News site Spotback has created a new widget that lets blogs and other sites gather user ratings on each piece of content. The product has launched on a few test sites, and will be available for anyone who wants to use it soon.
The original Spotback, like the ill fated Findory, is a customized news site that pushes stories to you based on what you’ve clicked on (and rated) previously. Stories That service is still available at news.spotback.com.
The new product, however, brings the Spotback ratings and other features directly to blogs and other sites, with the goal of generating more user interaction with the site.
Publishers include the widget code on their site, which has a number of options. There is a ratings slider very similar to the Spotback news site, as well as the ability for readers to tag the story. These tags generate linked lists of related articles on the site based on those tags. See the screenshot below to see how it looks.
This isn’t just for blogs, either. Photo sharing sites, for example, could include the widget to allow for photo ratings and tagging.
Spotback is centralizing user feedback as well. The first time a user rates or tags a story, that data is stored on a dedicated profile page for them back at Spotback. That page will also recommend content to them from other sites based on those ratings.
There are plenty of WordPress and other plugins that do this as well, although none of them have the centralized profile page for users to keep track of their rated content. If enough blogs add this to their site, Spotback could reach the critical mass needed to be successful.
I plan on adding this to TechCrunch as a test when the service is stable. To see an example of a site that has included the functionality now during the alpha stage, see here and here. Sign up on the Spotback home page to be notified of a general launch.