This week Doug and I had a chance to speak with Kevin Burton, CEO of the Tailrank "social news recommendation system and collaborative filter." TailRank combines elements you might recognize from RSS Aggregation, Google News and del.icio.us-style Social Tagging. Kevin spoke about his experience launching the system's first public beta this past Tuesday and about the ways he tries to understand how many users have tried TailRank so far (between 600 and 4,000 depending on how you look at it). We spoke more generally about fads in Web 2.0, and opportunities for further innovation.
Kevin mentioned offline that he is pursuing a first round of angel funding, and furthermore that he'd like to supplement those funds with advertising revenue from a syndicated batch of AdSense code.
Feed technologies and collaborative filtering both seem explosively powerful to me, although the next round of innovation will have to move far beyond RSS aggregation. As Kevin has emphasized, the core technologies involved in gathering feeds are increasingly accessible. Users and traffic, now as always, will make the difference as the most powerful collaborative platforms must be those powered by the largest resovoir of implicit knowledge. It's exciting to see new innovations such as Kevin's, then, that leverage the best of disparate social media concepts.
Kevin has thought a great deal about feed technologies, having authored the NewsMonster RSS aggregator and co-founded Rojo Networks. His FeedBlog is an excellent read for those who would like to learn more. Doug and I certainly hope Kevin will stop back in future and let us know how things are progressing. In the meantime, however, you can check out the podcast by clicking here (MP3, 5.6MB) .
++UPDATE: From Kevin's blog: "Actually, I think I mentioned that I was "pursuing" an angel round. If any VCs or Angels are reading my blog please feel free to send me an email... :)" Apologies, Kevin. My mistake. The post has been corrected.