Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy.

We all love to prove that we’ve been granted the gift of foresight, either through our wealth of knowledge or more fantastical means, like The Force. In the last year or so major websites have been trying to capitalize on this by introducing “prediction markets”, which allow readers to make guesses about upcoming events ranging from hot news items to celebrity gossip, and also generally significantly increase page views and engagement.

Today sees the public launch of a new prediction site called Nostradamical (named after the well-known seer) which is emphasizing the social nature of making predictions. Users initiate predictions in articles similar to brief blog pots, where they can include videos, photos, and text describing why they think something will happen and why it is important.

Once a prediction has been created, other users can leave their own thoughts and use a Digg-like voting system to raise the most interesting predictions to the top, and can also syndicate their predictions to FriendFeed and Twitter. Users that are the most accurate gain points (called ‘Future Minutes’), and can rise in ranking on a 7-level pyramid.

Nostradamical has a fairly attractive and intuitive interface, and some users may enjoy the emphasis on community. But I think the likely winners in this space will be the ones that can integrate into other sites – prediction markets seem like more of an added feature than a standalone community (Nostradamical is going to offer applications on social networks to expand its reach). And the site is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some major content providers.