Link. Image: Newstrust founder Fabrice Florin (Joanne Ho-Young Lee / Mercury News)
Two years ago, the inspiration for creating a Web site for news junkies hit two men with vastly different ambitions. One hoped to make boat-loads of money. The other dreamed of enriching American democracy by identifying trusted news sources hidden in the deluge of information available online. The latter turned out to be the tougher task.
Fabrice Florin, a successful technologist and a veteran of Apple Computer, launched the beta version of NewsTrust.net last month after turning 50 and deciding it was time to give something back to society.
Florin had founded three for-profit companies, but feared that if he focused on profits with NewsTrust "the public interest would get cheated.'' So he raised a small amount of money from donors and funded the rest himself.
Meanwhile, Kevin Rose, 27-year-old host of an obscure cable TV tech show, lost no time in launching Digg.com in October 2004. Rose's site lets people give a thumb's up or a thumb's down to stories other users had found on the Web and submitted to Digg.