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Ask HN: is it worth the effort to build (yet another) publishing platform?
4 points by hasenj 2195 days ago | hide | past | web | 9 comments | favorite
I would've thought the culture around YC would discourage this, and instead encourage looking into new niches or doing something more original, but I noticed that YC funded a startup that did just that: Posterous.

Is it worth the effort to try and build yet another publishing platform? I'm personally not much satisfied with any of the existing ones, and I do have some idea that I think are somewhat unique (or at least: I haven't seen them done).

Does it seem very unoriginal/unimaginative? Is it worth the effort or would it be a waste of time?

If you have to ask, no :)

But apart from that, yes. There are definitely still problems to be solved, I don't think we've reached the end of publishing tools just yet.

If you have a viable plan for getting customers and revenue, then yes. Otherwise, no.

Business release "yet another X" all the time. It's called competition.

> If you have a viable plan for getting customers and revenue, then yes.

I have some ideas for that, but I myself am not very good at sales/business, and as of now I have no partner.

Can you share what would make it unique?

I think that your hunch that what's out there can be improved upon is correct, but it would have to have some really unique value proposition that set it apart from posterous, tumblr, and the like. Posterous and tumblr succeed, IMHO, because Wordpress is difficult for someone who's not tech savvy to learn.

Besides the obvious things like clean UI, etc.

One thing that I only thought of recently is how on youtube you can "discover" videos via the "related videos" side bar. I'm not aware of anything like this in blogging sites.

Imagine the same thing for a blog. Actually I don't like the word blog, but I'll use it for lack of a better term.

Imagine you're reading a blog post, and on the side you have similar/related blog posts from many different other people.

If you're a reader, this is good because you can discover more content easily. If you're a writer, this is good because your content can be discovered more easily.

Something similar is happening on facebook. People make facebook pages and write their thoughts there, it helps them get more exposure, even though the facebook UI is not optimized for these kinds of things.

I like the dynamics of the non-linear "discussion" that take place on youtube, and I think there's value in that.

What you described (recommended posts within a site), as well as someone else mentioned below (recommended posts from other sites) are already out there. If you ask me if the idea sounds novel, it is not. Just visit Techcrunch and take a look (For example, http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/28/paypal-cyber-monday-mobile-...)

You will learn if you start doing more market research, but I've found it's either of the two for your initial idea: 1. There is someone else doing the same thing out there; 2. You haven't done enough research.

Even if something similar is NOT out there after all your research, it is highly likely that it has been tried before and failed (and that's why you can't find them). Even these products you can dig up more if you do intensive research via google. You'll learn a lot while going through this process. Just don't be naive and think your idea would be novel when you haven't done any market research yet.

The key is in absorbing as much knowledge as possible in the field you would like to tackle, and later to be able to say "Oh I came up with this idea, and I am 99% sure this is a unique idea that hasn't been done before, because I 'know' all that's been done before"

By the way, Posterous started out as a niche product. The platform may be trying to do everything nowadays, but in the beginning, they were tackling email to blogging niche, which didn't exist before. Everyone thought blogging should be done by signing into your wordpress account, typing a title and content and reading the preview, and then posting.

It would be interesting to figure out how to grab "related articles" from other blogs. Tags are how some sites currently do it, but that is with posts from the same author. Everyone uses tags differently and some don't use tags at all. Maybe keyword density? Or I suppose tags could auto-complete to a standard that you set.

Not exactly from "other blogs". I mean, yes, other blogs, but within the same site. YouTube doesn't list related videos from DailyMotion.

I think it's a mixture of similar content + user activity.

Depends how you do it I suppose. I mean Apple's great products came from improving current products, not "necessarily" creating brand new ones. If you have ideas that have the potential to revolutionize publishing platforms, then do it. At the very least you'll have a product that you can customize to your every whim!

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