Mixx Democratizes Categories: Something Digg Should Have

In late November I wrote that Digg is still the best online social news voting site online, but upstart Mixx is trying very hard to change this.

Mixx has added groups to their social voting service. The new feature allows for the creation of public groups based on topic area, allowing for free and open categorization of news. For example Mixx users could start a Ron Paul group that only tracks stories about Ron Paul, and Ron Paul fans would then be able to visit this page on Mixx for those links. Digg offers some functionality in this area with friend lists that allows you to track what your friends Digg, but with Mixx, groups are front and center, with popular groups featured on the front page and a link to an index of other groups easily accessible.

“Mixxers” are able to carry on a conversation on the “Soapbox” within each group which is outside of the standard comment areas. Each public group comes with a leader board with daily awards for both the Top Submitter and the “Thought Leader” in that group. And naturally there’s social networking features as well. According to Mixx:

Want to cozy up with other group members (and no, we don’t mean in an “I’m looking for a date” kind of way)? Just browse other Mixxers’ profiles using their avatars.

Group administrators can set a welcome message and create rules for that particular group, and retain control over just how public the group is; Mixx groups can be public or private.

Some groups already functioning on Mixx include Web 2.0 and beyond the terror dome, Best of Flickr, and Cats.

Mixx still has a long way to go in terms of traffic to catch up with Digg, but an impeccable management team, an investment from the LA Times, and innovative features such as what has been announced today certainly help make them a serious competitor in the long term. I’m still a big Digg fan and no doubt many readers will be, but imagine Digg if you could set your own categories. Ubuntu fans would have their own page, although unfortunately the smallest feature or mockup would still make the front page. With a feature like this Digg could even have a page with stories just about Digg, and as we know they are always popular :-)