Love news aggregators such as Pulse, Flipboard or Zite? Love them so much you’d be willing to pay for them each week? That’s the concept behind News.me, a “social news app” for the iPad which Bit.ly is preparing to launch in the very near future.
All Things Digital’s MediaMemo blog is reporting that News.me is getting another step closer to reality, having launched a preview website this week with some details on exactly how the news aggregator intends to work its mojo. Long story short: Unlike pioneers such as Pulse, Flipboard and Zite, this one will require you to get out the wallet.
“News.me will cost $0.99 a week, or $34.99 a year,” writes Peter Kafka. “It will be available as an iPad app, using Apple’s subscription service, or as an e-mail newsletter.”
So what do you get for your hard-earned cash? This isn’t quite another stab at an iPad-only news app such as The Daily, but instead it will “provide users with curated Twitter streams that highlight ‘the most popular or interesting news stories’ that appear in their own Twitter feeds, and from the feeds of other Twitter users they select.” Think of it as the digital equivalent of looking over a friend’s shoulder to see what they’re reading.
News.me is the brainchild of URL shortening service Bit.ly, and as such, will likely have “a natural bias toward publishers that use the service.” The app will also offer an Instapaper-style “streamlined reading view,” stripping away ads and other noise to give readers “easy-to-read black text on a white background.”
So what’s in it for the publishers? Money, of course. “News.me will share some of its revenue with publishers who license their content to the service,” Kafka reveals. “But publishers who don’t have News.me deals but do appear on the Web will still see their stuff show up on the service. It just won’t look as nice, and they won’t get paid. And they won’t get the chance to run ‘additional promotion for publisher products that might be of special interest to News.me users (such as iPad applications).’”
Whether or not News.me will be worth your 99 cents each week remains to be seen. But in the meantime, it’s nice to know there are still free options — at least for now.
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