announced a new feature to its website called the Discovery Engine. This leverages the power of its existing automatic ranking algorithms to recommend new information sources to visitors. Along with this new tool comes a completely revamped web page layout that focuses more on the user experience on the site.PostRank today
PostRank has been refining its article ranking algorithms for a few years now, using context gained from shares and comments from various social news sites like Digg and Twitter. As articles gain more buzz, their ranking, relative to other stories in the same feed, moves up or down on a scale from 1 to 10. You can then subscribe to just a subset of the articles in the whole feed, based on their rank. We think PostRank is a great tool and we have written about it many times in the past.
What PostRank has created with the Discovery Engine, though, is completely fresh. This is a new function that the site brings to those looking to find new, great content online. Simply use the search bar at the top of the main page to look for a topic, user name (mine is eng1ne), or feed address. If you choose a topic, for example Twitter, you will be directed to a list of feeds centered around that topic. You can open each feed and look at some of the most popular posts in the feed, and choose to subscribe to it if you like it (requires free login).
Once you have done this a few times, you will have a list of feeds that you can then look at in your favorite feed reader. Once over in the subscriptions area, you can choose what quality of article you prefer seeing for each feed (from all to best). You can also assign your own topics to your feeds, which automatically organizes the feeds into topic lists, like my topic list of Austin blogs. At this point, you can subscribe to this custom feed by topic. Your resulting feed will be a combined river of all the different sources in that topic list.
Finally, PostRank has added a Toluu-like social component where you can discover other people using the service, and choose to follow them and check out what feeds they are subscribed to. The PostRank discovery engine keeps track of how popular feeds are getting, and will take that in to account for their placement in the topic lists as well.
Overall, PostRank has taken a very effective system for selecting only the best content in the topic areas you are interested in, and added a personal curation aspect in the form of users interacting with the system, causing popularity to affect the rankings of the feeds. The only problem is, you may choose to use PostRank feeds to escape too much noise, and end up drowning in quality content instead!