Product Case Study: BloggersBase

bloggersbaseAs the volume of user generated content grows, discovering quality content is becoming harder and harder. Just think about how much crap you read in blogs for the one link you feel is note worthy, or these days, Twitter worthy. BloggersBase is looking to solve the problem through a competition-based discovery platform that rewards bloggers and brings readers personalized content according to their social connections and preferences.  BloggersBase was seed funded in June 2008, and among its investors are Yossi Vardi and Jeff Pulver. The company is now seeking to raise its first round.

Rather than introducing BloggersBase myself, I’ve asked co-founder and CEO Dan Barak to provide VC Cafe readers with the product development process at BloggersBase, an overview of the main product features and the story behind the idea  for the company.

Product case study: BloggersBase Features

I . Multi-Authored, competition-based blogs

bloggersbase-intro-and-comp1The quality of individual blogs is a direct derivative of their blogger, which means that if the blogger is on vacation, has stopped posting or has simply deteriorated, the blog is immediately affected.
Our multi-authored blogs are less susceptible to such problems and our ongoing competition insures that at each point only the best bloggers are authoring the surface blog. Each competition round improves quality and promotes the best, most talented bloggers to co-author the surface blog. However, this promotion is only valid for one week, which means that the blogger must continue to excel or be replaced by the next best emerging blogger.

From the blogger’s point of view, submitting to BloggersBase (which entails almost zero work as we’ll discuss in the next feature) means getting a fair, instant chance of huge exposure to a relevant and targeted audience.
The “judges” of this competition – our readers are not exempt for measuring up against their peers either. Unlike most sites where the user simply rates with no credit or recognition, our raters are evaluated by our algorithms, recognized for their domain expertise and able to gain more influence in our community.

II. Ease of submission

The benefits we provide should not come at any cost for the blogger – the experience should be as easy as possible, without any restrictions or too much effort. Bloggers may submit any content they want to BloggersBase – it can be original material (we provide post enriching tools for that), old posts they have previously published elsewhere and they can even redirect their RSS feed from their personal blog to a matching blog on BloggersBase.

rss-in-setting1

The RSS option is the easiest one of all – each time they publish a post on their personal blog, they will get an email with the preview of their post as it’s laid out in BloggersBase. They can choose to submit the post directly from their email, or if need be they can be redirected to edit it on site and publish it with some corrections. They can also choose to ignore it, leaving the post unpublished in their drafts.

rss-in-email1

It’s also important to stress that we have almost no limitations on the content they post – they may include as many links as they want in it, pointing to their external blog, or anywhere else. If the post has been published elsewhere, we even have a dedicated “Attribution” field that’ll point to the location they specify. In short, completely free and with almost zero extra work the blogger can promote himself or herself in various ways.

III. Relevant social networking elements

community-elements1This feature is intended to serve two purposes:

  1. Help build a community
  2. A basis for our upcoming Personalization

Throughout our interviews with bloggers and readers alike, it became evident that close interaction and easy communications were one of the key elements both sides were looking for in a blogging platform.

Aside from the ever-popular “Friend” relationship, we have added relationships relevant to our community:

  • Favorite Blogger – allowing users to mark their favorite bloggers and monitor them more closely. Bloggers can notify users who have marked them as favorites whenever they publish a new post.
  • Respected Rater – users will be able to respect other users based on their actions as raters. At first it’ll be based on comments that reflect similar views and later on based “recommendations” and other factors.

IV. Payment Incentives

qt-payment1We feel most talented and professional bloggers deserve to be compensated for their efforts. Some of them strive to become full time bloggers, while others are fine with leaving it as a hobby – but it’s still nice to see appreciation for your efforts.

At BloggersBase we award our top bloggers considerable money prizes each week – we currently give away $500 a week ($50 in each of our blogs – $40 for 1st prize and $10 for the runner up). While these are definitely not salaries, it is orders of magnitude more than an undiscovered blogger can earn. These are prizes and in no way compensation or royalties – we believe the effort bloggers put into creating a quality post is valued much higher. It’s simply a way to make them realize that we appreciate them, that they have true potential of earning a living doing what they love and also another incentive to help grow a community from scratch.

***

Before the launch of BloggersBase, I filled a blogger questionaire to help the start up address the client needs. It is nice to see that some of the features have actually been incroporated into the product.  Also worth noting is that the visual design and branding was done byEli Shahaf’s, ProfileSoft, a media design company in Israel. When you get a chance, drop by BloggersBase and take it for a spin. Drop a comment if you have any feedback or suggestions or if you’d like to inquire about an investment.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He’s an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.