Social sites with user contribution is the current trend on the internet. Thoof promises to be something new and different where the focus is on personalized news.
Instead of showing stuff which the editors like, like TechCrunch which gave a positive review of Thoof or AskStudent or fully community based sites such as Digg or Reddit, Thoof readers will see something which the algorithm thinks you will like. While the news submissions are user based, what you will see on your page will be catered to your interests based on the kind of sites you submit or the kind of links you click on at Thoof. Thoof uses an algorithm to ‘learn’ what you like and don’t like which ultimately drives the type of content that appears on your personalized Thoof home page.
Thoof has recently come out of beta and while there are a few minors improvements that can be made, overall this seems to be a personalized news startup and definitely seems to have the potential to succeed where others have failed.
Unlike popular social sites such as Digg where a good story might end up being buried because of say lack of a proper title or description, Thoof readers can update the titles or description.
At Thoof, all the content such as interesting news articles, websites, photos, videos and any other links from all over the web are posted by Thoof readers. Thoof’s niche from other similar social networking news and content providers is that over time using their sophisticated algorithms discovers a reader’s interests and tailors the content of the site and presents personalized news and stories that cater to that particular user’s interests.
News is submitted by users in a Digg-like fashion. A link to a news item is submitted, along with a title, description and tags. Other users start to see the news item if Thoof determines they will like it. However, submissions can be easily be edited by other users who think there is something lacking. Any aspect of the news item can be changed, including the link, in a wiki-like fashion (see screen shot above and to left). Other users will see the change and be asked to vote on it. If enough users say yes, the changes stand. Otherwise, it reverts back to the previous submission.
There is no big signup process where all you need to submit is a valid email id and a password and you are all set. You can even set a custom user name. Once you submit a story, you get a badge which shows the current popularity of the story you just submitted. With Thoof, every story submitted gets a fair and reasonable chance to prove itself. It is much more difficult to game the system, and thus Thoof gives stories more of a chance to compete on their real value. This is good for the reader, because they see true high-quality stories, and is fairer to story submitters as well.
Some improvements I can see in Thoof is that
a. Allow for further categorization besides tags like some basic broad cateogies like Technology, Politics, Pictures, Videos etc.
b. Allow for users to bury a story. This is useful if there is spam or a duplicate story pops up.
c. Allow users to save history of not just the sites they submitted but also the sites they clicked on as a bookmark similar to Digg.
d. Allow for multiple tag addition by separating tags with commas instead of clicking on the plus sign for each tag
Overall, Thoof is a bit rough on the edges but definitely promises to deliver where others have failed.