When Search Engine Land launched last December, I talked about liking the name in part because it sounded like "a community, where people can meet, talk, discuss and network." I promised to upgrade the site to help a community thrive. It took much longer than the original "month or so" I envisioned to make this happen. But today, we’re happy to unveil our new social site, Sphinn.
We pronounce it "spin" despite the strange spelling, which I’ll explain further below. But first, here’s what Sphinn is intended to provide:
Better Commenting For Search Engine Land
Over 1,100 of you have bravely registered and endured our use of TypePad to manage comments since we launched. Bless you! Within a week or so, that goes away. You’ll be able to use your Sphinn account to comment more easily on our stories, with the comments flowing back here at Search Engine Land.
Better News Sharing For Search & Internet Marketers
At the end of each business day, we diligently produce our SearchCap newsletter that recaps everything we think was significant in search. Stories we list come not just from Search Engine Land but also over 100 sources across the web.
We plan to continue that, don’t worry! But which of those many stories we list daily might be deemed important by our community as a whole? Sphinn is a way for anyone to share news stories (your own stories or those from others) and allow a community to vote on what’s hot.
In addition, this Digg-style voting model is especially appealing to some readers. Some people like email newsletters. Some people like blog posts. Some prefer to get their news in forums. And more and more, a growing new audience wants news delivered up with a community flavor.
By no means do we envision Sphinn as replacing general news sites like Digg. We just think the story submission model can work and be powerful in a specialized area such as search, as well.
By the way, we’re not the first to try this for search. In February 2006, The Search Engine Press was launched, then John Battelle kicked off SearchMob in September of that year. Since then, we’ve had others appear, including BUMPzee and ISEdb Scoop. We’re happy to join them!
Allow Search Engine Land Forum Discussions
In our short history, we’ve grown a healthy readership — nearly 4,000 email subscribers, 13,000 people taking our main search news feed and anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 unique visitors per day. However, readers can only comment about what we write about, at the moment. What if they spot something that’s not tied to a news story or a blog post and want to discuss it? What if there’s an issue in the space in general that comes up before someone writes about it? How about the ability just to share tips with each other.
Sphinn will let our readers (and anyone!) start discussions independently of our stories or any stories that have been posted on the web. Plus, people can vote for discussions they think are particularly good.
Better Virtual Networking
Something I love about search marketing is how welcoming veterans are to new people coming into the space. We hope Sphinn will allow people to set up their own virtual business cards using profiles and make friends. Over time, we want to especially build out the Network area at Sphinn.
Better Real-Life Networking
We run a number of Search Marketing Expo events during the year, plus people meet up at events other than the ones we hold. A common problem — aside from knowing all the relevant events that are happening — is how to network when you arrive at a show. We hope the Calendar area at Sphinn will help you find events to attend, associate yourself with going to them and in turn, perhaps make friends before you arrive.
More About Sphinn
So that’s the overview? Want to learn more? Check out the site! It’s in beta at the moment — so beta that we haven’t even had a chance to put a beta label up there! When you arrive, here are some things to do:
- Register! This lets you submit,
comment and create a profile page to share with others.
Here are profiles of those who’ve
- Read the About Sphinn page. It
provide more overview about the site.
- Read the Sphinn Help page.
It’s still being tweaked, but there’s information already to help you use the
site, as well as guidance on submitting and commenting.
- Watch for bugs! It’s beta, remember? There are bugs.
Sphinn Beta: Known Bugs is a list of
them that we’re stamping out. Spot something new? Let us know. We expect to be
out of beta by next week, by the way. You’ll know, because we’ll post about it
and shift the comments here to using the Sphinn system.
- Share your wishes! There’s so much more we want to do.
Sphinn Beta: Feature Wishlist covers
some of our ideas and those others have had. Add yours!
- Submit & Start Discussions. Here’s the form!
Finally, a huge thanks to Michelle Robbins, our director of technology, and the developers who have been tweaking the Pligg software we’re using to do what we want. They’ve put in tons of work over the past few months and especially over the past two weeks.
Oh, the name! I’ll quote from our About page:
Why Sphinn? We liked the idea of a place where marketers could put their own "spin" on news by commenting on stories or having discussions. But spin.com was taken, as was spinn.com and sphinnn.com was a N too far, we felt. So we went with sphinn.com, pronouncing it "sp-hinn."