Today Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon launched a new website, Counterparties.com. Taking its name from his daily morning aggregation post, Counterparties curates the most talked-about and best news articles from Mr. Salmon’s personal Google Reader and Twitter feeds, using content curation algorithms developed by a start-up called Percolate.com. The company, which emails its users news digests based on the news being talked about by people they follow—is still in invite-only “double-secret alpha” mode, but Mr. Salmon is something of a power user. He subscribes to 908 blogs (about half of which are active), and follows roughly the same number of Twitter users.
After Mr. Salmon proposed the idea in the spring of 2010, Percolate.com developed a plug-in for Counterparties.com’s content management system, WordPress, and licensed its API to Reuters. (Reuters’s logo and footer appear on Counterparties, but it is otherwise unconnected with Reuters, for now.) The site is ad-free, for now, but if that changes, Mr. Salmon hopes advertisers use display space to aggregate their own favorite links. Such experimentation is a luxury of working for wire giant Thomson Reuters.
“At other companies, the first question is, ‘How do we monetize this?’” Mr. Salmon told off the Record. Counterparties is an experiment, he said, but the Percolate platform may be rolled out for other Reuters writers.
Counterparties aggregates only linked headlines: No Huffington Post or Atlantic Wire-style rewrites. But unlike other algorithm powered headline-aggregators, like Techmeme, Counterparties has a little bit of voice. The site is edited by Ryan McCarthy, who re-writes headlines and adds tags in a dead pan style reminiscent of The Awl.
Aggregation done right encourages people to read more–a pet topic of Mr. Salmon’s blog lately. He thinks journalists especially need to do more reading than writing.
In case the aggregation battle lines weren’t drawn clear enough: A small box at the bottom of the screen houses “Stuff We’re Not Linking To.” Today these include headlines from Mr. Salmon’s nemesis Henry Blodget’s site, Business Insider and Mr. McCarthy’s former employer, The Huffington Post. And yes, they are linked.