Daily Archives: September 1, 2011

News360 is Changing the Content Delivery Game

Posted by Kat Armstrong.

You’ll find a lot of news apps for your iPad, but there’s virtually nothing available for Android, the iPhone, a RIM Playbook, Windows Phone 7 devices or even your desktop. News360 is changing the game. The application makes use of semantic analysis to keep you informed of major ongoing events – and to give you content that is relevant to you.

The company’s CEO took the time to talk to me about the reasons their offering is something that you’re going to want. This app is in a very crowded space. They’re not only having to compete with things such as Flipboard. News360 also has to watch out for stand-alone apps such as the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. What makes this particular product stand out above the crowd?

It was interesting to me to learn how different the users are based on their platform of choice. For instance, the iOS version of the app has more than 2500 very positive reviews on the App Store. This may be great for ego pumping, but these people didn’t give any real criticism or feedback. The iOS device consumers have been happy with the application, yes… but they haven’t let the company know what’s missing. What more are they looking for? What else could they need? Alternatively, the Android userbase has been much more vocal. More than 100 people have written in to discuss what they feel the app may be missing in terms of features and functionality. My theory (and this has definitely not been proven scientifically!) is that the people attracted to Android devices are often geekier in nature and more of the early-adopter crowd. Another issue is that there are SO many apps out there for my iOS device that I cannot pay attention to any one of them for long – there’s just too much demanding my time. With Android devices, I tend to become consumed by a really well-done application because there simply aren’t that many. News360 is one of those which can completely hold my attention.

There are several cool features built in to News360. Saving and sharing are simple matters using one-click buttons and menus. The cool factor begins to show when you need to learn more. You can tap on highlighted terms within article text to learn more about a company, person or location. This is the part that sucks me in… I’ll be reading a great article about some hot new company and need to find out more about the movers and shakers behind the scenes. I’ll be off in my own little world for untold amounts of time as I click around to read up on who’s who, what’s where and why things are working the way they are.

You’ll need only one tap of a button to get to your local news. The app uses your GPS or WiFi connection to pinpoint where you are. You can also set a custom location by turning off this function. This allows you to follow the news at home when you’re traveling without having to search for a link to the tv station back home.

Having a list of top categories to search is a great idea, yes. Even better is the ability News360 gives you to create your own. The semantic analysis engine can (with your permission) check out your Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader and Everlook accounts to understand what your area of interests are. This allows the app to bring you stories which will be the most important to you. You can skip the social media stuff and set up your personal feed choices manually if that is more to your liking.

Which news app do you rely on each day to consume content? What about that offering keeps you coming back?

Add a Community to Your Blog with BlogFrog

Posted by Kat Armstrong.

I recently met with BlogFrog CEO Rustin Banks to discuss adding communities directly to your blog. Your readers want to interact with you and with each other. Adding a customized BlogFrog community to your site allows your readers to ask questions, share photos and chat live with each other – without ever leaving your site.

With comments, your readers can only leave their thoughts about whatever it is YOU have to say. They don’t have an easy way to interact with each other. Your subscribers are obviously like-minded. After all, they are each interested in whatever you are talking about. Using BlogFrog compliments whatever blog comment service you are already using. The comments section is there for people to leave feedback and additional thoughts based on what you have written. Adding the additional components from BlogFrog adds a whole new layer, allowing your readers to talk to each other and spark new discussions.

My first instinct was to ask why we should use BlogFrog. After all, we have sites such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter to discuss things on with other individuals. Rustin was quick to point out that we are limited on these sites. We only have the capability of talking with our followers. We aren’t really giving them a way to talk to each other unless they want to jump through hoops and figure out how and where to follow the other parties on various social sites.

Believe it or not, it won’t cost you anything to use BlogFrog. The beauty is that you will be getting paid to use the service in a manner of speaking. You can enable high-quality advertising and make a higher CPM in most cases than what you will be able to find on your own.

Once you have signed up with the service and chosen your elements, it’s very simple to add BlogFrog to your own site. You’ll basically add a widget to your main page. The components are platform agnostic… install your new community on any template which allows JavaScript.

My assistant Kat is fond of saying that building a community isn’t about connecting people to you – it’s about connecting them to each other. BlogFrog has created the perfect way for you to give your community the tools they need to interact with each other, build upon what they already know and perhaps change the world.