DotSpots Catches Google's Eye at TechCrunch50
One of the best startups launching at TechCrunch50 is DotSpots, a crowdsourcing startup that encourages bloggers to collaborate on getting the news straight by annotating text content with comments, links, YouTube videos and Flickr photos. Imagine this on Google News. Google's Marissa Mayer might be doing so; as a member of the judges' panel, she applauded the idea.SAN FRANCISCO-I just finished roaming the Demo Pit here at TechCrunch50 at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse.
My impression of all these new Web 2.0 technologies is that a lot of these products would be fantastic as part of a larger portfolio in the arms of a Google, Yahoo, MySpace or Facebook. Pick your Internet company.
One company that stood out to me was DotSpots, which provides a universal annotation system that lets consumers annotate news articles and other text content with videos from YouTube or photos from Flickr and links.
The software then uses semantic matching technology to distribute each contribution to every instance of that meme across the Web. DotSpots co-founder Farhad Mohit, who made his bones as the founder of first BizRate.com and then Shopzilla, showed me a cool demo involving a syndicated Associated Press story on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The thing about wire news services, Mohit argued, is that they try to distribute content to as many news outlets as they can to make money. But readers are stuck with a one-dimensional view of the reporting.
"Mainstream news is not evil," Mohit said. "What they are is they're lacking resources to cover all the stories that matter in the ever-shrinking global landscape. The depth is coming from the blogs."
With DotSpots, YouTube contributors, bloggers or just plain citizen journalists can add comments, videos, photos or other content to news stories to offer a more rounded view of an event.
In a model Mohit describes as "Annotate locally, distribute globally," this user-generated content then gets pushed out to all of the similar pieces of content on the Web so the whole world, or at least anyone who comes across the content, can see it. The content shows up as a little annotation tag wherever the poster decides to put it in a story.