article it will be placed in the “unpublished” area until it gains sufficient votes to be promoted to the main page.

Categories on Bloggerati; Women 2.0 Australia & NZ, Media articles – SMH etc.,Australian Web 2.0 Apps, Social Networks for Australians, Blogs – Australia and New Zealand, Corporate Blogs or Wikis – Australia, Widgets Gadgets Snippets – Australian, Accessibility for ALL Australians, Job/Careers 2.0 pls tag ‘available’ or ‘wanted’, Articles about this site, Humour Jokes, Virtual Worlds & MMORPGs – Australia, Mobile Phone 2.0 – Australia, Venture Capital & Investment – Australia, Books – Web 2.0 Australia, Podcasts from Australia, U SUCK!! Web 2.0 Stupidity, Personalities, Events/Conferences 2.0 in Australia.

Bloggerati also allows you to add friends, subscribe to new entries via RSS feed and there is a forum too. So far bloggerati has attracted 55 members.

Red Ruby Financial News

Redruby is an Australian financial news site. Articles on Redruby are submitted by the Redruby community. The articles that you vote to have the most impact on financial markets are promoted to the home page.

Members vote on whether they think the item will have a positive or negative effect on the subject company’s share price. Only articles about Australian companies may be submitted, and they list a number of industries. This is an example of one of the widgets.

Redruby voting widget

I haven’t signed up for Redruby, so I’m not sure if it has the social functions of the others, but they do have an RSS feed for new articles.

Too Right

Too Right is “a user moderated news source on Australian politics”. Categories used are “federal” and the various states. The site has RSS feeds, and I’m assuming the ability to add friends (I haven’t signed up). It has attracted around 15 users, and is in its infancy.


Flyblown is a human powered all Aussie search engine. What’s that mean? Well, it means that you submit the sites and you vote for them. The sites that get the most votes are the sites that are at the top. We don’t rely on some “secret” mathematical formula at Flyblown, we rely on YOU!

I’ve included flyblown, as it’s very typically Aussie, though it only has half a dozen members, and seems not to have been very active lately.

Patrick stopped by in the comments to let me know about newly released (not the (now defunct) blog). The site has attracted a small handful of members.

Ausculture appears to operate pretty much like the previously mentioned sites and has the following categories; general, gossip, work, movies, music, sport, tv, web, health, politics.

It was remiss of me not to mention PerthNorg initially (a “norg” is a news organisation). While not powered by Pligg, it is an original news aggregating and voting site in Australia, which has recently celebrated its first birthday.

Obviously, the site is aimed at the Perth community, though many of the stories have national appeal. Community members are able to register as “Cit J”s.

PerthNorg is a user empowered news site that gives citizen journalists (you!) editorial control. Every news item on PerthNorg is a submission from the Norg community by either creating it, sourcing it, ranking or commenting on it.

Categories include news, sport, business, entertainment, technology and lifestyle, and the site has recently added free classifieds. Its design is sleek and professional.


With the exception of Redruby (and obviously PertNorg), the other sites all have a very similar template, albeit with customisation. Essentially, if you can work one site, you shouldn’t have a problem with the others.

Obviously we have a limited audience in Australia, so it helps that these sites have a different focus. At a glance, redruby (financial), bloggerati (web 2.0) and too right (politics) are each targeting a specific niche. Kwoff maintain their focus will be on politics, business and culture. Confer and seem more geared to lifestyle, recreation and entertainment.

But what strikes me is that without community involvement (i.e. this means YOU) these sites won’t pick up critical mass, which is obviously important to their success.

Rod from Confer points out:

  • the sites are complementary to a cause
  • the more there are hopefully lessens the desire to head to overseas sites
  • If you’re writing local content, sites like digg etc. probably are not going to bring you much joy

Most of these sites are new and like any social site the community that grows there will create the culture, so again some may like one site and not the other. It’s critical that there are many of them for the overall growth of the Australian online social experience.


Please let me know if I’ve missed any sites, and any feedback is welcomed.

So what are you waiting for? Support the local ‘sphere – GET INVOLVED!

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Social News Aggregation in Australia”

  1. Laurel Papworthon 01 Sep 2007 at 7:10 pm

    A nice roundup Meg. :)
    For me, there is an ‘incubation’ period – I expect to baby Bloggerati for a while, particularly because it is such a niche (web 2.0) area. The other sites will be in the same situation unless they have a budget (I don’t, it’s just a weekend, spare time thing) and may want to polish a few areas – backstory and accessibility are two – but they look very pretty. Particularly tooright site! *laughs* (tooright and bloggerati both have the same default template atm)

    The Digg-model lends itself very to small niches – the number of members isn’t important but the commitment of a few is crucial. Intriguing way to find and consume news, isn’t it? And even more so because Google LOVES this type of high-turnover front page sites. And they, in turn, drive traffic and raise the standing of linked-to sites. I hope people do read, vote or even submit news to these sites. Thanks for the mention Megalicious! :)

  2. Patrickon 02 Sep 2007 at 1:42 am

    Was this only Pligg powered sites? There’s always PerthNorg.

    Also, the homepage (not the blog) has recently jumped on the bandwagon.

  3. Megon 02 Sep 2007 at 9:57 am

    Hi Laurel

    I’ve noticed Google picking up bloggerati stories very nicely.


    Thanks for letting me know about I’ll add it in to the post. While I had intended to focus on pligg based sites, should also be included. Many thanks :)

  4. Ottavioon 03 Sep 2007 at 6:33 am

    Great post, and good summary of local resources, I have subscribed to your feed.
    I answered yes to your six questions above. I have found it difficult to engage a aussie audience through my blog, perhaps the like of Confer will assist.

  5. Megon 04 Sep 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Ottavio

    Many thanks for dropping by, and subscribing! I hope you find these services valuable.

  6. Sueon 04 Sep 2007 at 1:46 pm

    This is wonderful, Meg. I was unaware of some of these. Thank you.

  7. Megon 04 Sep 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks Sue – I hope you find them useful :)

  8. Clinton 10 Sep 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Good to see more and more local news sites popping up :)

    At Loconut we’ve focussed exclusively on WA news, with an emphasis on offbeat, culture, science and entertainment stories.

  9. Suzie Cheelon 17 Sep 2007 at 10:20 am

    Wow Meg, what a list, wasn’t aware of most of these, so thanks for sharing this- now where do I find the time to read etc

  10. Megon 17 Sep 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Suzie – yes, the million dollar question – where to find the time…. Glad you found it useful :)

  11. Luke McCallumon 25 Sep 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Hey Meg, I so wanted to comment on this post when you published it but I had to hold my tongue. Until now!

    We have just launched in beta a new social news portal, with a twist, once we complete and launch beta 2 anyone who publishes an articlee will earn 25% of the revenue generated by their article. On top of that anyone who publishes media such as an image or, in beta 2, audio/video, will also earn 25% of the ad revenue for the article that their media appears on.

    If you published both the article and media you get the whole 50%!

    Check it out!

  12. […] Walsh sent me an update on kwoff (which I covered recently) , announcing the media partners, who could not be named earlier, as Stephen Mayne and Greg Barns […]

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