The idea behind The Daily Dot, a new website that just emerged from invite-only private beta today, sounds like a great premise for an infographic. “Day-to-day coverage will focus on ‘neighborhoods.’ Sites like Reddit, like Digg and like Etsy are really like cities. And the web is like a large country of itself,” founding editor Owen Thomas told his former colleagues at VentureBeat. It’s easy enough to picture an illustrator going to town with a map of the internet and Etsy’s cutesy, cuddly cul-de-sac next to 4Chan’s lawless urban sprawl.
But is it enough to carry an entire newspaper?
The online-only news outlet was founded by Nova Spivack, a serial entrepreneur and investor in Klout, as well as CEO Nicholas White, who quit his family’s 179-year-old newspaper company to join the start-up. So far, they have raised $600,000 for media execs and investors with commitments for more if necessary.
The wink-and-nod to web natives is apparent from the datelines–which feature the icons for the community, such as Reddit or Twitter, that the article is about–to the gamified leaderboard, which show profiles of the top people from communities like Tumblr along with a “Dot score.”
VentureBeat points out that Daily Dot plans to apply traditional journalism techniques to covering these internet “cities” like a real community. But here’s where we think the hometown paper concept might not catch on. The appeal of communities like Reddit or 4Chan to day-in, day-out residents, as it were, is partly its insularity and the fact that a noob might easily get lost in them there woods. If we were pitching The Daily Dot, we’d say it sounds more like a way to report the news in those communities to the norms.