Flipboard is a free app that originated on the iPad back in 2010 that let its users curate their Facebook and Twitter feeds into a digital magazine of sorts, similar to the website Pinterest. Now in 2012, this iPad and iPhone (Android support coming soon) app is making a huge expansion by allowing any of its users to create their own personalized magazines.
An article on The Guardian details why version 2.0 is potentially going to be a huge step forward for online journalism. On a recent post on the Flipboard blog, they tout that in the past two weeks over half-a-million users have created their very own digital magazines.
How the app works is it allows people to create a collection of their favorite articles, videos, pictures and whatever they find interesting, into an aesthetically pleasing digital magazine that other Flipboard users can subscribe to for free. Magazines range from very general topics such as political news down to specific fanzines that specialize in topics such as TV shows or antique collectibles.
What makes Flipboard 2.0 so significant from a business standpoint is the fact that any articles that users include in their magazines have a comment system, but when users comment on an article that same comment is also shared on the site it originated from. This drives potential traffic back to the originating site, which leads to more ad revenue.
Big publishers are showing interest in Flipboard, as evidenced in June 2012 when The New York Times allowed its paying subscribers to access their content through Flipboard. Ads are supported in the app for larger publishers to make some ad revenue. According to the article on The Guardian, Flipboard is also looking into doing paid subscriptions for its publishers. By keeping some content free and the rest behind a paywall-like system, Flipboard hopes to drive one click subscription plans into their repertoire. This is all plans for the future forever, for now Flipboard hopes to focus on its current estimated 50 million users in their new push for user generated magazines.