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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Art of Hype
Friday, November 16, 2007

A few weeks ago I saw Adam’s World was getting some incoming traffic from a site called ShowHype.com. I checked it out and what I found was a fantastic entertainment version of Digg where people posted links to stories and those stories were then “hyped” by people voting for them. I immediately signed up and started posting my blogs there, but I also wanted to know more about the site and how it worked. After receiving an email from Jason Gurney, one half of the site’s husband and wife creative team, I asked him if he’d sit down with me to tell me all about the site. This week that sit down happened and we discussed the birth of ShowHype, the inner workings of the site, and how I can potentially rule the world through it (hint – the plan involves underpants).

Adam Bernard: How did you and your wife Erin go about creating ShowHype?
Jason Gurney: The evolution of ShowHype went something like this over the past two years: decide to give blogging a try - start a sports blog - start reading lots of other blogs - have trouble keeping up with other blogs - remember that I can't write - build a blog tracking application for basketball, baseball, football - decide that there's an opportunity for something bigger - quit our day jobs - launch BallHype - launch ShowHype.

Adam Bernard: Now, most importantly, how can Adam's World conquer the rest of the universe through ShowHype?
Jason Gurney: That plan is still in development, but here's our rough outline:

1. Collect Underpants
2. ?
3. Conquer blogosphere

This much we know - you can use ShowHype to find story ideas, network with other bloggers and get extra visibility and Google juice for your best content.

Adam Bernard: What does it mean when a story is "hyped" on your site?
Jason Gurney: People like it enough to vote for it or link to it. On ShowHype users click the up arrows to express their appreciation, enjoyment, or awe. When blogs link to a story they're effectively voting as well. As a result you can be sure that stories in our top positions are well-liked... by some people, anyway.

Adam Bernard: Are you actively seeking out sites or have you found sites have been approaching you?
Jason Gurney: We're currently ranking just over 1,200 entertainment blogs and people have started to send in their suggestions. Two million blogs are created every second* and given the short history of blogs I wouldn't be surprised if half of the blogs in the top 20 a year from now don't even exist yet, so we're always on the lookout for quality sites to add.

* wild estimate

Adam Bernard: How can both websites and fans best utilize the site?
Jason Gurney: For everyone the site is a great resource for finding the latest entertainment stories regardless of where they're breaking - mainstream news outlets, blogs, somebody's camera phone, etc. A lot of people simply read and watch, but voting and commenting will add years to your life. We checked. People with their own sites can use ShowHype to build relationships with other bloggers. Once you've published something good, by all means hype it up and make sure your friends know it's out there, but people will also appreciate it if you also submit other interesting stories, and help promote other blogs by voting and commenting on the stuff you like. Not surprisingly, the bloggers that seem to have the most success on the site are active beyond just submitting their own stories. Half the time that's how I "discover" new blogs, by reading someone's comment and then clicking over to their profile to see who they are.

Adam Bernard: What does my blog ranking mean?
Jason Gurney: The rankings analyze the links that each blog receives from other tracked blogs within the past three months. Recentness, diversity and the influence of the linking blog are all factored in. The ranking is an attempt to measure each blog's influence... and of course, the corresponding blogger's self-worth. We joke about that, but there seem to be quite a few people who take things very seriously over on the sports side. Bottom line - they're interesting and useful, but should also be taken with a grain of salt. There are plenty of blogs further down in the rankings that have great content and solid communities and that's what blogging is really about, right?

Adam Bernard: Yes, but how does one make it to #1?
Jason Gurney: Aside from waking up one day as AOL or Nick Denton? In a nutshell, the more links you get from other blogs, the better. This starts with quality content, and for newer blogs, hustlin' every day to get the word out. And of course, these links help in real life ways, too, by driving direct traffic and boosting search engine placements.

Adam Bernard: Seeing how popular entertainment and gossip sites are how do you weed out the trash from the news?
Jason Gurney: Fortunately, the beauty of ShowHype is that our users and the blogs we track help with the yard work by virtue of their votes and links. If it's not worth reporting on and no one wants to read it, it's very likely not going to make it to our home page.

Adam Bernard: I noticed you have no advertising on ShowHype. How do you make any money with this?
Jason Gurney: We're still working on that one, too.

1. Collect Underpants
2. ?
3. Profit

We will run ads on ShowHype; right now we're focused on growing the community and adding new features.

Adam Bernard: That leads in nicely to my final question. What will some of those new features be and what are the future plans for ShowHype?
Jason Gurney: The biggest short-term feature that we're currently working on is a game for things like movie box office totals and album sales. We run weekly game-picking contests on the sports site and have fielded several requests for something similar on ShowHype. Fantasy Moguls and the Hollywood Stock Exchange do this kind of thing very well; ShowHype games will be more on the casual end of the spectrum. Various other projects are always in progress, like improving our parser, augmenting our tagging database, and adding more embedded video support (right we can handle 24 different kinds - from YouTube, Dailymotion, OnSmash, Uncut, Brightcove, etc.). Longer term, one of the things that we'd love to build in is more Metacritic-like functionality. Being able to quickly see which bloggers have reviewed an album or movie could be pretty sweet.

Related Links

ShowHype: showhype.com
Adam’s World on ShowHype: Adam’s World Profile
YouTube: Underpants Strategists

posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:47 AM  
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