So Mixx — a Digg-like social news app — has been bragging to anyone who will listen that its traffic has doubled to a million uniques a month in May, and it is getting lots of love from its mainstream-media partners, including USA Today, Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Reuters and Slate. But is a million uniques good or bad? That depends on who you ask (or whom, if you’re going to get all grammatical on me). Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web isn’t impressed, since that’s a lot less than the 26 million uniques that Digg gets every month. Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch seems a little more impressed, and Nick O’Neill over at the Social Times blog says that it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Nick has a point when he says that 200-per-cent growth in a single month is pretty impressive, although it’s worth noting that such growth rates aren’t unheard of when a site is coming from a small base. My ability to bench-press 350 pounds increased by 200 per cent last month as well, but that’s because I was able to do three of them instead of just one. Marshall’s point seems to be that Mixx should be seeing even more growth given some of the top-tier names that are adding Mixx links to their news stories. As the Washington Post notes, many of those connections come from Mixx founder Chris McGill’s former ties to Yahoo and USA Today (McGill has responded to Marshall’s post).
Drew Curtis, the founder of Fark, makes an interesting point in the Washington Post story: he says he doesn’t think social-news services such as Digg and Mixx are a great fit with mainstream media sites. “Most people don’t bother with them because they’re either lazy or they just don’t care,” he says. A little harsh, but pretty close to the truth, I would argue. Mixx may have no trouble attracting social-news junkies — although I find it cluttered and don’t see much in the way of community there (something Tony Hung mentions as well) — but will many of those come from the links at CNN or USA Today? I’m not so sure.