July 24, 2008

BallHype Crew Takes a Vote, and Launches BeltwayBlips

Last week, the increasingly popular Ballhype and Showhype sites were acquired by Future US for a cool $3 million, as the Digg-like sites, focused on sports and entertainment respectively, were seen growing as destination sites for fans of all flavors. Less than 10 days after that news, the Future US team is already seeing dividends from the acquisition, as the husband and wife team, Jason and Erin Gurney, turn their attention toward Washington and politics with the launch of BeltwayBlips.

In the tradition of Ballhype and Showhype, BeltwayBlips aims to bring the hottest political news to the front page by both auto-discovering hot blog conversations through the number of external links, but also adding on users' up or down votes, like Digg. Those hot items receiving many votes in a short amount of time rise to the top, and after some duration, will drop lower in rank.

Earlier this year, when meeting with the Gurneys at their home, they said they didn't want to get into more serious issues, like politics or technology, and the pair felt two sites was just about all they can handle. But following the acquisition, Future US has allowed the Gurneys to add to the team of developers, and given them the support to expand their site portfolio.

The addition of politics to the arsenal should make for some very "lively" discussion for sure, given the clear partisanship shown by both the right and the left in today's charged climate. I have concerns that McCain fans will always vote down positive Obama stories, and vice versa, or a few unsavory characters could make the environment unfriendly. While in sports, one can divide their attention between about 30 professional teams in each league, in Washington, you're usually either "with us" or "against us", as has been frequently said.

Headlines reaching the top of BeltwayBlips in the last few days have included the news of Robert Novak being involved in a hit and run accident, rumors of John Edwards fathering a child out of wedlock, and the two presidential candidates taking opposing positions on Iraq. Forget C-SPAN, this political hotbed isn't going to be a snoozefest by any means.

As with Ballhype and Showhype, the site offers the usual array of features, including comment threads, leaderboards for users and blog sources, embedded video links, and the ability to create groups. If you already have an account with one of the *Hype sites, you can log into BeltwayBlips today.