Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

I want to start an ambitious software project that people want.

I don't want to go into it blindly, building something I only hope people want. This is a request for your help in determining if what I want to build is actually something you and other people would be interested in and use. And if not, what would need to change or be added to make it useful to you? And if you think it is a terrible idea I would appreciate you telling me why.

Who am I?

I am Nick Mudge. Hi. I have been a software developer for 13 years. I made a lot of custom software for companies and I developed a number of software products. I started a software development company in 2014. More info and details here and here. I am passionate about computer programming, the web, and making software.

What is it?

The project is a website called Newsconomy.

Newsconomy is a "news economy". Multiple definitions of economy are valid and apply. In the sense of "the trade of goods in an area", the goods are links to interesting or useful websites, news and information. In the sense of "efficiency", Newsconomy can help you find interesting links and news efficiently.

The website newsconomy.com is a working prototype of what I want to build. You can sign up for an account on Newsconomy and see and use what I am talking about, but please read the rest of this blog post which explains the website.

Newsconomy is a new and different way to share links. It is a new and different way to organize and find interesting news and links. It is a new way to promote interesting content on the web. Because it is new and different it can require a little time and effort to understand it and how it can be useful. So please bear with me as I try to explain it. After reading this, if there are things that you don't understand then please email me and tell me and ask me questions. I want you to understand this and your questions can help me improve how I explain Newsconomy.

Link sharing websites such as reddit.com have a system of user interaction that is used to determine popular links and put them at the top of webpages that many users see. Users vote on links which give the links "points". The more points a link has the higher up it is placed on webpages. The purpose of all this is to make most visible the most interesting and useful content on the web, based on user feedback.

Newsconomy has a different system of user interaction for determining interesting and useful content that is made more visible. As far as I know it is a unique system for a link sharing website. But before I describe Newsconomy's system it is important to define some basic terms and mechanics of Newsconomy.

Basics

An "item" on Newsconomy is a URL to something on the web plus various data associated with the URL such as a title for the URL, a description if any, and tags. I will start using the word "item" to refer to a URL on Newsconomy and its associated data.

Newsconomy has the concept of "owning" an "item". If you own an item on Newsconomy it means it is yours and you control it and you can do various things with it. But you only own it on the Newsconomy website. You don't own it outside the Newsconomy website.

There are two different ways to "own" an item. One way is to submit a new URL to Newsconomy. If it hasn't been submitted before then submitting it will create a new item that you own. When submitting an item you will need to provide various data for the item such as a title, an optional description, tags and more.

If you try to submit an item that has already been submitted, Newsconomy will detect that and prevent you from submitting the URL. Instead you will be shown the item that was already submitted. You can still get the item by "buying" it, which is explained next.

Newsconomy has a monetary currency called lambda, represented with the λ symbol. Lambda is used to "buy" other people's items. This is the second way to own items. When you find an item that you like that is owned by someone else, you buy it with lambda. In other link sharing websites you upvote content you like, but in Newsconomy you buy it.

You buy an item for the same reason you upvote or "like" content on other websites. Because you like it, or because you think it is valuable or useful and more people should see it. Buying an item for more lambda increases its exposure to other people. You may also buy it because you want to save it as a bookmark so that you can access or remember it later. And/or you may think that the price for the item is too low. If you buy it you can sell it at a higher price and earn lambda.

Each item has a price that is set by its owner. Each item has a "Buy" link that users can click on to buy it. When someone buys an item the lambda is transferred out of his/her account and into the account of the seller, and the item gets transferred to the buyer's account.

Each user has an account. An account consists of information about a user and all the items that the user owns. Some things, like how much lambda a user has can only be seen by the user whose account it is and other things can be seen by anyone. You can see what items a user owns by clicking on the name of a user. Clicking on the name of a user takes you to a webpage that shows all the items the owner owns and it also shows you all the tags the user has used. You can buy any of the user's items if you have enough lambda. You can click on any of the user's tags to filter the user's items.

Each item can have up to 5 tags. A tag is a label that is added to an item to describe it and categorize it. Clicking on a tag in Newsconomy will cause it to display only the items that have that tag. This is filtering. You can see all items that have a tag across all users. It is also possible to see all items owned by a specific user that use a specific tag. It is also possible to filter items with multiple tags. Newsconomy URLs can use operators "+" and "|" to mean "and this tag" and "or this tag". Examples of filtering items by tags can be seen in this blog post: Newsconomy Has Some Tag Kung-Fu

Here's an example of what an item currently looks like on Newsconomy:

Example item

You can see in the trading history that mudge submitted the URL (http://www.google.com) and then later the user yami2yami bought the item for 10 lambda on the same day and set the price to 100 lambda. The only tag given for the item is "google".

User Interaction and Content Organization

Instead of upvoting content you buy items that you like. How do you get lambda? If you submit something good to Newsconomy, and set a reasonable price, someone will likely buy it from you and then you will have lambda. You also get lambda by buying items at low prices and selling them at higher prices. For example someone submits something good and sets the price to 1 lambda. You notice that it is good, and that the price undervalues it. So you buy it for 1 lambda and set a new price of 10 lambda. An hour later someone else buys the item from you and sets a higher price. You just made 9 more lambda.

The plan is to show on the homepage the items that have lots of trading activity and/or large buys/sells. If an item is bought several times at high prices then it is likely an interesting item so it will be shown on the homepage of Newsconomy and on or near the top of tag webpages. A tag webpage is a webpage that is shown that is filtered by a tag. For example this is a tag webpage that shows items about java: http://newsconomy.com/tag/java.

So you see, good, interesting content is found and displayed on the main webpages on the website based on users buying and selling them. But it is possible for a user to submit a really good item but set such a high price for it that nobody buys it and so it isn't noticed by the algorithm that determines which items to make more visible. I will probably need to include some other factors in determining which items to make more visible.

It is possible to change what items are shown on the homepage of the website and other places. There is a link called "submitted". Clicking that will show items that have recently been submitted in date order. This is how people can find new items to buy.

Currently the homepage of Newsconomy only shows recently submitted items and items that have been recently bought. But this will change when the amount of item submissions and trades increase.

Value

Newsconomy will help people evaluate the value and usefulness of websites, news and information on the web because they will see how much lambda people are willing to pay for them as items on Newsconomy. The trading history on an item shows every time it was sold, when it was sold, and who bought it and for how much.

What I want to do and build

  1. Newsconomy.com is currently using old web/programming/design technologies. I want to rewrite it using modern web technologies such as the Luminus web framework. This includes giving Newsconomy a modern, good looking visual design, and better user authentication.
  2. I want to promote and market Newsconomy to get new users. I will create official documentation for Newsconomy. I will continue to build, communicate with and help the community. I will listen to users and based on user feedback I will add new features to Newsconomy that make it better. For example if users want the ability to add comments to items, which are controlled by owners of items, then I will add that functionality. If users want stats of user activity, I will add that, etc.
  3. I want to integrate a cryptocurrency into Newsconomy to use as lambda. Smart Media Tokens as a cryptocurrency looks like something that would work well with Newsconomy. Using a cryptocurrency in Newsconomy would add a real financial value to lambda and would enable users to have a way to convert their lambda into a fiat currency such as USD etc. and it gives users a way to buy lambda.
  4. I want to create software and policies and systems that prevent fraud/cheating/gaming the Newsconomy website.
  5. I want to implement software, systems and policies to handle the instability of URLs.

    Newsconomy depends on URLs, but URLs can be unstable. For example a web server can redirect one URL to another. How should Newsconomy handle this? Currently Newsconomy checks to see if a web server redirects a submitted URL to a different URL and if it does then Newsconomy saves and uses the final redirected URL as the URL for the item. Newsconomy also needs a way to handle URL redirection by the use of Javascript.

    It sometimes happens that the URL structure of an entire website or part of a website changes and all the old URLs become invalid. Newsconomy needs to support a way to handle this smoothly, such as a way to update the URLs of items.

Financing Newsconomy

I want to spend most of my work time working on Newsconomy. In order to do that I need to find a way to financially support my time working on it and pay for other resources that are dedicated to it. I could offer an initial coin offering (ICO) for Smart Media Token-based lambda. This would have the benefit of putting lambda into users' hands which I think would encourage them to trade on Newsconomy. And/or I could start a Kickstarter campaign. Or perhaps I could find an angel investor. What do you think?

Newsconomy Background

I made the newsconomy.com prototype website ten years ago. I did not market or promote it very much and I didn't develop it much after initially making it. Despite that, and despite that it has ideas that are new and hard for people to understand, it has acquired 131 users who have submitted one or more items.

I have been personally using newsconomy.com successfully for the past 10 years as my bookmarking website. I personally have over 2000 web bookmarks on newsconomy.com.

Here is a link to a list of links about Newsconomy: http://newsconomy.com/tag/newsconomy

I was originally inspired by the old del.icio.us bookmarking website and I still am.

At this time in my life I want to make Newsconomy into a big thing and make it something very interesting and useful for you and others.

Your Feedback

I am interested in your suggestions and input, good or bad. You can write a comment or send me an email: nick@perfectabstractions.com.

If you are interested in Newsconomy and/or want to be a part of its community, please fill out the form below to join the Newsconomy email list. Your interest means a lot to me.