Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 9 Reasons to Read News on Raw Signal

So we were having some beers, and for some reason, we started counting off the top reasons why we love building and using our web site.
  1. Discover news sites
    Our algorithm scours the web to find interesting blogs and websites. We currently are processing over 11,000 sites. New and interesting sites show up in our "interesting feed" every day.

  2. Spend less time filtering and more time reading
    We combine the raw processing power of several computers plus an editorial touch to produce a highly engaging stream of news. We do the hard work, so you don't have to.

  3. Read multiple sites at once
    Now you have a one stop shop to get up to date on news in various topics. Think of it as an internet news stand.

  4. Read it anywhere Since Raw Signal is a website, you can access it on your computer at home, your computer at work, your mobile phone, your ipad, etc. It isn't a program you install on one computer, but a website you can access anywhere!

  5. Get a diverse perspective on a news storySometimes, you want to go deeper on a news story. You want to see multiple angles and analysis to get a complete picture. This happens a lot in politics and sports. We bring the conversation together, so you can easily see what multiple authors think of news story.
  6. Quickly be informed on a category of newsThe internet is an enabler. It should give the users the power of information, but sometimes too much information is actually a burden. Raw Signal consolidates the information in a quick and easy "interesting feed". This allows you to quickly browse through all the interesting news stories in a topic quickly.
  7. Eliminate Duplicate NewsThere's a lot of duplicate news on the web. It sometimes seems that internet news is a giant echo chamber. We are constantly improving our algorithms to detect and deprioritize duplicate news. That way you only browse new and interesting perspectives.
  8. Become the "smart" one among your friendsSince Raw Signal makes it easier and fun to read the news, you'll probably start reading more news. Your friends will be amazed on how you seem to be up to date on various news-worthy topics.
  9. Seem interesting on datesEver been on a date where you had "dead air" awkward silences? That's a problem of the past.

    Since you've been staying up to date with Raw Signal, you can easily slip the:
    "So I was reading on Raw Signal that <insert news story>. What do you think of that?"

    Your date will be amazed on how well-read and informed you are. Instant sex appeal!
  10. Easy way to make boring topics interesting
    Say you have a client that loves basketball, a niece that loves celeb news, or a date that loves politics, but . . . . you just don't care. It seems boring to you.

    Well, now you can go to Raw Signal, and get quickly briefed on the interesting news in the topic. That way you can quickly relate.

    Also, since Raw Signal tries to bubble up the most interesting news in a topic, you might develop a newly found interest in a topic you previously considered boring.

    Several of us have developed new or renewed interest in celebrity gossip, video gaming, politics, sports, etc.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed our list. Now, stop reading lists, and start reading the news!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Sports

We're having lots of fun building sports hubs. We love sports and sports news, so it's just good times for us.

Hockey -
Golf -
Tennis -

Our algorithm is still learning about these topics, so these hubs will improve in quality over time. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Measure Of Success

We want to be a data-driven team, and believe we can measure anything. So we started thinking how we could measure if changes we made improved the Raw Signal experience.

We decided our metric would be transfers/page view.

Transfer = a person clicking from Raw Signal to the original news story.
Page View = how many pages people view on our site.

Our mission is to get people to interesting content as much and as fast as possible. Each time someone comes to our site, and doesn't go to a new story means we failed to present something interesting to the user.

Once we started tracking this metric, we could easily see how changes in our algorithms affected transfer rates over time. This would alert us to when a change was probably hurting user satisfaction.

Here's our current chart below.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that we have our golden metric, we'll start a/b testing various changes to drive up that number. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let's Get Down To Business!

Ok, this is an idea from one of our girlfriends. She's a heavy user of the site, so we decided to give it a whirl.

Usually, we only fulfill requests that start with "I want . . .", because that means there's at least a customer population of one. However, this one started with "I think there will be people who want . . . " That means we don't even know if there's a customer of one. We think there are customers.

This is dangerous, because you could be creating a solution that's looking for a problem.

Anyways, her idea was that we should launch some business sections. Business people probably care about industry news and stuff.

Hmmmm sounds right . . .

So . . . drum roll . . . we've launched two business sections:
General Business -
Median & Advertising Business -

let us know what you think!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Raw Signal vs Directories

So you just launched a new blog or website, and you want to tell the world about it. What do you do to get free traffic?

Well visiting your local webmaster's forum, you'll see it littered with people telling you to submit you site to this directory or that directory.

I hate to burst your bubble, but unless the directory is DMOZ, it isn't going to work. No one visits directories anymore, so you won't get targeted traffic.

Take a look below and ask yourself, would you visit a directory?
And do you really think Google isn't smart enough to realize a sketchy directory when it crawls it? Your SEO juice will be junk.

We've done the directory thing over and over again, and it just doesn't work. Our team looked at the problem of how a new blog or website can get the word out, and came up with Raw Signal.

When you submit your blog or website to Raw Signal, our algorithm will start watching your blog or website and score it. We have several measures of quality. Basically, if you're a sketchy site, spammer, or you're doing nasty stuff ... you won't be included.

Once your blog or website is vetted, you will be included in our index, and have a chance to participate in the conversation of various topics.

Lot of people come to Raw Signal, because we help them find interesting information around various topics. When they find something that piques their interest, they click through to your website. You'll start to receive free targeted traffic interested in the topics your site covers.

Also, you'll get direct links from our site pointing at your site which will increase your Page Rank. After all, we think something you've posted is worth linking to, so Google will give you some SEO love from us.

In summary, Raw Signal can provide you free targeted traffic and increase your SEO juice.

Submit your site today!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why Raw Signal is better than current RSS Readers?

Do you still use an RSS reader?

Raw Signal is trying to provide an evolution in today's basic RSS readers. You can think of us as a RSS reader with a brain.

We're here to save you time, help you find interesting information, and prevent information overload. Here's some examples of where Raw Signal is better than your basic RSS Reader.

  1. Highlight Interesting Information
    Our algorithms and editors go through thousands of articles to find the most interesting at any given time. This saves you time, so you're only presented with highly engaging content.

  2. Remove Duplicate Entries
    Sometime the same article or very similar articles are presented at multiple sites. We work to eliminate duplication, so you only read about each topic once. This also means that if there is a topic you're not interested in, you won't see it multiple times across all the RSS feeds you are following.

  3. Discover new sites
    With basic RSS readers you have to find interesting feeds and manually add them. With Raw Signal, our algorithm, editors, and community work together to find interesting sites for you.

  4. Ability to see the conversation
    We provide a central location to see how a topic is being talked about across multiple sites. If you're interested in a topic, this allows you to drill deeper and see multiple perspectives quickly.

  5. Accessible Anywhere
    Since Raw Signal is a web-based solution, you can bring your reading anywhere. You can start reading at home, continue reading at work, and even finish reading on your mobile phone on the way home.
Anyways, those are some quick reasons where Raw Signal provides an advantage over your basic RSS Reader.

Save Time. Read more.

Welcome to the next generation of RSS Readers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top 5 Reasons To Submit Your Site to Raw Signal

We're not Google. We don't have thousands of computers processing the web. As a result, we may not find all the interesting blogs and websites about a category, but we'll sure try our best!

Sometimes, we'll need site owners to submit their sites to our algorithm. We decided to create a top 5 list on why you should do that.

Top 5 Reasons To Submit Your Site to Raw Signal
  1. More traffic for you
    Our goal is to help our users find interesting information within a category fast. When a user sees something interesting, they will click through to your website. That means more traffic for you.

  2. Better SEO
    We provide links to your site which should increase your page rank. That means Google and other search engines will consider your site as more of an authority. That means more search engine traffic for you.

  3. Get exposed to new users
    The reality is that there's a lot of websites on the web. As a user, there's no way to find them all. Our site allows users to become exposed to new and interesting sites. That means more unique users for you.

  4. Users will come back more often, and read more
    Since we make it easy for users to find interesting information, their satisfaction should go up. Now that finding interesting information is no longer frustrating and "work", they should be spending more time reading news. That means more returning users for you.

  5. The ability to participate in the conversation
    Our site allows users to see the conversation or pulse around a topic. We provide multiple perspectives, which means your ideas and view points can now be included in the conversation.
Anyways, I hope these are some kick butt reasons to submit your website information to our algorithm. The bottom line is we provide you more traffic.

Submit Your Site

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reading Local News Is Scary

So, I was checking up on the local news channels to make sure they were working, and I realized . . . local news is really scary. I'm not sure if its the algorithm leaning towards scary news, or if there's just a lot of scary stuff happening locally.

Top News for San Francisco
Child found in hotel fountain is clinging to life

Top News for New York City
Two men accused in subway imam attack hit with hate crime charges
Woman Found Dead In Swanky Soho House Hotel Bathtub

Top News for Los Angeles
Rose Bowl stabbings lead to felony charges against 3 brothers

Top News In Chicago
Northbrook high school student charged with bomb threat

Top News in Boston
3rd Man Held In Quadruple Slaying

I mean seriously . . . I wouldn't leave the house at night!

Luckily, Seattle's top news item was much lighter. Thank You Seattle!
Giant observaton wheel coming to Seattle Center next year

Vroom, Vroom. Here comes the Autos Channel

Ok, so my friend Jason was telling me he liked cars. I started thinking. Cars might be fun.

Maybe, someday I can sell the clunker I drive, and maybe . . . just maybe get a new car.

A boy can dream right?

Anyways, for all you car lovers out there, we've create a channel just for you!

Care and Automobile News

Should be fun to see how our algorithm starts ranking car news. Not sure it'll work, so the team might have to make some tweaks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So the world is more than Seattle and San Francisco???

Ok, being techies, we didn't realize that.

We really built these local channels for ourselves.
San Francisco -
Seattle -

But we kept getting funny emails.
"I get why you guys have Technology, Sports, and Politics, but Seattle seems really random"
- Michelle S.

Ok, we'll stop being selfish. We've put more local channels into the algo, and as the algorithm learns how to rank the news from these channels, we'll release them.

Here's some that the algo has learned pretty well:

Los Angeles News -
New York City News -
Chicago Local News -
Boston Local News -

LA has some really crazy stuff going on lately.

Anyways, let us know what you think, and which cities you'd like to see!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You wanted more enteretainment, You Got It!

So we had our good ole celebrity gossip channel:

But you asked why isn't there one about movies or tv?

Well, we're always up for new ideas for new channels. Let's see if our algo can learn to rank these categories.

Television -
Movies -
Music -

What do you think?

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Sports, Better Sports

Ok. A few of you really liked what we did with the sports channel, but you wanted more.

So, since we're in the business of making people happy, we though why not.

Football -
Basketball -
College Football -
College Basketball -
Baseball -

Let us know what you think of these new categories.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We've launched our public beta!

After baking in the oven for a while with some friends and family in our private beta, we've decided we're ready to take the covers off our project.

A while ago, finding the interesting news around key categories was still extremely difficult and time consuming. We're hoping to solve that problem, and have a little fun doing it.

Here's some of our favorite channels

Technology -
Sports -
Celebrity -

Let us know what you think.