Online Publishing Platform News: Facebook, Apple, and More

Pick your favorite online publishing platform, and there’s probably news; plus, when does a digital paywall become pay as you go?

The idea of the perfect online publishing platform continues to emerge as a major consideration for digital publishers looking to add on to revenue streams, as elusive as that perfect online publishing platform is. Is Facebook Instant Articles the solution, or is it a mirage? Is Apple News the answer? Perhaps.

Talking New Media looks at these questions and others in recent articles, and their observations are as perceptive as ever.

Online Publishing Platform Plugin for WordPress + Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook is reaching out to publishers to make its service more attractive, but will it be enough to truly win them over? Talking New Media’s guest column takes a look, as FIA has expanded.

“[I]n February of this year, Facebook announced that it would be opening up Instant Articles to all publishers, regardless of size. The event would take place as part of Facebook’s F8 Conference for developers. … Then, just a few days ago, Facebook announced that it was working with Automattic, the company that owns, to create a WordPress plugin to enable users to easily implement Instant Articles on their site,” writes guest columnist Jonathan Bailey, editor and publisher of Plagiarism Today and owner of CopyByte.

“Between these last two announcements, a lot of publishers, bloggers and authors are going to begin considering whether to add Instant Articles to their site. However, there seems to be no consensus as to whether or not Instant Articles is a boon or an impending disaster for online publishers. … There’s no easy answer to whether or not you should use Facebook Instant Articles on your site. The benefits are obvious and include a better mobile experience for Facebook users, improved sharing and, most likely, preferential treatment from Facebook’s algorithm. On the downside, you risk losing some of the traffic to your site (including possible ad revenue if Facebook’s approach is less lucrative) and there are serious search engine optimization (SEO) risks depending on Facebook implements the tool moving forward.”

Apple News Issues New iAd Guidelines

Meanwhile, Apple is ramping up its News approach, issuing new iAd guidelines, Talking New Media reports.

“There are also reports, including this one from Digiday that Apple has begun an ad campaign to try and boost usage of Apple News. The app has proven a disappointment for publishers due to low readership levels, as well as Apple’s usual lack of support for its publishing partners. The Apple Publisher page remains showing the program in beta and the Apple News Format ‘coming soon’ – the same state it was in since launch,” D.B. Hebbard writes.

“‘Still, those changes only address part of the problem publishers are having. Having comScore measurement will help publishers sell ads on the platform, but Apple News requires ads to be custom-built, and unless the publisher is reaching a big audience there, the extra friction of creating a special ad for Apple News isn’t worth the effort,’ wrote Lucia Moses of Digiday. ‘If the publisher doesn’t sell the ad, Apple can, but Apple’s fill rate, as one publishing exec described it, is “terrible.”‘”


Paywalls for Online Content Phasing Into Micropayments?

Interesting guest column from Talking New Mediacds about monetizing content. Is a trend emerging that finds pay-as-you-go replacing the digital payall for publishers?

“Apple’s iTunes was the first to successfully introduce the pay-as-you-go concept, letting users purchase individual songs in addition to the entire album. Apple knew that consumers didn’t want the entire Vanilla Ice album; they were after only one song. More recently, mobile gaming has experienced great success by offering small, one-time transactions. These micropayments are popular not only due to their price point, but because consumers are in immediate control of how they choose to engage. If they don’t make the prompted purchase in a mobile game, that doesn’t mean the game is over. They have simply chosen to wait versus pay to continue playing right away,” writes guest columnist Tim Hunter, director of marketing for paywall company iMoneza.

“Two other industries that have had notable success with a pay-as-you-go model are gyms/workout facilities and cellular providers. The rising popularity of fitness boutiques featuring classes in yoga, Pilates and CrossFit, to name a few, has led to a move away from the traditional monthly membership/contract model prevalent at large health clubs. At these fitness boutiques and franchises, consumers are able to purchase packages of workouts that can be redeemed at any time. A monthly membership might not always make sense and being able to attend and pay for only the time spent at the gym has proven quite popular.”

What’s your preferred online publishing platform? Share your thoughts in the comments!

To read more about online publishing platform news and other industry trends, visit Talking New Media.


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