LA Times and Mixx: Don’t get it

by Mathew on December 4, 2007 · 11 comments

So as Matt Marshall reports at VentureBeat today, the Los Angeles Times has taken a stake in Mixx — a relatively new Digg-style social-bookmarking site whose main claim to fame is that Mike Arrington recently said that people were leaving Digg to go there — and will integrate Mixx buttons into its site in the same way that the Wall Street Journal recently added Digg buttons to its news stories.

I have to admit that I don’t really get why the Times would do this (the paper has apparently bought a stake in the site as well). Don’t get me wrong — I’m in favour of having social-bookmarking tools integrated in a news site, whether it’s Digg or Mixx or Stumbleupon or del.icio.us or whatever. I think that’s a smart thing to do, because it encourages people to submit your stories to those sites, which can increase traffic and (hopefully) readership as well. But why get into bed with Mixx?

Some people — like my friend Jason at Webomatica and Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web — like Mixx, and I will admit that the site has a nice, clean look. But the fact is that Digg is still orders of magnitude larger. If you do a Compete.com chart of the two, Mixx is a flat line. The top most-recommended stories or links on Mixx have about 20 votes, while the top stories on Digg routinely get more than 2,000 votes.

Is the LA Times betting that somehow Mixx will become the next Digg? Or is it just looking for a social-bookmarking site to cozy up to because everyone else is doing it? Or maybe the paper is interested because the company includes a former USA Today exec, a former Associated Press exec and a former Yahoo exec. Either way, I don’t see what there is to be gained by picking one social tool over the others.

  • http://abcdefu.wordpress.com/ chimneydials

    I agree with you on “Either way, I don’t see what there is to be gained by picking one social tool over the others.” In the end, after any social media becomes big, it will eventually become like Digg. So, the only way to create a better social media site is to have something that is completely open, transparent and owned by the community.

    http://abcdefu.wordpress.com/2007/12/01/open-so

  • http://www.launchsquad.com/blogs/exclamation Adam Metz

    Matt, you may want to leave a comment on Exclamation this morning.

  • Corey

    I'd take a bit of a different view. I think it's great that newspaper companies are finally trying to establish themselves on the Web in a real way – beyond their own sites and content. If you pull back a bit and just look at the fact that newspapers are finally getting involved in investing in Web-based properties, that's fairly exciting.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I think you are right, Corey — and I believe Adam made the same point
    on the Exclamation blog at LaunchSquad. I definitely think it's good
    to see a paper like the LA Times thinking about and getting involved
    in social media — I'm just not sure that an investment in Mixx makes
    a whole lot of sense, that's all.

  • Pingback: Los Angeles Times Takes Equity Stake in Mixx, Integrates with LATimes.com

  • http://www.spot.us digidave

    More annoying than that: Mixx is going to highlight LA Times articles in their search results – as an active social bookmarker – I find that offensive.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I agree, Dave. I can see why the paper would want that (and I'm sure
    that's part of the reason for the investment) but I think it
    denigrates the quality or trustworthiness of the overall index.

  • Edith Far

    Actually, mixx.com refutes the conclusion that Matt Marshall made about the deal between mixx and LATimes. I think Marshall performed some pretty amateurish reporting from a guy that claims to be a journalist. Rule one is don't publish anything but facts. Marshall didn't bother to confirm what mixx was doing with search results. Since then, it spread across the blogosphere when its JUST wrong. People who blogged this incorrectly SHOULD go back and publish a retraction but hey, that would be responsible journalism. So David Cohn, are you correcting your mis-statments? or leaving them out there?

    I love Mixx, the mixx experience. I found a nice home there after getting banned without explanation from Digg. They respond to feedback and listen to their users!

  • Edith Far

    BTW, I think maybe the LATimes (and a LOT of other people) would like to travel back in time and invest in Digg while the getting was good–if this pays off and Mixx grows to get even half the size of Digg, they will make a nice bit o cash. After all, aren't they saying Digg could sell for 300 million? It didn't say that LATimes gave mixx money. so it sounds pretty low-risk from them, and the payoff could be huge. I gues time will tell

  • Edith Far

    Actually, mixx.com refutes the conclusion that Matt Marshall made about the deal between mixx and LATimes. I think Marshall performed some pretty amateurish reporting from a guy that claims to be a journalist. Rule one is don't publish anything but facts. Marshall didn't bother to confirm what mixx was doing with search results. Since then, it spread across the blogosphere when its JUST wrong. People who blogged this incorrectly SHOULD go back and publish a retraction but hey, that would be responsible journalism. So David Cohn, are you correcting your mis-statments? or leaving them out there?

    I love Mixx, the mixx experience. I found a nice home there after getting banned without explanation from Digg. They respond to feedback and listen to their users!

  • Edith Far

    BTW, I think maybe the LATimes (and a LOT of other people) would like to travel back in time and invest in Digg while the getting was good–if this pays off and Mixx grows to get even half the size of Digg, they will make a nice bit o cash. After all, aren't they saying Digg could sell for 300 million? It didn't say that LATimes gave mixx money. so it sounds pretty low-risk from them, and the payoff could be huge. I gues time will tell

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