Trendio is a new prediction site that blends the feel of a stock market with that of fantasy football. Instead of using actual companies, Trendio places value on people or words as they show up around news sites on the Internet. Trendio users can purchase word stock using Trendillions (the site's fake currency) and manage their stocks within portfolios. Your goal as a Trendio user is to create a portfolio with words that interest you (so you can track their popularity) or that you simply think will do well on the market (so you can earn fake money).
Trendio isn't the first prediction market. The Hollywood Stock Exchange has been around several years; it lets its users keep a portfolio of actors and films whose values fluctuate based on news presence. There are also sites that use actual dollars, such as Betfair and HedgeStreet. Sites like these pull their results from a large group of media sources, although most (including Trendio) won't provide a full list.
What sets Trendio apart is that you can actually use the funds you have amassed to buy into site-sponsored contests. One of the more interesting contests was a technology competition, which challenged users to create portfolios specifically with techie words. There have also been contests about sports, business, and politics. During the contests you can view the rankings on a leaderboard and take a look at the contents of their portfolios. The top-ranked participants at the close of a contest get a prize, ranging from site prestige to actual money. These prizes are few and far between, though, leaving the spoils to those who have used the site long enough to have large accounts and thus make the biggest gains. If Trendio wanted to step it up a notch, they'd let users sell some of their Trendillions for actual cash or convert them to products and services from affiliate sites. Whether or not the casual user would want to go through such a scheme is questionable.
Browsing Trendio's categories is similar to looking at a stock site such as Yahoo Finance. There's a graph charting the day's most popular word in the past 72 hours, along with five of the biggest stories that get pulled in from Google News. There's also a live newsfeed at the bottom of the screen. In this box you can see what words are being bought or sold, along with the latest user comments in that genre of word.
Is there a point to a site like this? Potentially. If you're into the idea of fantasy sports but don't like sports themselves, there's the opportunity to test your expertise and analysis skills. As far as adding value to your day, Trendio frankly comes across as a time waster. Marketers, however, could have a field day looking at the portfolios of the site's top users. Trendio's interface is pleasing to the eyes, but I honestly question how long users will keep using a service without added incentive such as the opportunity to make real money. In the meantime, it's in a strange limbo between being fun and business that doesn't quite fit in either genre.