Mixx To Cluster Related Stories – Digg Should Have Done This

Digg competitor Mixx continues to impress us with new features (although the exodus of Digg users to them may have been short lived).

A new feature launches this week on Mixx called Related Items. It solves a common problem found on Digg and other sites where multiple articles on the same story compete with each other to get to the home page. One person may submit a story from USAToday. Another may submit basically the same story but from the Washington Post. Those stories are tracked separately on Digg, and votes are split between them as users discover them. The result is that the story takes longer to get to the home page than it otherwise should. Or worse, both make it and the story is duplicated. Digg catches duplicate submission for the exact same link, but they are unable to determine if stores are related.

The Related Items feature on Mixx flags a submission when it thinks that a story is similar. A message appears that says “We may already have this story! Or at least one startling similar. Take a look at the stories below.” The user submitting the related story can then choose to submit it anyway, or add it as a related item to the previous submission. Digg also flags stories that may be similar to other submissions, but does not offer the ability to cluster the new story to the old ones.

There is a benefit to the submitter in adding the story to the previous submission because the new story will be added, too (and traffic will flow). Users benefit because they get more information and perspectives on the story. Here’s a screen shot of how the clustering will look (click for bigger view):

The clustering that will occur from this will very much resemble TechMeme, which is a great way to quickly find multiple perspectives on the news.

Mixx, which is backed by Intersouth Partners and the LA Times, is still a tiny blip compared to competitors like Digg and Reddit. Comscore says Digg has 12 million unique monthly visitors, compared to about a million on Reddit. Mixx? They’ve got just 45,000. That’s probably a low count, since newer and smaller sites are much harder for Comscore to measure. but they have a long, long way to go before they are even no. 2 in this market. The company was founded by Chris McGill.