Publish 2

by Jason Preston on July 23, 2009

A few days ago I started bugging Paul Balcerak and Ryan Sholin on Twitter about Publish 2 – what is it? Why should I care? Isn’t it just

In response to my noise, Ryan was kind enough to give me a quick tour of Publish 2 yesterday morning. So what is it? Why should you care? And isn’t it just

The short answer is: it’s kind of like, and you should probably care because it is a good way to grow your audience and your traffic.

Publish 2, like many other tagging services, allows you to “save” pages from around the web to a private or public list of links. What’s neat about Publish 2 is that it helps you collect useful, news-related metadata (you know…data about data?), and it makes it easy to integrate the links in its database with your web site.

For example, if I wanted to have a section of my sidebar track all news about the publishing industry, it’s a simple process to create a widget tracking all links tagged with “newspapers” (or something similar), and pace it on my site.

What does that mean for sites that write about newspapers? Their content tagged on Publish 2 gets free rotation in a larger network – if this were Google, they’d have to pay for that link.

There are some other interesting features, but I’m not a big Reviewer Of Things. If you’re interested, go ahead and contact Ryan or someone else at Publish 2, and I’m sure they’d be happy to help you or your organization get started.


1 Paul Balcerak 07.23.09 at 1:40 pm

100 percent shameless self-promotion:

We’ve actually got a social network dedicated to our (loose) group of journalists who share links regularly on Publish 2. A while back, we did a conference call with Ryan, Scott Karp and Josh Korr, all of Publish 2, where they demoed their product and we (briefly) talked about how we might use it heading forward.

Good info in the call, for anyone interested in Publish 2, and as long as we’re talking news, feel free to join the News Collaboration network and start sharing links with us.

2 Matthew 08.03.09 at 8:10 am

A bit late to the game here, but:

I’ve looked at Publish2, and I can’t shake this feeling that having an un-curated, automatic link generator (pulling, even, from a private database of pre-approved material) is a disastrous idea for any serious news site. Can you think of a page you might publish, where you would truly want every link that might be meta-tagged as “newspapers”? I like Publish2, but feel that’s a less-than-perfect use.

3 Paul Balcerak 08.03.09 at 1:32 pm

@Matthew – That’s not a concern if you filter through a newsgroup first. What you can do, for example, is tell the system, “Give me every link tagged as ‘newspapers’ from the newsgroup Northwest News” (that’s one of the ones I’m in). If you start your own newsgroup, you can approve who joins and effectively filter out any rouge linking.

It may sound like a task, but we’ve got a pretty sizable group going. We collaborate on Twitter and Ning, as well as Publish 2, to organize.

4 Matthew 08.05.09 at 3:53 pm


Thanks for breaking it down for me in more detail. It still seems… a bit on the inaccurate side? I understand that everything is pre-curated, but it seems like the system can get about as accurate as Google Ads, and no more.

5 Paul Balcerak 08.05.09 at 4:04 pm


Inaccurate in what sense? There are many more filtering options than what I mentioned. We use customized tags, beyond just the basics. For example, when excess heat from hell invaded Seattle last week, we used the tag “seascorcher” (borrowed from Twitter) and aggregated links tagged with it from the Northwest News group.

6 Matthew 08.05.09 at 9:37 pm


That’s a nice page! Very well-curated, lots of interesting and relevant content. I’m glad you clarified for me, because that’s not what I was picturing in my head. And I don’t think that’s exactly what Jason was talking about (though I could be wrong!).

It sounds like in your case you’ve been tending your garden very carefully. What I was cautioning against was the under-curated, “related articles” sidebar Jason put forward. Because as I’m sure we all know, related articles are very rarely related. I used Google Ads as an example – just because I’m an English speaker in Tokyo, doesn’t mean I’m looking for an apartment. Similarly, just because something is tagged as “newspapers” doesn’t mean it belongs next to an article about declining advertising revenue.

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