Propeller is a news story gathering website with a social networking twist.
Propeller is owned by AOL and used to be known as Netscape.com, but presumably changed to its new name in order to avoid confusion with the now defunct web browsing application. When entering the Propeller.com homepage, you are immediately presented with current news stories of varying types, ordered by popularity. Users vote for their favorite news story from other sites, based on quality of journalism or the popularity of the news story in question. The general idea is that the community gets to decide which stories make the Propeller front page, and which ones don't. The Propeller user base would appear to be mostly Americans, as the news stories voted for seem to mostly concern the United States. The voting system for news stories can crop up the odd peculiar human interest story though, so it can be worth reading through the headlines. There are also different Propeller channels (once you find the links), where you can browse headlines about sport, business and others. The social networking aspect to the site is extremely minimal. You can add other users as friends, but why would you be doing that at a news site? Users can comment on news stories however, which can lead to entertaining, if heated, discussions about the day's news. Propeller was shut down on October 1, 2010. Traffic of Propeller had been dropping steadily after the site’s design was completely changed.
Propeller competes with literally thousands of news sites across the internet, as well as other user driven news sites, such as Digg. Where Propeller is let down is in its original content. All of the stories on the site are snippets from other news sites, and in order to read the entire story you'll have to click through to another site. This means you are constantly chopping and changing between sites with different layouts, which can be confusing. While the user controlled environment of Propeller can be interesting, dedicated news sites such as online newspapers and broadcasters still have an edge when it comes to uniformity and quality of journalism. And with Propeller being controlled by many users at once, you're never really able to customize it fully.
Propeller's look and feel is based on simplicity, with lighter pastel colors dominating.
There is no need to register if you want to browse the available news stories. If you want to take part in the social networking aspect of the site and leave user comments, then you will need to register. AOL Instant Messenger users will be able to login directly, but other users will be asked to setup an account. The registration process itself is fairly simple, but you will be forced to wait for, and then respond to, a verification e-mail, which can be a bit of a cumbersome and time consuming process.
Propeller is a free service funded by advertising.
If you like voting for news stories and taking part in news discussions, then this site may be of some interest to you. If you are looking for a truly comprehensive news site, then you may want to look further.