Aggregation apps respond to consumer personalization demands

Flipboard and other apps aggregate content in a user-friendly style. But are publishers on board?

Companies are finally starting to see that consumers of news crave a platform that will bring them what they want to read, anytime they want to read it, and exactly how they want to read it (we’re a demanding lot). To that end, there recently has been something of an influx of news-aggregating apps. Flipboard, of course, was the iPad app of the year in 2010. It gathers news by aggregating links from a user’s social media platforms — Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook — and redisplays the content in one place, all nice and pretty.

Flipboard and Instapaper

AOL has announced a competing app, AOL Editions, that will work similarly to Flipboard, but will gather the news based on a user’s interests through category rankings (like a hyper-personalized Newser?). Sobees launched yet another product, NewsMix, that aggregates the same way as Flipboard. These are just a few, and all are for the iPad. I’m not sure I want my Facebook friends’ comments alongside my daily nosh of news, but that’s where we’re headed.

There’s some argument that these types of aggregators come very close to stepping on the toes of publishers’ intellectual property rights. This may be especially true when they team up with ad stripping software — like the platform just announced by Readability and Instapaper. This platform tries to make things equitable by giving publishers a percentage of monthly fees. But will publishers think that’s enough?

TOC: 2011, being held Feb. 14-16, 2011 in New York City, will explore “publishing without boundaries” through a variety of workshops, keynotes and panel sessions.

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