Can you pronounce “Thruzt”?
The latest in the line of Digg-killers hits the streets…er…the Internet today. And Thruzt is its name. And it has several things going for it that should make Digg - and it’s evil twin Reddit - take notice.
I said at the time that Digg made a big mistake getting rid of “Shouts”. Shouts were a means by which a Digg user could send a message to one, two three or any number of friends on Digg, seeking votes, comments, shares or whatever.
Shouts lasted only six months on Digg. But ending them was a big mistake, because it sent people (like me) off-Digg to share content. Mostly to Twitter. And Digg lost users to Twitter.
Digg shouts are back, but they are not Digg’s. They are called “Howls” and they belong to the latest upstart challenger to what is left of Digg (which is actually very little compared to Digg’s heyday when “Popping” to the front page was known to rash servers – when Shouts were part of its landscape).
Will you use Thruzt?
You can be forgiven for being skeptical about the success of Thruzt. Other challengers have come and gone. But Thruzt is different, and not just because of Howls.
First, Thruzt has a much more visual feel than any other social bookmarking or social voting website. Yes, it has that Pinterest feel to it. And in this day of the visual Web, that is a big bonus, because people will feel more comfortable browsing through the submissions.
Second, Thruzt has been previewed by a bedazzling line-up of many of the who’s who among Digg users. It is hard to kick-start a new social bookmarking site. But when so many “power users” are there to kick it off, I have to believe the odds are in its favour.
I was blessed with a preview of Thruzt before its public launch, and I asked its founder, Marcus Hirn (aka ZetaDog ), why he started Thruzt.
In a nutshell, he loved the old Digg, before Version 4, before Digg started bleeding members. He doesn’t feel comfortable with Reddit’s layout. And he kept seeing Digg lose members and lose community:
“I waited for over a year. I stayed very loyal to Digg but when all my friends dropped off one by one, I decided to do something about it. I thought, well if Digg won’t fix itself then I might as well build my own site. Being a web developer in my “normal” life helped. The process with thruzt started during the summer of 2011.”
I asked him what was different about Thruzt, and he talked a lot about the Pinterest layout and how it inspired him.
“But the problem was that their site did not provide me with a great tool to promote content to 3rd party sites. It is designed to keep members on their site with the occasional click through to original content.”
And the results are…
So he put Thruzt together with what he saw was the functionality of Digg, the communications of Twitter and the layout of Pinterest. And here is how he describes the result:
“Instead of it being another social network I want visitors to see it as a game, where you use real life information, submit it and then try your hardest to get attention to it. You will need to be very clever, active and build a powerful network of friends in order become successful. Bear in mind not everyone wants that. I also want to have a site with great content. For instance we have a few interesting categories or “paths” as we have chosen to name them. Military (marines, navy, army, cyber warfare), Household (with emphasis on family), and Body & Mind (with focus on the individual) as a few examples.”
I know more than a few people who have had dirty thoughts when the name “Thruzt” came up, so I asked Marcus where the name came from.
“Ha, ha, ha… Well it started with my search for action words. I wanted to have a verb that could either inspire, give indication of what the site is about, and something that would mean “moving forward’ or “boosting”. I found a bunch of words I liked but as we all know, most names have been registered .com’s already. When I found that thruzt.com (a twist on the word thrust) was available I jumped on it. It answered all my wishes. Only a few moments after I registered it, did I realize the “pelvic thrust” association. I started laughing and the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. The only drawback with the name was the spelling. It is a bit too hard to memorize and spell. But I figured that if people learned how to pronounce and spell Schwarzenegger they could eventually learn the same with thruzt. I only later realized it is a great community gimmick. It attracts laughter and people are having fun with it. I want all visitors to be thruzted. It’s more fun thruzting together then thruzting alone and I’ll thruzt any of my friends gladly.”
I am in trouble. I could never spell “Schwarzenegger” without seeing it first.
Markers, don’t beware…but be smart.
Given that this is a blog about marketing, I had to ask the question: “Let’s say you have a blog or a website to promote. Will you have your head chopped off like at Reddit? What are the boundaries a webmaster needs to follow to be cool on Thruzt?”
Good news. You are free to promote. Promotion and spamming are not the same thing, and Thruzt recognizes this. There will be some rules so that it’s a fair game for all, so it’s smart to play by them. Smaller niche marketing-related bookmarking sites like BizSugar and Blokube and My SEO Community and MMOsocialnetwork encourage self promotion. Big general interest sites like Digg and Reddit (and the old Mixx and Propeller) have always discouraged it and would treat anyone promoting a website as if they were terrorists or rapists.
But at Thruzt it looks like the quality of the content and the quality of the networking are what really counts. Promote your political views. Promote your hobbies. Promote a pic that grabs you or a story you find interesting. Promote videos of your son’s yo-yo competition entries. Or promote your own blog or website. Just make it interesting to others.
“As I mentioned above, thruzt is a game of social networking. If blogs or site owners think that they need to submit every story on to thruzt let them. It will still require much more then submitting to get any attention. Please note all links are no follow until they pop. You will have to work each story on to the front page in order to have traffic (if that is what you are after). Nobody likes a spammer and I think webmasters will quickly understand this. There will be some common sense rules but no more restrictions are intended.”
He said a lot more on this to me, and I think it is worth reproducing it here verbatim.
“It is wrong to confine user behavior. I want to give users the opportunity to choose their own path. On thruzt I have tried to give them the tools and will be adding more. I have no intention of trying to restrict members in their creativity and passion for sharing and promoting whatever content they want to highlight to the world. The only “restrictions” will be what I believe are common sense rules for a community to function and to fight spam etc.”
“For instance, on all social media there is a fear of “gaming” the system. That power users take over and the individual user is pushed aside. Well that is assuming that a community is only about “popping” a story to get traffic.”
“On thruzt I will have a new approach. I will not restrict users. No, instead I will encourage all users to learn the system. Figure out clever ways to push your own stories. I believe in free markets and freedom of choice. I believe in people’s ingenuity. Thruzt is meant not to be a ‘fair’ playground where “everyone gets equal attention”. No, thruzt should be looked at more as a game, where the player has to overcome obstacles and find ways to grow in power.
There are many ways to make yourself a name. You can become a great submitter of great content in your genre, you can become a very powerful and respected (and followed) commenter, You can become a great front page ‘popper’. Or you can be one of the unknown silent people who prefer to watch and read in the shadows, perhaps with the only interaction being a thruzt vote. There are tons of ways to get attention and I believe a great community will always reward people that are passionate and active. I will run thruzt with a motto I have lived my whole life by: ‘You get what you give’.”
So, it might be more than a hybrid of Digg, Pinterest and Twitter. Thruzt might be the first “official” social voting game – where “gaming” the system is actually part of the game.
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