Flipboard is today lifting the lid on two new features it hopes will make it easier for publishers to join, while also encouraging them to optimize their websites for mobile screens.
The Palo Alto-based company, which develops the popular cross-platform media and news aggregation app, has created a new “self-service” platform to help publishers distribute their stories through Flipboard.
As things stand, publishers need to work directly with Flipboard to get their content on the platform, which, according to Flipboard head of communications Christel van der Boom, has a backlog of requests. “This new self-service model is also a solution to that bottleneck — publishers will be able to onboard much quicker,” she told VentureBeat.
This means that any publisher can now join with less friction and can automatically add their RSS feeds and edit their content on Flipboard. Current Flipboard publishers stand to benefit, too. “For existing publishers, it means they can manage their presence on Flipboard more effectively and add or change RSS feeds whenever they want,” added van der Broom.
In effect, any publishers can now add, edit, and update all feeds associated with any of their Flipboard magazines.
Flipboard currently claims around 100 million readers each month, and the platform is known to be a huge traffic driver for many online publications. Given Flipboard’s specific popularity on mobile devices, the company is now looking to reward publications that focus on “reader-friendly” mobile websites that load quickly.
Flipboard is doing this with the launch of what it calls the Reader Enhanced Display (RED) bolt performance mark, which seeks to give more visibility to mobile-optimized sites on the platform. From today, the little RED lightning bolt will appear next to some articles that have mobile-optimized pages. Publications on board for the rollout include the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Esquire, among “hundreds of others,” according to the company.
The system is, of course, similar to the Google-led AMP project, and the logo is nearly identical. As a general rule of thumb, Flipboard said that any company that has already implemented AMP should meet Flipboard’s requirements for the RED bolt. Factors include websites loading within a second or two, and they must be free of “aggressive pop-up ads” and not redirect readers to a website other than the one they clicked on.
“With the bulk of traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s an important time to invest in fast, quality experiences that readers love,” explained Flipboard CEO Mike McCue. “And, with the advancements in design and mobile standards, we are now able to open our platform to millions of sources. The tools we are rolling out today allow us to welcome new publishers and celebrate great content, which has been a key part of our mission from the beginning.”
Any publisher will be considered for a RED bolt stamp of approval, but for the first few months, the symbol will be doled out on a largely manual basis. By the end of the year, the company said it hopes to have automated the process.