Here’s a neat new site that I found mentioned at MobileRead. It’s called news4mobile – which is a sort of misleading name as it’s not really a news site. News4mobile is a mobile portal with a social ranking system that makes it sort of a combination of Digg and del.icio.us. Anyone can (after registering) add a link to a mobile site. That’s not especially new as there have been lots of sites like that and most of them quickly became a disorderly collection of broken links and links to abandoned TagTag pages that say little more than “This is Bob’s mobile site – please leave a comment”. But I think the ranking aspect gives news4mobile the potential to become a very big thing. When you add a link you can enter a description and add tags and you get credited as the person who first linked to the site.
The way it works is that news4mobile has a public side and a private side. On the public side news4mobile is a mobile portal or web directory that anyone can use by visiting www.news4mobile.com. The default view lists the top 20 mobile sites in order by how many visits they’ve received through the news2web portal. You can filter the view to a single category like sports or news, still ranked by popularity within that category. There is also a search function which searches within news4web directory including within descriptions and tags.
If you register you can create a “My news4mobile” which is your private collection of bookmarked links. You can mark each of your links as either public or private. Public links show up in the directory and participate in the ranking process. Private links are visible only to you on your personal page – good if have links to personal notes or projects that can are working on.
On the public side of news2web all users can chose a couple of alternate views of the portal. One is ordered by the number of people who have bookmarked a site and the other puts the most recently added sites first in the list.
The other noteworthy feature is that according to the site’s FAQ, “Dead Links will be automatically deactivated if not available and will only be reactivated if they’re available again.” It seems to be working, so far I haven’t found any dead links in news4mobile.
The site is new and there are only about 125 links and probably not many users yet so I don’t consider the rankings authoritative. For what it’s worth here are the current top 10 mobile sites as ranked by news4mobile.
Seems like a high percentage of PocketPC links, but I imagine that’s a refection of the current user base.
Anyway, I think that the concept of the site is great, in fact I wish I’d thought of it myself. A mobile portal where anyone can add a new site. Sites start out at the bottom of what can potentially be a very long list and can only move up the list by getting hits. Ideally the best of the best in mobile sites, at least by popular opinion, will wind up at the top of the charts in the favored position on the front page above the “fold”.
I do foresee some potential problems. One is the obvious possibility for abuse. If news4mobile catches on, unscrupulous content providers will use bots to try to drive worthless ad-farm type sites to the top. This is the same problem that Digg and search engines face already. I also wonder what happens when multiple users add the same link (or slight variants) multiple times.
Obviously these problems can be managed and if they are I can see this site really taking off.
Incidentally, I believe news4mobile is based in Germany. The site defaults to English for me but I can switch to German via a link at the top on the page. Currently, the German side is a little more active with 257 links compared with the English side’s 125.