Hubdub weds prediction markets to news

It's difficult to come up with a new twist on delivering news on the Web. Sites such as Digg, Techmeme, Google News, DayLife, the blogosphere and traditional media outlets cover the bases.

It's difficult to come up with a new twist on delivering news on the Web. Sites such as Digg, Techmeme, Google News, DayLife, the blogosphere and traditional media outlets cover the bases. At Demo 08, Hubdub is introducing a fresh take on news that leverages the wisdom of crowd, turning news into fodder for prediction markets.

"Hubdub lets people follow news over time and get forecasts on how news stories turn out," company co-founder Nigel Eccles told me.

Hubdub, founded in November last year and headquartered Edinburgh, UK, allows users to formulate questions--such as 'Will Apple introduce a tablet PC?' or 'Who will win the Florida Republican primary?'--and the community wagers on predictions with Hubdub dollars. It turns news and opinion into a kind of sporting game. News stories are aggregated based on the questions, and users vote up or down on them and add comments. Top voted news stories are linked (based on time stamps) to changes in pricing of the prediction markets.

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Hubdub has a leaderboard of the top predictors across categories, which include Technology, Business, World, Entertainment, Politics, Sport, Science and General.

Hubdub is creating widgets that allow forecasts to be placed on a Web page, said Nigel Eccles, company co-founder. Anyone can create a question, but if it is inappropriate or poorly formed, the market can be voided.

How will Hubdub profit from its service? Eccles said advertising is in the works, but also sees the potential for fee-based fantasy leagues. "Tech could be same as in sports fantasy leagues. For $50 you enter a competition and get tech questions to predict. At the end of period, someone wins the money. It fits nicely under fantasy league legal definition," Eccles said. Sounds like fun...

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