One of the early concerns about Flipboard — the beautiful reading app for Apple’s iPad — was that it pulled lengthy excerpts of content from web publishers, without paying them or pulling in their ads.It turns out most publishers don’t really care, at least not enough to complain. Instead, the vast majority of publishers that Flipboard has been in touch with since launching in July want to work with the company, cofounder and CEO Mike McCue told us today during a brief visit to Flipboard’s Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters.
McCue says only a tiny handful of publishers have complained about the length of excerpts on Flipboard, and as a result, Flipboard tweaked the settings on its back-end to take shorter excerpts from those publishers, “while we brainstorm ways to standardize excerpting for social media purposes.” Meanwhile, McCue says most publishers have been supportive of the way Flipboard excerpts. In theory, the excerpts drive up incremental traffic and revenue to those sites.
Indeed, large numbers of publishers have reached out to Flipboard to figure out how they can work together. When SAI’s Nicholas Carlson talked to McCue in late July, already 130 or so publishers had said hello. We imagine those partnerships could eventually include deeper integration into the Flipboard app; content-, ad-, and revenue-sharing deals; or potentially even co-branded editions of Flipboard’s app.
What’s next for Flipboard? A minor update of the app should roll out in the next few weeks with some small tweaks, and a bigger revision is planned for later, but McCue wouldn’t get into many details. (One of the things we complained about — too much repetitive or duplicate content — should be addressed, though.)
Later, Flipboard will also have to start developing an advertising product, built around the iPad’s large, beautiful display — merging the emotion and quality of print advertising with the social, measurability, and targeting capabilities of the Internet.
But that’s still in the future. McCue — the CEO — is still the company’s only ad sales rep, he joked.