Local firm SoMedia Networks wants to take social networks and blogs to the next level by automating, aggregating and plugging built-in systems into companies who need to plug themselves into the social Web. The company is the brainchild of George Fleming, a dot.com veteran who made his mark starting in the mid-90’s with firms such as eCharge and broadband network Evolution USA, and continuing with comparison health site Healthpricer before founding SoMedia Networks in 2005.
Fleming said he started SoMedia because he became enthralled with blogs and the social media revolution and wanted to take both to a corporate level. “Social media is the next leg of the Internet, but sorting the wheat from the chaff of the millions of blogs out there is the difficult part,” Fleming says.
To solve the problem, SoMedia functions as an aggregator of the best blogs and other media on specific subjects. By gathering top of the line information and articles from blogs, and categorizing it by keyword, tags and category, SoMedia enhances the blog with social networking tools, groups, and messaging, in addition to high quality aggregated content.“So a company that doesn’t have the expertise or time to start up a Web 2.0 site becomes the expert in their industry and starts getting traffic from those interested in that industry, all in a turnkey system,” Fleming said.
He also stresses the importance of only aggregating the highest quality content available, in order to create a first-class destination site.“We want a system that provides credibility and instant authority on a given subject, and is able to leverage traffic, but to do that you have to quantify, and we make sure to track down blog authors and verify their expertise before we include them,” Fleming says.
SoMedia has already rolled out several of their own aggregated blog sites, including Greenedia, which is dedicated to alternative fuels and environmental concerns, Healthedia, a similar site dedicated to health, and Blabaloo, a celebrity gossip aggregator. SoMedia’s next step is to create a series of local blog aggregators, starting with VancouverIAM and SeattleIAM and rolling out across North America throughout the year.“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, because the Internet is going local, and local blogs are gaining traction but no-one’s really aggregating them. Every city has one or two aggregators, but they’re generally pretty clunky and Web 1.0,” Fleming says.
The key, he said, is adding social media tools into the mix, such as allowing users to create blogs, start groups and upload video and audio. Fleming also touted a “rumour” feature that lets users vote up and down on local rumours they post to the site. Not all of the blogs will generate tremendous traffic, he says, but collectively they will deliver a large amount of traffic that will drive revenue. Advertising will also add revenue to Somedia’s network of networks.