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Mixx launching public beta, rolling out content partnerships

News site, which touts itself as a more customizable alternative to social-media sites like Digg, is scheduled to open up on Tuesday.

An earlier version of this blog incorrectly stated some of Mixx's content partnerships.

Mixx, a social-news site that Webware covered last month, is poised to launch its public beta on Tuesday, along with the first of a number of content partnerships with news outlets.

The site has been in an invitation-only private beta for some time now, and it is attempting to rise above the crowded niche of social news by providing a community-focused service and more ways to customize the news to fit your own interests and preferences.

Mixx differs from social-news leaders like Digg in that instead of providing a central list of news links, it offers a more tweakable experience, from filtering content by category to allowing users to view their local news by ZIP code.

Upon registering, users are asked to pick and choose the kinds of headlines they'd like to see; if you don't want celebrity gossip or Steve Jobs gossip, you won't get it. Additionally, Mixx enables users to create groups for their news consumption preferences, which would have been more newsworthy if Digg hadn't started doing the same thing last month; the Mixx team, however, has pointed out that Mixx news groups can be privatized.

But Mixx has gained buzz not only for its promise of a more customizable social-news experience but also because of the resumes behind it. Mixx founder and CEO Chris McGill is the former head of strategy at USA Today and former general manager of Yahoo News, and several other members of the Mixx team are AOL veterans.

Like video start-up Next New Networks, which has a roster packed with MTV Networks alums, Mixx is a new company that's riding the tide of old-company credentials. On the downside, some start-up enthusiasts will probably snub their noses at Mixx because "big media doesn't get it."

But on the upside, impressive resumes mean good connections, which is probably why Mixx has been able to ink content deals with a number of news outlets: USA Today, Reuters, The Weather Channel, and UClick.

There's no specific model for these content partnerships, and Mixx representatives have stressed that they may include hosted content (text, images and video) on the Mixx.com domain, submit-to-Mixx buttons on partners' sites, or search optimization--so it's all more than a little bit amorphous. But we'll be seeing the first of these roll out over the course of the month.