Stealthy Startup Mixx Launches Into Private Beta

Mixx is a startup we’ve been watching for the last few weeks. They’ve been extremely quiet about their service until very recently. And since they are located well outside of Silicon Valley, in Virginia, they’ve been able to stay below the radar despite their high profile founder: Chris McGill, formerly the General Manager of Yahoo News and more recently the VP Strategy at USA Today.

McGill’s experience with new media news at Yahoo and old media at USA Today may serve his new startup, which launches into private beta this evening, well. Mixx is a new social news site. To put it into context, it’s a sort of cross between Digg, LinkedIn and MyYahoo. In a nutshell, its a social network that lets you find and share news based on your interests and location.

One aspect of the service – each user has a customized Digg-like experience, effectively creating smaller niche versions of the popular social news site. That means niche publishers get to play, too. Today they are largely shut out of Digg. But popular stories from more obscure topics can get traffic traction through Mixx. Stories, video and photos can all be bookmarked.

And Mixx hopes to partner with those publishing partners to provide easy bookmarking links back to Mixx. That will drive traffic back and forth, with both sides theoretically winning.

Each user gets a customized home page with news items that Mixx thinks you’ll find relevant. There are also links to overall popular stories, as well as categorized stuff like business, sports and health. Users can also create and join topical based groups, which allow them to further refine the news they submit and receive.

Will Mixx win? I think it’s a worthy experiment. Entrepreneurs have been trying to crack the personalized news nut for years, with a string of failures. At some point someone will get the model right. New sites like Thoof are trying their own independent experiments, too. Other services that we’ve covered that have entered this space in one way or another include Searchfox (deadpool, assets acquired by Yahoo), Findory (deadpool), Spotback (change in strategy) and Feeds 2.0.

Mixx launches tonight into private beta. Sign up on their home page to participate – they’ll be letting in users over the next few weeks in preparation for a full launch.