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Flipboard: Dear Publishers, Let’s Think This Through

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

People are freaking out about iPad super-app Flipboard (a very nice RSS reader, if you’re not familiar). I don’t get it. I love the power of feeds and I like Flipboard a lot. As a content creator, it sounds like a blessing to me. The service even shows the ads we put in our RSS feeds. (I just looked, ours are there.) What’s not to love?

I suppose people say it robs publishers of pageviews. Here’s the math I do in my head. If 1 million people read 10 of your articles and 5% of the time they will click through to see your site itself – that’s 500,000 free pageviews you just got. Did you have some other plan in mind that would bring those million people to your content but with a higher conversion rate? Did Flipboard cannibalize your existing plan? I suspect that’s not how it goes down – instead 1m people are exposed to your content that wouldn’t have been otherwise. That sounds win-win to me.

Who am I to say this? I do publish content for a living. Though I don’t own the business I do it for – I have led the growth of that site from a 3 person staff to now 15. Publishing tech news content. That’s where I’m coming from.

I love finding Twitter lists like a good curated collection of Anthropologists or GeoTech pros and subscribing to the links they share on Twitter inside Flipboard.

Maybe there are concerns that I’m missing. Somebody tell me the rest of the story.

  • I’m with you, Marshall. These are new incremental eyeballs that traditional publishers weren’t getting anyways. At least not from the socially demanding user. FlipBoard has a chance to divert but re-inflate eyeballs (just like HuffPo did), and they will take a share of Ad revenue accordingly, but I’m not sure honestly how big that share will be in actual dollars.

    But there is an elegance in adding channels, sources, Lists, etc…and we have actually done a similar thing now with Eqentia who has become like a Desktop FlipBoard for the enterprise. I need to update you momentarily. You will like Eqentia 2.0 with PubSub & much more… 🙂

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