Social news (if you're wondering, I've changed my terminology from community news to social news. It relates better to social networking and social bookmarking) sites cannot succed with the "standard" design and the "standard" features anymore - unless they have a lot of traffic from another source already, like Netscape and Care2.
I've tried out what Wikio has to offer, and I have to conclude it's just that - a standard, run-of-the-mill social news sites. It's not bad by any means (although I have found bugs really quick, more on that later), but it doesn't offer anything really new.
So, a quick rundown of the features:
- you have the standard post, browse, submit, comment functions. Not many news here, except the fact that you can use a bit of advanced formatting in your descriptions, like bold, italic, font color, paragraph positioning etc.
- There are editors, so it's not all completely society-driven. However, the editors aren't really visible as in Netscape.
- no e-mail registration is required to post.
- there are 14 available categories, items are colored according to the category - nice touch.
- tags are also available, which is good. You can browse articles via a tag cloud on the front page
- if you sign in, you have a personalizable page, but there isn't really much you can do here except write some text.
Those were the good points, let's go over the bugs:
- "lastest contributions" should probable be "latest contributions"
- while browsing through latest contributions, you can't choose just one category to browse, which is annoying
- if an article you're trying to publish is already published, you get a message "An article has already been written on this news item. Do you want to comment this article?". First, I'd like to see the article immediately, so I can compare it with mine. Secondly, when you do try to click on "comment this article", you get a HTTP Status 500 error.
All in all, these minor bugs will probably soon be ironed, and they're not the main problem of the service. Wikio's biggest problem is that it simply doesn't offer enough novelty to separate itself from many other similar sites. What it does it does relatively well, but there are other, bigger sites that do it better. Furthermore, it has a broad, general scope, with standard categories, which will probably make it harder for them to create a solid and devoted user-base. Wikio.com will probably drive some traffic from its international sites, but will it be enough to make an impact? We'll see.