News startups graveyard

Running a news startup is tempting, but it almost always goes wrong. The reason is very simple: You can hardly make any money with messages, or at least too little to get the money you invested back.

But let’s just briefly explain why it is so tempting to be a startup to start for news:

Anyone who reads a lot of the news will have experienced this boredom when the submitted news is of poor quality or just not interesting. Every web developer can easily imagine how a better selection could be made with a few tricky algorithms and some statistics.

In addition, the necessary tools are very cheap to use. Most of the basics can be found on the Internet as OpenSource for free.

So you found a company because it’s very easy.

Why does it usually end with a slow belly splash? 

The market is saturated with news offers. For example, as a news aggregator, such as Newstral.com, you don’t just compete with other news aggregators. Rather, you compete with other pause fillers who are fighting for the attention of their users. For example, Newstral competes not only with Google News, but also with Spiegel, Bild, Tagesschau, but also with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. All these portals satisfy the same need to take a break and distract yourself with something interesting.

The consumption of news follows a habit and is rarely associated with a conscious decision. Quite similar to how you make yourself a coffee, or maybe light a butt, you open the browser, or the app. It doesn’t really matter so much whether one offer is better than the other. Or to try a comparison: one type of coffee tastes better without milk and another better with it. Why do we always order with or without? Right, it’s just a habit.

The Cemetery

We have been running Newstral.com since 1999. Since then, many portals, apps and aggregators have been with it a lot of hubbub came and unfortunately left again. Personally, I don’t think that’s nice because I know how hard it is to survive. Nevertheless, I would like to start a list here that, with a bit of luck, might inspire one or the other founder and investor to reflect. What can you learn from these projects?

  • Google Reader
  • Prismatic
  • Zite
  • Circa
  • Taptu
  • Readmill (no news but social reading)
  • Quote.fm
  • Netzeitung.de (not to be confused with Netzzeitung.de)

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