DEMO: Fliptop to rock the RSS world and streamline it, too

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Fliptop is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.

Fliptop aims to solve the subscription problem for both websites and their audiences.

RSS feeds, Google Alerts and the like are tools with two edges. The first cuts out the mindless web browsing, letting you scan headlines without visiting each and every site. The second edge nicks at your sanity as you sort past seven irrelevant headlines for every one that you read. RSS feeds from CNET and Wired aren’t useful to me. I only care about the green scene, a small fraction of those sites’ output. Whether it is in my reader or on the scrolling ticker, there is still a lot of time wasted sifting through irrelevant content.

Fliptop allows the user to specify the content they are subscribing to. Applied to Wired.com, for instance, I might subscribe to articles about nuclear power. Bam: Wired’s take on nukes, as an RSS.  Fliptop works in email or an embeddable web widget. Type in your email address, pick a frequency (once a day, as it happens or once a week) and never miss another update. More importantly, though: You do miss the updates you don’t want to read.

The company was founded in 2009 when Doug Camplejohn began swimming in the San Francisco Bay. Some days (most days, depending who you ask) the bay is just too cold to put a foot in. This got Camplejohn thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an email alert to let me know when the bay was above 60 degrees?” From there, he went on to other email alert ideas. Fliptop was born.

From a publisher’s perspective, Fliptop offers more than the usual RSS or email alert service. While any of the preceding will get visitors back to your site, Fliptop will tell a publisher which keywords they sought. It also tells a publisher which sections tend to be interesting in sets. It may be that CNET readers who are interested in section A also tend to be interested in sections G and X but not Y.

This information could drive site layout and cross linking to maximize page views.  Think of it as similar to Amazon’s “customers who bought this also bought…” feature but for almost any web site. You might also replace “bought” with “followed.” Fliptop offers subscription and some analytics in a single line of JavaScript.

Said Camplejohn, “I believe Fliptop is ushering in a new phase of content subscription where the user is in control.   I’ve got information everywhere, but I still miss information I want.   In the era of tweets, the one-size-fits-all newsletter is becoming like a banner ad – too easy to ignore.”

Hopefully for Fliptop, this new take on RSS will command more attention.


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