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OPLIN 4Cast #188: Flipboard

Posted in 4cast

Last week, Flipboard, “your personalized social magazine,” made a big splash in the Internet world, generating so much interest that their servers crashed on the day Robert Scoble first wrote about it on his popular blog. But beyond being an intriguing app for the iPad, Flipboard raises some questions about its potential effect on the future of the publishing business.

  • Why Flipboard is one of the best iPad apps (ReadWriteWeb/Marshall Kirkpatrick) “…the promises of syndicated content, social news and a touch interface for real-time information are more real today than they were yesterday.”
  • Making Twitter and Facebook updates seem more important than they are (ComputerWorld/Jared Newman) “The seams only come apart when the social feeds are vapid. Flipboard may be the iPad’s most powerful content aggregator, but it’ll take a skilled user to filter what’s really important.”
  • Who owns the user experience? (Stowe Boyd) “But the presentation in Flipboard poses some real business problems. Where’s the ads? Publishers make their money on ads (and pay walls), and so they are going to start to howl if people are viewing their stories with all the ads parsed out.”
  • Is Flipboard legal? (Gizmodo/Joel Johnson) “The company hopes that content companies like Condé Nast will be so pleased at the way Flipboard presents their [copyrighted] content that they’ll work with the company—subscriptions and revenue sharing were mentioned specifically—instead of suing the pants off of them.”

Cool (but ultimately insignificant) fact:
Flipboard is currently free, backed by $10.5 million in funding from some high-profile people like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moscovitz, and actor Ashton Kutcher.