Debatewise, a UK-based startup for decision-making around any issue, has gone into public beta. They are aiming to be the “Wikipedia for debate”. This former entrant in September’s Seedcamp competition puts the for and against arguments alongside each-other in a vertical column and plans to sell the resulting debates as market research to consumer trends companies and targeted advertising. Start a debate about Mercedes Vs BMWs and I guess one of the two brands could appear in the ad slot.
David Crane, founder and CEO of Debatewise says people are no longer trust neutrality and look for opposing points of view to make up their mind. To drum up interest in creating a debate and make sure tumbleweeds don’t blow through the site Debatewise is launching with a competition to win a MacBook Air, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPod.
I like Debatewise’s interface. But unfortunately I feel their business model is rapidly running out of road, to put it mildly. The ‘conversation’ about any subject is now so massively distributed across blogs, Twitter, social networks, status updates, old fashioned forums, email lists, you name it, that trying to create a single portal which tries to manually draw in people to debate something feels more like a Web 1.0 model than anything else. The startups seriously addressing this space are not creating portals but things like an API to aggregate blog feeds and commenting, Favorit being a case in point. Debatewise would be better off trying to go for ‘the Digg of decisions’ or similar maybe – a social bookmarking engine for controversy? Who knows, but I’m pretty sure it’s not this portal model. I’m hoping the affable Crane will take this on board and re-engineer the site accordingly.