Tip’d, which launched today, describes itself as "a place for investors... to meet, share, discuss, comment, and vote on what’s happening on both Wall Street and Main Street." Essentially, it's another Digg clone targeting a particular vertical. In this case, financial news.
Content categories include Commodities, Economy, Personal Finance, Stocks, and Tech. Instead of Digging a story submission, users vote by hitting the "Tip It" button. Just like Digg, only those stories that receive enough votes feature on the site's homepage.
However, what makes Tip'd standout from similar Digg clones is the person appointed to help cultivate and manage the community -- Muhamad Saleem. For it's the community in which any social news site lives or dies by. Over the last few years Saleem has lived and breathed social media. He's a top user on Digg itself, as well as being very active on other social media sites such as StumbleUpon and Reddit. He's also a paid user of AOL's own Digg clone Propeller, as well as a prolific blogger in his own right.
It's also hard not to think that in a rather perverse way, the timing of the site's launch couldn't be better as the financial crisis means that all eyes are on the economy. Never before has Main Street paid so much attention to Wall Street.
As well as building the community in terms of raw user numbers - Saleem and co. believe that 3-5,000 sign-ups should be enough for Tip'd to become "self-sustaining" - the site's vertical could pose unique challenges of its own. The temptation for short sellers or pranksters to spam the site in the hope of manipulating the markets will be great. A problem that requires a large or active community that can eventually police themselves.
Of course, the larger the user-base, the greater the rewards for those that successfully game the system. On that note, in the short term at least, Saleem concedes that Tip'd will have to watch submissions closely and reserves the right to delete suspicious looking stories. They don't want to repeat the 'Steve Jobs has serious heart attack' scenario that recently brought CNN's citizen journalist site into ill repute. At the same time they are keen to avoid the "'ban first, ask questions later' attitude that seems to permeate so many other social media sites." [Tip'd FAQs]
Ultimately, however, Tip'd will only succeed if it can persuade publishers of financial news sites and blogs to add the Tip It submission button to their content, something they're far more likely to do once Tip'd grows big enough to send significant amounts of traffic back in return. And that's less likely to happen without the support of publishers -- creating a bit of a catch 22 situation.