We have surely seen our fair share of Digg-style social news sites over the last few years. The latest entrant into this market is Vanno, which puts an interesting and novel spin onto the social news experience. Unlike other social news sites, Vanno's focus is exclusively on news stories about companies and Vanno then uses its community's votes to calculate a company's reputation.

Vanno is still in private beta testing, but we were able to get 500 invites for our readers. You can find a link to the sign-up page at the end of this post.

Features

Vanno's basic feature set is comparable to that of other social news sites like Digg, Reddit, or Mixx. You get to vote stories up or down, search for companies, comment on stories, and you can filter your stories by popular or upcoming submissions. Vanno also provides a separate RSS feed for every company in its index.

As Vanno is still pretty new, a lot of companies are not yet associated with a lot of stories, though the Vanno team and the early beta testers have done a good job at seeding the index with stories. Vanno also displays a set of basic information about every company, including information about its employees' political contributions.

It should be noted, however, that Vanno's focus is clearly on the U.S. for now.

Submitting Stories

Vanno uses a bookmarklet for all the major browser for submitting stories to the site. However, submitting stories to Vanno is a bit more complicated than submitting a story to Digg or FriendFeed. With every submission, the submitter also has to identify the aspects of the company's reputation that is discussed in the story, as well as whether the story strengthens or damages a company's reputation.

Reputation Index

The core feature of Vanno, besides the social news aspects, is clearly the 'Company Reputation Index,' though Vanno doesn't detail how it calculates these numbers exactly (besides vaguely referring to Bayesian statistics in its FAQ).

This 'Reputation Index' is broken down into a few main categories: Community involvement, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, environment, patriotism, and social responsibility.

For now, it is hard to tell how realistic these reputation scores are, as there are simply not enough votes and stories in the system yet.

Verdict and Invites

Vanno definitely looks like an interesting experiment. Overall, its feature set is very complete and the only feature we really missed was an embeddable widget with company information.

As is typical for social news sites in their early stages, Vanno's success will depend on how many users will start submitting stories. If you would like to get involved, Vanno has given us 500 invitations for our readers. Just head over to Vanno's sign-up page and claim yours.