News aggregators and music jamming sites

Bambi Francisco Roizen · October 13, 2008 · Short URL:

Esther Dyson helps us evaluate Socialmedian and Indaba

We've come a long way from getting the news dropped off at our doorsteps. Even though I still read the paper version of the Wall Street Journal, most of the news is coming from emerging aggregators, such as Alltop, Socialmedian and even Fark. These days, news is created by everyone and anyone with an online connection. It's not a surprise therefore that the business of aggregating that news - however worthy of being collected - has become an opportunity. Just recently, Tina Brown launched The Daily Beast, a political news aggregation site, similar to other news aggregation sites Huffington Post and Drudge Report. Other emerging news aggregation sites include Socialmedian and Alltop. and, sites like Publish2 and Zemanta are helping anyone become journalists and curators of news. 

Of course, there are the more established sites where stories bubble up to the top depending on votes and submissions, like Digg, Fark and Yahoo Buzz.

Is this field worth investing in? Or is it too crowded? In this Vator Box episode, Esther Dyson is our guest host - yet again - and helps us evaluate the prospects for Socialmedian, an emerging news aggregation site founded by Jason Goldberg. Socialmedian, which Liquid Scenarios estimates is worth $2 million based on comparables, essentially lets people personalize their news down to the topic. Additionally, Socialmedian allows people to follow others who they believe are newsmakers. 

"I love Jason. He’s smart. He’s experienced. If I did invest in it, it would be in the basis of him running it," she said. "The real challenge is how do you differentiate yourself from the nine other things like this," she added. "There's too much stuff out there. Maybe one or two of them will bubble to the top. But I wouldn’t be in the sector."

Ezra praised Jason, who's raised some $600,000 in seed money, for being prudent about his fundraising approach. He's been "very smart about managing the equilibrium between the amount of money he raises, his exit potential and the business he builds," said Ezra. 

Esther was asked to invest in Socialmedian, but she declined. You'll have to watch the show to see why.

We then set our sights to Indaba Music, a site that lets musicians jam with one another. Already, Indaba has a subscriber list of 75,000 people. Esther, who's invested in eJamming, said she likes the concept. 

Indaba, which has not yet taken venture funding, makes money by charging marketers and promoters a fee to use its service. For instance, Indaba recently announced that it's working with Yo-Yo Ma whereby the artist has posted a pre-recorded melody of its piece "Dona Nobis Pacem" on the Indaba site. Members of the Indaba community are challenged to create variations of that piece to create new songs. Indaba's business model is not dissimilar to Mozes, which is also trying to tap into the marketer and promoter budgets. 

As for who we'd bet on? You'll have to watch the show to find out. 

(Note: We're not experts. We're just trying to create a dialogue around the topics. So, if you disagree with us, let us know. We welcome your input about the companies we talk about on Vator Box. We especially welcome input from the founders of the companies we talk about.)


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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Fark is a satirical news forwarding site.  The Fark community identifies
odd, funny and entertaining news stories from across the Web and Fark
presents them in a clever and engaging way.

In January the site had over 4 million unique visitors and 60 million page
views - and there's tremendous growth potential beyond these numbers.  The
Fark community also submitted 60,000 stories and posted almost 900,000
comments in January alone.

In addition, the site is in a pivotal strategic position as it directs
substantial traffic outbound to other sites (Fark generated approximately 50
million outbound clicks in January).



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Online magazine rack organized by topics.



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Contextually relevant suggestions of links, pictures, related content and tags in every popular blogging dashboard will make your blogging fun again.

Indaba Music


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Indaba Music is an international community of musicians, music professionals, and fans exploring the creative possibilities of making music with people in different places.It is the premier social network for musicians and web application for online music production and collaboration.

With recording hardware and software now available on almost any budget, it's easier than ever for artists of all levels and backgrounds to record and produce professional quality music. Artists are also harnessing the internet to get their music heard by more people than ever before. We think this is a big deal for the future of music, and we built Indaba to be an environment for artists to harness these trends and create music in new ways.

We don't believe that Indaba Music will ever recreate or replace the experience of working with someone else in the same room, but we do believe we can foster a community that offers new opportunities for artists at all levels to connect and work creatively together, regardless of location.

The site is more than just a tool, it's a community of real people connecting and collaborating in new and exciting ways. As we grow, we plan to add even more exciting features, including more advanced collaborative functionality and ways for fans to experience music creation.

Indaba is a Zulu word that invokes the spirit of collaboration and community. It refers to a gathering or a forum for sharing ideas, and it embodies concepts that are central to the mission of Indaba Music. 





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On December 19, 2008, socialmedian announced that it was sold to Xing for $7.5 million, $4 million upfront and $3.5 million in an earn out

socialmedian delivers the news you need to know.

Track news on any topic from thousands of sources - create your own News Networks!
Discover what your peers are reading and discussing today, and join the conversation!
Share news from sites like Google Reader, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and more

Jason Goldberg

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Esther Dyson

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Executive Founder, Wellville; Angel investor