Another Personalized News Site Bites The Dust

When Thoof launched in July 2007 a lot of people gave it a good chance of success despite the fact that it was entering into the dreaded personalized news space. Sure, the market was littered with failed startups, but Thoof was founded by former Revver cofounder Ian Clarke, and was well backed by Austin Ventures, Ron Conway and others.

Thoof aimed to deliver tailored news by looking at what you click on, and nothing else (vote buttons and other tools weren’t a true indicator of intent, Clarke argued). From our first post on Thoof:

Thoof determines what you like based solely on what stories you click on to read. Asking for specific feedback, like voting or rating of stories, is too much to ask of users, Clarke says, noting that only a very small percentage of people who watched videos on Revver ever actually rated them. By analyzing what you tend to click on, Thoof will return results that it thinks you are more likely to click on than others. The result, over time, is a perfectly tailored news page for an individual.

The site peaked in October, but by January the wheels were coming off the car. We heard at that time that the company would continue to limp along and see what happened. But in the last couple of days the site has been redirected to Reddit, and Clarke officially moved on to another project in April.

We’ve asked Clarke and Austin Ventures for a comment, but it’s pretty clear Thoof is in the deadpool, joining competitors like Searchfox (deadpool, assets acquired by Yahoo), Findory (deadpool), Spotback (change in strategy) and Feeds 2.0 (no idea what their status is, site is live).