From the email I received, Spivot is an “all-purpose media reader… [that] brings together the functionality of news aggregation (Google News), with social news (Digg), with the capabilities of a feed aggregation tool (Bloglines).” A better description would be, “combines feed aggregation (like Bloglines, but less intuitive) with social news features (that Newsvine and a million other sites already have) with blog suggestion/aggregation (like 9rules, but Spivot doesn’t ask before they take your content) and mashes it together.
When you bring in content from independent, outside sources (like bloggers) then you better be giving them something in return. After all, they’re doing the hard work of researching and writing articles on interesting topics, so if you have their content syndicated on your site, there has to be some benefit to the blogger or else you’re in the same bucket as those damn splogs we all hate so much.
If you visit the Art & Design blog section on Spivot, here’s what you’ll see:
- A list of blogs in the sidebar that produce the content that section is displaying. Click on one of those links on the left and guess what? It doesn’t go to the actual site.
- The only direct link to a source blog on the entire Spivot.com website can be found by clicking on the favicon next to a story. Think it’s going to take you to the blog? Think again, the link takes you to the RSS feed of the blog so you’re staring at code.
It seems like Spivot takes your content without asking, republishes it on their site, and then doesn’t mention your name as the author, doesn’t link to your site, and doesn’t link to your article anywhere. The only thing that could make this worse is if they shoved AdSense blocks next to blog author’s content.
They Could Definitely Have Done Better
Spivot is brought to you by the folks at Involution Studios, a digital product firm founded by two guys (Dirk Knemeyer & Andrei Herasimchuk) for whom I have great respect. Andrei was the first user interface designer hired by Adobe and designed most of the Photoshop interface we’re all used to today, and Dirk is an internationally-known champion of usability and product design with presentations all around the world. Too bad they took all that experience and knowledge and left it behind while they developed Spivot or else maybe it could have done well.
Oh, and before I forget. This whole concept was cooler when it was called Kinja, that site from another era that Gawker let slip into oblivion. Some of the design reminds me of Kinja too, weird.