AuditoriumA is the anti-Digg
Is the world ready (again) for a hand-crafted Web directory?
AuditoriumA is a thoroughly ancient idea wrapped in a modern interface. The site is a collection of links (with commentary), hand-chosen by the site's editors and with the occasional help of the audience. It's the fanciest link-blog I've seen, and the stories are of high quality. At least it appears so to me--and it also appears that founder Tony Mars and I have similar tastes in content.
There will be a paid version of AuditoriumA when it is released later this year.
But as much as I like the content on the site, I question the business model. A paid directory? What is this, AOL? While I may bemoan the quality of community link sites like Digg, I still spend hours on it, jumping around the entertaining and informative sites to which it links. The basic model makes more sense for both users and the people who run sites: Find a community you like, and let the hive-mind drive. See StumbleUpon, for example. Or Del.icio.us.
Mars says that his site's hand-picked content will be compelling to people who don't have the time or inclination to participate in a community site. He wants to reach people who want great content but don't want to work to find it. And he thinks some people will pay his company to do that work for them.
Maybe some will, but it's a big, big gamble. You can try out the private beta yourself. Use this link for a special Webware sign-up.
See also: Mahalo.