Over the years, the world of online content has become increasingly convoluted and disjointed.
The best articles get lost beneath an avalanche of biased pieces, clickbait and content that’s too lengthy to read. All of this adversely impacts the average person’s ability to access credible media outlets that allow them to remain informed in today’s ever-changing world.
In the digital age, the biggest issue confronting the news industry is verifiability. In other words, how can readers be certain that what they’re reading is true? Moreover, how do they know whether a particular media source is trustworthy?
The growing lack of credibility within the media industry became the impetus for Ran Reichman and Rani Horev to create a fresh alternative to today’s prevailing media model. Known as Snip, this innovative news site delivers short, to-the-point summaries of the day’s most important stories and events. Through the use of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, Snip allows readers to tap into targeted news feeds on topics customized around their interests.
“I founded Snip in May 2016 with machine learning and data science specialist Rani Horev, a co-graduate of the elite Talpiot program of the Israeli Defense Forces,” said Reichman. “Both Rani and I were frustrated by the low quality of news and how hard it was to find high-quality, interesting and brief content. Basically, there was a lot of long and good content and a lot of short and bad content, but almost no high-quality short content. We started Snip as a small Facebook page for friends and family and it gradually grew to more than 30,000 users and 1,400 paying subscribers.”
When asked for a basic overview of Snip’s value proposition, Reichman was succinct: “Snip is a news platform which keeps you updated on things that are happening in the world, personalized to you and in a short and concise format,” he said. “The headlines are anti-clickbait, allowing you to understand what the story is about before clicking on it and wasting your time. Snip quickly learns what you care about and provides you with stories on those topics, in addition to enlightening stories on other topics.”
The platform’s core model, Reichman said, is predicated on a distributed system where a worldwide collective of content generators curate short news submissions, or “snips,” that are then read by others on the site. Snips can be accessed in a number of different mediums, including audio and video, in addition to traditional, text-based posts. At its core, the site is censorship resistant — a characteristic generally viewed as a key element in the democratization of journalism.
In gathering and curating online content, site curators are incentivized and rewarded for their efforts. The Snip online community connects writers to readers directly, mitigating the risk of censorship and bias inherent in the legacy news industry.
This entire process is seamless, with end users able to take in their own collection of snippets which are personalized through machine learning algorithms. The ultimate goal is to ensure that users can have a quality site experience without needing to understand the intricacies of the distributed technology and cryptocurrency systems undergirding the site.
Writers can generate income from their efforts. Currently, those rewards are in the form of fiat currency with plans to transition to the site’s native cryptocurrency, SnipCoin, an ERC20 token secured by the Ethereum blockchain.
Readers will have the ability to utilize SnipCoin to purchase premium services such as ad-free news feeds, audio snips and customized written content. Additionally, advertisers will eventually be able to use SnipCoin to purchase ad space to increase their visibility on the platform.
SnipCoin distributions will begin in late September with the commencement of Snip’s token sale, where a total of 3 billion coins will eventually be released. The initial coin offering (ICO) is valued at $8 million. Upon completion of the ICO, the project will launch in a closed, invite-only alpha format for the purpose of testing critical features germane to the site such as comments, voting, customized news feeds and spam protections.
Reichman, for one, has strong opinions about ICOs, noting that project developers often launch ventures without any credible evidence of a functional product or service model. Snip, he added, transcends this as a result of already having tens of thousands of active users, as well as over a thousand paying subscribers.
This proven functionality, he said, should give “our ICO participant confidence that the Snip team will create a product people will actively engage with and enjoy.”
A New Era of Blockchain-Driven Content
Blockchain-based news delivery offers immense possibilities in terms of how news could be digested, whether on social media or mainstream media feeds. This nascent technological movement has the potential to decentralize control, remove third-party intermediaries from public news access, prevent censorship and promote bias-free content.
According to Reichman, Snip is uniquely positioned to capitalize on three major trends that are currently reshaping the media landscape:
Tokenization and Cryptocurrencies: Tokens allow companies to turn their users and contributors into real stakeholders of the ecosystem, making them ambassadors of the product. This is especially important in news, where distribution is a huge challenge.
Machine Learning: Snip uses machine learning to find the best content online, then offers it to writers and subsequently personalizes the content to users with additional machine learning technology.
The Rise of the Millennial Generation: As opposed to previous generations, millennials never got used to reading print newspapers and expect an online-first news outlet — ideally, one which is smart, interactive and to the point.
When asked about his greatest hope and vision for Snip over the next 12 to 18 months, Reichman laid out his thinking.
“Our vision for Snip is to become the go-to place for news, a household name which everyone can rely on for information on what's going on, and also to discover new and interesting topics of conversation,” he said. “In 18 months we aim to reach more than a million daily users.”