Last week a new social bookmarking site debuted that hopes to be for wine what Digg.com is for technology. If you are not familiar with Digg, it’s a website where users submit links to technology related stories and then the community (i.e. other users/readers) vote on these stories, eventually promoting the most popular to the home page and RSS feed. This system works so well at Digg that it has grown from a few hundred users to over 300,000 in a year and a half or so.
Enter Wine Life Today, which takes this same idea into the wine niche and even seeks to improve this idea somewhat with some additional features. First, I have to say that this is a great idea, as I experimented with setting up the same open source software to enable this service on one of my domains in January. My lack of skills with CSS kept me from developing this idea any further then, but hasn’t held back the creators of Wine Life Today, who have provided an attractive, intuitive interface. They have made it as easy as Digg to submit stories with a browser “marklet” and integration tools for website owners (the “Toast This!” link on the bottom of every post here is an example of this). They have also added a feature for wine bloggers to integrate their RSS feeds directly into the site, allowing every post to be published automatically into the site’s “Newsroom”. I don’t think this is a good idea because of the obvious SPAM implications, but also this practice makes it very tedious to scan the newsroom to vote on stories. The beauty of Digg is each story is selected by a user as something special and seeing the same posts I have just read in my blog aggregator will not encourage me to spend much time in Wine Life Today’s Newsroom (although I will scan the home page and vote from time to time). Everything else on the site works as expected and I have posted a few stories from my blog reading I thought were worth sharing over the past few days and will likely continue this practice.
My main concern here is not the ease of submission, but the size of the community. Having hundreds of thousands of users submitting stories to Digg means that I just subscribe to their RSS feed in place of the 20 or 30 tech feeds I used to. I don’t see this working in the wine genre because there is just not the same numbers of users who read wine blogs or wine related stories online that will take the time to submit to Wine Life Today. I hope I’m wrong here because the service is well done and very cool. So give it a try yourself and Toast away!