Site builds communities around news

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Now you can read every article posted about Tom Cruise, North Korea or Nestle chocolate bars on a daily basis by visiting one Web site. lets users share news anonymously and create their own social community.

"We feel that we have a very broad appeal," said Jacob Rheuban, co-founder of Newgie, New York. "We pick up the audience that is left behind by the techie Web sites."

The new site differs from competitors such as Digg by offering more categories for users to post articles on.

"The problem with sites like Digg is that it tends to have a more techie following, and people who are interested in sports and politics may not find all the information they want," Mr. Rheuban said. "We post articles that were brought in via recommendations."

Newgie uses IntelliRank, a database that pulls articles from thousands of sites like the Los Angeles Times, CNN and ESPN and lets the user see the highest-ranked and most-requested articles. The system tracks which stories users read. Articles can be found through a search engine or subcategories.

"We gain articles via RSS feeds that our database is a part of," Mr. Rheuban said. "That feed is the heart and soul of our site because articles are hand selected and categorized via the feeds and then ranked by their 'newsiness.'"

The site at is funded by Mr. Rheuban and co-founder Jason Windebank. It is free for users. The founders plan to add advertising in the coming months.

"We have a very casual business model," Mr. Rheuban said. "When the site develops traffic we will add advertising."

Newgie markets itself through blogs, keyword searches and reviews.

"Jason and I were really into e-commerce articles, but we found it a burden to search through 50 to 60 sources every day to find the news we wanted," he said. "We created one site where all the articles are already compiled for you."

Users also may set up a personal page by topics of interest.

"We recognized that something obvious was missing from the way people find news," Mr. Windebank said. "So we tried to replicate a similar system like Google where we could gauge the value of articles."

The site's internal system is developed by the amount of activity it gets in real time. This allows for user activity to be tracked.

Newgie also offers a "news neighborhood" where users can share stories with others having the same interests.

"Users can create the community of their choosing," Mr. Rheuban said. "It is very niche, because if someone is in a Tom Cruise fan club they have their news source where they can get all the news they want all the time."

Members also can collect articles off the Internet and post them on Newgie to share with the community.

For the rest of the year, Newgie will refine the site's features and attract advertisers.

"The most important thing is trying to get users to our Web site, because it thrives on having a lot of people using it," Mr. Rheuban said. "Having a lot of people allows for more communities, and that is our focus."


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