The magazine as platform

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Forbes has come in for its share of criticism over its aggressive embrace of native advertising, but it deserves credit for developing the open publishing platform it makes available to marketers to create that content. Called Falcon and developed mostly in-house, it’s a single, integrated platform that supports Forbes’ internal content management as well as direct access to Forbes.com by a network of outside contributors and native advertisers. And it’s nice to see Forbes Media now starting to make the technology available to other publishers. 

Earlier this week Forbes announced a deal to license Falcon to ALM, a B2B publisher for the legal industry whose biggest property is Law.com. Last year, ALM received roughly 6,700 contributions from around 1,600 industry professionals but hopes to expand that network substantially by leveraging the more robust, Falcon platform. According to ALM chief digital officer Jeff Litvack, the publisher currently has “hundreds” of contributors it has not been able to engage because of its limited editorial resources.

Forbes reportedly has had inquiries from other publishers as well about similar licensing deals, including  Hearst, American Media, TheStreet and Abrams Media.

It would be nice to see more publishers thinking like technology companies and focusing resources on software development in addition to news gathering. Developing better, more robust and open publishing platforms in particular should be the publishing industry’s priority. In a digital world, publishing is a process, not an event, in which the lines between information gatherers, sources and consumers are blurred. If traditional publishers don’t develop and embrace the tools to support that sort of engagement, the audience will go to where someone else does.

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