Aggregators: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Portrait shot of Adriana Huffington

For Frédéric Filloux, co-editor of Monday Note, his daily media routine starts on Techmeme. It is a pure aggregator — actually an aggrefilter. This little site combines simple concept and sophisticated execution. As shown in its “Leaderboard”, it crawls a hundred sources and applies a clever algorithm using 600 parameters.

More importantly, says Filloux, it adds a human editing layer. Techmeme’s founder Gabe Riviera recently discussed his views on the importance of human editing, and how it allowed him to fine-tune the site’s content. The result is one of the most useful ways of monitoring the tech sector. Gabe Riviera has since gone on to launch Mediagazer last year.

As Filloux explains:

Techmeme and Mediagazer benefit the news outlets they mention. Story excerpts are short enough to avoid being self-sufficient and the hierarchical structure works. (Self-sufficient excerpts result in the aggregator not sending back traffic to the source.) These twin sites are definitely among the best of their kind, resulting in a sound six persons business, not the next Google News but doing OK financially.

However, at the other end of the aggregator spectrum, we have The Huffington Post, one of the smartest digital news machine ever and, at the same time, the mother of all news internet impostures.

Read the full assessment of aggregators in the Monday Note …