I am very pleased to announce the launch of cleantech news which is the first phase of an ambitious plan to create a cleantech information community.
The cleantech news page consists of news items that are generated automatically by scanning over 200 cleantech blogs and news sources. The algorithm that is used to establish relevance and determine ranking currently takes three main criteria into account: 1) what other bloggers are saying about a news item, 2) how users across the Internet prefer a news item (which we call 'social popularity'), 3) the 'freshness' or age of the article. Over time, the algorithm will evolve and become smarter as it incorporates new criteria, some of which is discussed below in "What's Next?".
When we set out to build the application, we were not sure what we would get. I am very pleased to say that the quality of the cleantech news is better than I had expected. Of course, you are the real judge of that and we welcome your comments and feedback.
Please note that the Alt Energy Stocks blog will continue to be focused on investing in cleantech. At this time, the clean tech news page will have a broader, more general focus on cleantech.
How To Get on CleanTech News
If you have a blog or news source that you would like to appear on the cleantech news page, the first step is to make sure your RSS¹ feed is added to our list of clean tech feeds. We have done a good job seeding the list with many clean tech feeds but we are sure that we are missing other quality sources of information. To add a feed, you will need to register - of course, registration is free. We accept all feeds that relate to some aspect of clean technology. We often get requests for links and this is a good way of getting a link from our site. All feeds accepted will appear in our list of feeds.
The listing of a feed does not ensure that stories will make it to the cleantech news page - that is determined by the algorithm. Writing good content that is engaging to the cleantech blogosphere is the best way of being featured on the cleantech news page. Providing insight and coverage of other important news items in the clean tech blogosphere will also help.
Cleantech news is the first step in creating a cleantech information community. When I use the term cleantech information community, I use it to describe an online community built around cleantech news and information that allows for participation, sharing, discussion and networking.
Here are some of the features that will be added to the current cleantech news that we hope will help us to grow into a vibrant cleantech community:
Additional Categories - At this time, we have a general category for 'cleantech news'. We will be adding categories for the many areas of cleantech, categories such as: climate change, ethanol, solar power, biofuels, wind, geothermal etc. These categories will contain news that only pertains to that topic; this will make it easier for you to focus on the particular aspects of cleantech that you are interested in. A bit farther down the road, we also plan on tracking specific companies and ticker symbols in this way.
RSS Feeds - Each category will offer an RSS feed of its news items to make information tracking easier.
User Submission - Users will be able to submit stories directly. We will also continue to automatically scan the blogosphere for important cleantech news.
User Voting - Users will be given the opportunity to vote on news items. Voting gives users a direct method of influencing what we read - this makes the news smarter as we harness the collective wisdom of our users.
User Comments - Users will be able to comment on the news; sometimes the comments are better than the news itself. Users will be able to comment on a specific new item or they will be able to comment on all the news for the day in a category. Commenting on the news for the day provides an opportunity for the news to be summarized.
Focus on Users - A community is built of people and any good community should highlight the people in that community. Our pages will designed to spotlight the participation and contribution of each category’s top users. A category is made richer and more valuable if we can quickly identify the experts in that category. User profiles allow users to let the community know who they are and what affiliations they have in the cleantech community. We hope this will encourage networking and interaction directly between users.
Focus on Information - In addition to every category page identifying the top users, category pages will also identify the top news items over the last year and the top websites for that category.
Feedback - We are committed to making the community better by listening to your feedback and suggestions. The community pages will provide unobtrusive ways for you to tell us what you think. We will use that information to improve the community.
We are excited about these changes and the road ahead. We welcome and appreciate your feedback on clean tech news.
¹RSS (Really Simple Syndication/Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS feed to make it easier for their users to follow changing content. More on RSS and web feeds.