Digg competitor Mixx landed another big distribution deal. CNN.com will be adding a “Mixx It” button after every article on the site. This will be right next to the “e-mail” and “share” buttons. Last March, the Mixx bookmark button was adopted by the New York Times, but only as one of many options. Similarly, when CNN.com readers click on the “share” button, they have the option to send the story to Digg, Facebook, del.icio.us, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. But Mixx will be highlighted as a separate button, apart from the regular share options.
The deal with CNN could give a huge boost to Mixx’s small-but-growing membership base of 500,000 registered users (and between 70,000 and 180,000 monthly unique visitors, depending on which measurement service you look at). CNN.com has 22 million monthly uniques in the U.S., according to comScore (and 30 million worldwide). CNN.com readers who decide to Mixx their stories will be able to bypass Mixx’s registration process when they get taken to the site so that they can browse immediately. They will still have to register, however, to save a story or set up a personal Mixx page.
For CNN, the appeal of Mixx might have something to do with the fact that Mixx really lets readers get extremely granular in their interests. Categories are based on tags, with already 300,000 different tags on Mixx. So if you are interested in Alzheimer’s, for instance, you can add that tag to your personalized Mixx page or search for stories explicitly categorized with that tag. On Digg and other social news sites, you can search for stories about Alzheimer’s also, but there is no Alzheimer’s category. Notes Mixx CEO Chris McGill:
When you are looking at Yahoo Buzz or Redditt or Digg, they are really playing a one-size fits all game. All the stories are just shooting for the popular board.
Mixx, he thinks, can do a better job to help you find and share stories around your particular interests, no matter how obscure they may be. Of course, to gain all the benefits of such a system, you have to be willing to do a little more work in setting up your preferences. And, ultimately, the quality of the stories you find on Mixx will depend on the quality (and number) of submissions. With 13.3 million monthly visitors adding and voting stories on Digg, that is going to be a very difficult network effect to overcome. But if Mixx can convince enough CNN readers to join its bookmarking club, it could survive become a solid Digg alternative, or at least survive long enough to get bought.