When you finish reading this story, what should you read next? This question is becoming a growing pre-occupation for web publishers who are turning to a variety of story suggestion tools in hopes of keeping you on the page. The latest offering comes from a company called Reverb which believes its background as a dictionary maker makes it well poised to find readers relevant content.
Reverb, which officially launched today, draws on the semantic knowledge of its parent site, Wordnik, an online dictionary that assigns meaning to words based on both standard definitions and real-life context. Reverb believes Wordnik’s technology will allow it to do a better job finding relevant stories than other content suggestion engines.
“We want to go beyond the lowest common denominator of celebrity posts,” said CEO Tony Tam in a phone interview, and claimed that Reverb’s ability to surface relevant content means publishers will get more life from their old stories. Tam says more than 1500 publishers and blogs are so far using the technology, including sites like Laughing Squid and Dressaday.com
For now, Reverb’s service is free to publishers. The no-charge model appears to be an attempt by Reverb to get a foothold in the market for story suggestion engines. Right now, that market is dominated by Outbrain, a New York company that helps publishers surface their own stories but also place links to content from around the web — if a reader clicks on one of the outside stories or ads, the publisher gets a commission which it shares with Outbrain. Meanwhile, commenting service Disqus has also launched an ambitious plan to make money from proposing suggested stories and ads in the reader comment section of websites.