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June 2007

By RBA - June 22nd, 2007, 0:05, Category: General

I've had to present coRank a couple of times since we launched, and it's always presented with a "Do you want to create your own Digg clone?"

However many people are missing that coRank offers a lot more than that.

Take for example my own little showcase site Northern Lights.

It looks like Digg, someone may land there and feel they're on a "Digg clone", but you see? From my own point of view - and I'm the one who created that site - it is nothing like that.

I'm going to tell you why I created Northern Lights and why it's not a Digg clone at all...

I'm interested in many things. Auroras borealis (or Northern Lights) is not one that drives me nuts, but I like them enough to devote a site to them. Now, I wanted to have a site where I could share this hobby with others.

I could have created a Geocities-like page, or an email list for other enthusiasts to share stuff abut them, but that's just so last century.

I could have created a blog, but I didn't want a site where I could be the only one posting content about auroras. I wanted a space we all could share. Besides, a blog where most content is actually links to other sites isn't quite a blog if you ask me.

Ok, I could have created a wiki. But again, that was't it. If I find something on the web - a nice photo of an aurora, for example - I want to simply submit that to this "site", and yes, that would be my submission. No need for others to edit my link, description, etc.

With coRank however I could create in an instant a site that, whenever I find some good photo or article on the web about auroras - or whenever I feel like writing something about them - I could just "submit" it. And whenever anyone else who also likes this topic, finds something cool as well, they can send it too.

And we all could comment on whatever we send. And yes, we could vote them up or down if we like.

But the purpose here is not to make it to the front page, or even voting. And honestly, if nobody ever visits my Northern Lights site or nobody ever votes, I would still continue submitting whatever cool content I find, because after all, this is something I do because I like this topic, and slowly I'm building my own repository of content about northern lighths.

So what I've done with coRank is to create a site that somehow combines functions you can find in a blog, in Digg, in a wiki and in a bookmarking site. Except that it isn't any of them.

And after having been posting content to my Northern Lights site for a while, I must say I love it. And you know? Nobody has submitted anything else so far, but that's ok. There are just a few votes, but that's just fine, and I don't think I've read any comments, but that's cool too. Of course, it would be great if more people would participate, but right now I'm just happy contributing to a site I like, about something I like, and unlike if I had done this in a blog, the door is open for anyone else to participate, whether by sharing stuff they also find on the web, voting, commenting or however they like.

Yes, the site still looks like Digg, so you could call it a Digg clone for its appearance, but the way I'm using it has nothing to do with it. And in the end, I think that's what really matters. And the best thing is that this is just one way some people - including myself - are using coRank. Others decided to build a HotOrNot for the Orkut population. Others are experimenting as a tool to engage supporters of a presidential hopeful, others as a repository of cool pictures found in Google StreetView, and so on.

And that's why if you visit coRank today, you'll see the heading now goes "Create your own Social Content Network" instead of "Social News", because although it can certainly be about news (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that), it can be about anything.

How are you using coRank?

By RBA - June 16th, 2007, 22:14, Category: General

In the last two days we've rolled out two new features.

  • Site administrators now can change the photo assigned to a story, or simply add a photo to a story that didn't have one. I think this feature is self-explanatory.




  • Site administrators can also change the way the link in the title stories work. Up until now, the link in the story title would always take the user to the original source, out of coRank. Now, a site admin can change this behavior so that in index pages (that's pages that list more than one story, such as the Upcoming, Front Page, etc) the link in the title can take the user to the "View Story" page instea. Then, in the "View Story" page,the link in the title will always point to the original source.

    By default, all links in story titles point to the original source - that's true for existing sites and it's also the default for new sites. To change it, go to the admin pages, option Settings, tab Features and modify the "Story titles in index pages link to..." option.

    Why are we offering this feature?  Several site admins contacted us, all of them with a similar issue. Their users are not at all familiar with other social news sites such as Digg (where the links in titles bring you to the original news sources), so when these users arrive to a site at coRank and see a list of stories, they immediately click on their titles, thinking that they're not leaving coRank but going to a page within coRank with more details about that story. Then oops, they realize that wasn't the case.

    We felt that these admins had a valid usability case, and since one of the things we want is to make easy for everyone to use and understand social news, we decided that by offering this feature to site admins who have an audience that's new to this type of sites, we would in fact make their experience less confusing. Still, it's an option that is disabled by default, so it is entirely up to you to activate it.

And that's it for now. Hopefully we'll be rolling out the first coRank API within the next few days, and as always, we'll announce it right here.

By RBA - June 13th, 2007, 13:55, Category: General

Here's an update regarding what's going on here at coRank.

  • We have added the possibility to add stories automatically to a site from a RSS or ATOM feed. This functionality is still pre-beta. It works pretty well for English feeds, but there are still a few unresolved issues with non-English feeds.

    Because this feature may be easily abused - say, creating a coRank site, adding a feed from a popular blog, and let it run collecting someone else's content and whatever revenue may come from adSense or other ads - for now adding feeds to a coRank site has to be requested manually, and if the feed is from a source that carries someone else's content, we'd like you to add a brief comment explaining why the feed should be added.

  • We found a formatting bug for sites using the Bligg or coDigg templates, when a story was submitted along with a picture. To fix it, please do as follows:

    • Edit your style.css file
    • Look for the class vSBox
    • In that class, delete this:   position: absolute;
    • Add this:   float:left;
    • Now, find the class vSubBigBox
    • If present, remove the "position", "top" and "left" attributes
    • Modify the margin attribute to:  margin: 0 70px 20px 70px;
    • Now find * html img.vAva { ...} and remove completely that block.
  • Related to the previous fix, we moved the adSense block, so instead of appearing at the very right of the screen when viewing a story, it now appears at the top, right below the View Story heading. The main reason for moving the adSense was that by placing it on the right, some people were having formatting problems that weren't easily resolved by tweaking the CSS. By moving it to the top, now the block containing the story has plenty of room and no formatting errors should happen.

    So it isn't a move to obtain a higher click ratio on ads, honestly. Keep in mind anyway that this adSense block alternates our ads with your own adSense (if you entered your own adSense code), so from that point of view, the move might also be advantageous for you. If you have any suggestions, please speak up :-)
That's it for now! We have some really cook features coming up soon, so stay tuned!

By RBA - June 10th, 2007, 11:35, Category: General

Yesterday we reached 5,000 coRankers (5,107 at the time of this writing)!! Or if you don't like being called odd names, 5,000 people with an active account! ;-)

Sure, it's not one of those crazy numbers that we hear from some other sites, who get that amount times 10 in a day, but who cares! Considering we have just got started and our engine hasn't even warmed up, we think it's amazing!

Also, in barely 2-3 weeks of life since we launched the "build your own coRank site" service, already over 700 sites have been created!

It's no secret that many of those sites are merely a try-out and their owners, rather than being driven by a passion, an interest or simply something they enjoy, will likely leave them there collecting dust (note: eventually we may purge sites that have had no activity in several months - with a warning in advance of course), but it's also really exciting to see how some people not only are making their sites something more useful or entertaining day by day, whether submitted items collect many votes or not, but also to see that some people are using coRank in ways even we didn't think it coutd be used. I'll be writing about that soon.

And since the number of sites is increasing and we dont' want to miss any cool ones, if you've created a site and would like to have it featured in our home page, please let me know by either leaving a comment here, or via our contact page.

Social news (or social aggregators, social knowledge networks or however you want to call it) is starting to reach every corner of the net, and here at coRank we want to do our share to make it happen. There's so much more to come!!

Thank you all for your support.

By RBA - June 8th, 2007, 9:15, Category: General

I'm happy to announce (yes, I really am happy, I'm not just using a canned PR intro)  that we have now the first inception of the coRank Localization Kit, available here: http://www.corank.com/ext/coRank_L10n_Kit_v1.0.zip

[ UPDATE: The v1.0 of the localization kit above is outdated. If you decide to start the translation, please check with us so we'll provide you with the latest version ]

This first kit contains the most basic elements to localize coRank to whatever language you like, but it lacks a comprehensive documentation as well as a glossary. Hopefully, future versions of this kit will cover that ground.

The only thing I would like to ask everyone is that if you would like to localize coRank to a particular language, first download the kit and take a look at it, and if you're still up to the task, then please let us know first (use the form at http://www.corank.com/contact-sales.html) and only start after we give you the "go". The reason for letting us know in advance is twofold: First, we want to avoid having two (or more) people working on the very same thing. Second, should more than one person volunteer to localize coRank to the same language, it may be an opportunity to split the work.

The kit contains a bit over 200 HTML template files, 9 email messages and 24 string files. I haven't done a word count, but I would expect the work to take at least 15 to 20 hours, not including proof-reading.

Any questions, you can either use our contact form or just leave a comment right here.

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