Microsoft is trying some interesting social sites in some foreign countries, a service called MSN Reporter has been launched in the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway that is a Digg type of site, where users submit news articles and users vote whether the site is good or bad with a click.
Two things are most striking about MSN Reporter. First, these social news experiments are already being leveraged in the heart of MSN’s larger online properties – nl.msn.com for example displays the top four MSN Reporter stories right on the front page. AOL certainly doesn’t put the top Netscape stories on its front page – there?s a fairly arduous editorial process required just to get stories from the sprawling Weblogs Inc. network onto AOL proper. For MSN to put top social news stories on the front page of a primary site is a big deal.
The second big step taken by MSN Reporter is that unlike supposed Digg clones at Yahoo!, Dell and AOL’s Netscape – MSN Reporter users are able to submit links to pages completely outside of MSN control and no effort is made to keep readers tied to the MSN domain when they visit those sites. Reporter is an important sign that for at least one big player, walled content gardens aren’t as set in stone as we might think. Digg was a key market leader in demonstrating that a site can win in terms of traffic by letting its users point each other off site. Monetization is a big question that remains for these sites, but MSN appears willing in Europe at least to experiment meaningfully with the approach.
There are certainly differences between MSN Reporter and Digg, the most notable being the ability to vote stories down as well as up and the absence of substantial user profiles. Digg has arguably gained a lot of steam from the top users whom until recently won bragging rights from an onsite list of their names and contributions. Source: MSN Experimenting With Most Digg Like Service Yet
There are several write-ups about it
Can this be a Digg Killer? Probably not, or, at least not until Digg users get tired of it. If Microsoft does this right, like opening one for each country and then tying them into one big site, where the top stories from each country carry over and users can vote on them or add news ones, that might have potential. They could spend time building each individual Reporter up, like they are with these three, and it would have to work. I must wish they had an English version I could play with.
So far there has been considerable interest in the new service, with reportedly 500,000 and 800,000 users visiting the site in the 1st and 2nd months respectively. With articles getting up to 10,000 votes and 1,000 comments, this is a on a completely different level to most existing social news sites. This popularity does have some disadvantages though, with an increasing amount of spam now appearing on the site. What makes this such an exciting development however is that the top 4 headlines from MSN Reporter are displayed on the MSN.nl homepage, for all to see. With popularity like this, we could be seeing the start of new era of social news on MSN. Source: MSN enter social news arena with Digg competitor – MSN Reporter
They really have the new look Microsoft is giving everything as well, here is a screenshot. I expect big things from it.