Newsvine was acquired by MSNBC, the Microsoft/NBC joint venture. The site had launched publicly in March 2006 and was considered to be one of the best designed new breed of 'web 2.0' news sites. Features include user-generated content, reputation, voting, comments, friends lists, tags, and more.Two years ago social news site
At the time of the sale, Newsvine was promising to integrate some of those web 2.0 features into the main MSNBC properties. CEO Mike Davidson told ReadWriteWeb in 2007 that "over the next few years, Newsvine technology and content will make its way onto msnbc.com, and vice-versa where it makes sense." Has that actually occured? Let's check in with Newsvine to find out.
Newsvine is a "Citizen Journalism" site; a news publication built using the voices and recommendations of ordinary citizens. It also syndicates content from its parent company MSNBC, Associated Press and others. Newsvine has a lot in common with social news sites like Digg and Slashdot - only it has more mainstream topics.
Slow Development, But Keeping Abreast of Trends
What's new at Newsvine circa 2009? There is nothing overly different from what we saw in 2007, but the site continues to look elegant and is still packed with social features.
Newsvine appears to have kept up with current trends - we noted today a Real-Time Web feature, called Newsvine LIVE. This is a rapidly scrolling view of emerging stories, displayed as a pane on the right-hand side of the homepage.
However as with many startups that get acquired by big companies, the pace of development at Newsvine slowed considerably after being bought. A scan of the Newsvine blog this year doesn't show much development. There was some administrative work done on groups and a hook-up with Facebook. Not much else is noted in the blog, although Newsvine has been active in developing widgets for sites like Netvibes and Yahoo.
Mike Davidson blogged in August that "things, for the most part, are going swimmingly [at Newsvine]." He admitted though that "building technologies and services for msnbc.com has slowed our development efforts on newsvine.com a bit, for the time being."
When we last spoke to Newsvine, in July 2007 just prior to its acquisition, Newsvine was getting about 1.2 million unique visitors per month. It was said to be growing at an average rate of 46% per quarter. The top topics in Newsvine in mid-07 were Politics and Technology, echoing the popular topics in the blogosphere of that time.
Traffic over the past year at Newsvine has been fairly flat, at least according to Compete - which puts the US unique visitors at around 1.2 million and shows little growth.
However in an August 2009 post, Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson claimed that Newsvine now gets "over 4 million uniques a month." So perhaps Compete's statistics are too low (which wouldn't be the first time).
All seems fine and dandy at Newsvine, despite slow development of new features on the site.
However, as yet there is little evidence of Newsvine functionality on MSNBC sites - certainly the readers don't contribute much content to them. Hopefully we see more of that over the coming year, as Mike Davidson did say integration would occur "over the next few years" back in 2007.
Overall, it's good to see that Newsvine's community is still relatively vibrant. As of time of writing, a story entitled 'Dick Cheney was a Lying, Treasonous Coward' has 239 comments. Evidence that it is an MSNBC site after all!