launches later today launches its open beta trial later today. The site is billed as a personal online magazine which will share ad revenue with content providers of RSS feeds – in theory that could be the smallest blogger to the biggest media owner – providing a user-friendly face to RSS content which will try to monetise it more efficiently than clunky banners inside feeds.


In an email to TCUK, Andrew Davies of said “We have a good stock of launch content (in our initial content areas of design and music), but obviously not enough to satisfy the interests of every individual yet – and we will be increasing the number of content providers dramatically over the next month. We aim to be delivering 5 relevant articles each day to each user by the end of the month. We have lots of additional functionality up our sleeves, particularly in the ‘social-web’ direction – but we want to introduce the basic concept before allowing too much ‘feature creep.'” Content providers have yet to be announced. [UPDATE: The largest content providers that they have already for beta stage are pixelsurgeon and prefixmag.]
It almost goes without saying that idio is free to readers. They will need to select their own personal profile of subjects of interest via sliding bars to ‘create’ the magazine from the content providers available. It will combine ‘glossy RSS’ with tagging, weighting and rating in a Flash interface.

Davies added that Idiomag is aiming to satisfy the more mainstream user, who doesn’t have time or ability to find all the rich single-subject sites that discuss their various interests.

Edward Barrow, Managing Director of idio, said: “There is so much talent online at the moment, exhibited by the explosion in user generated content and blogging. However much of this talent is still going unrecognised and users often don’t see any return from the content they produce. Our unique business model enables content providers to finally share in the revenue generated from their creativity.”

Crucially they will need buy-in from the advertising community and their official PR statement quotes an enthusiastic Andy Chen, media strategy director at Isobar Global who says idiomag “combines the traditional ‘pageflipping’ excitement associated with magazine reading with the interactivity and rich visual presentation of the digital era.”

You can get a taste of this at their screencast, but speaking as a hardened observer of thoughts on new media advertising I’d have to say I remain to be convinced that this isn’t a just another way of saying ‘you can click links’. But let’s see the beta before judging too harshly.

The revenue pitch is providing highly targeted advertising “non-intrusive”, full screen rich-media formats, although it must be said that TCUK has yet to meet a non-intrusive full screen rich media advert.

Somewhat quirkily in this age of detailed ROI and ‘to the nth degree’ analysis of clicks, idiomag is going to be using a traditional CPM print media charging format, so it will be interesting to see how much traction they can get with this.

As we know there are a tonne of web-based RSS readers out there getting a LOT of traffic, so it remains to be seen if idio’s ultra-consumer friendly face on RSS will work. But it’s such a different take on the idea, they might just have a chance.

The back story, to this is that Barrow came up with the original idea. While attended Warwick Business School’s Management Programme he met Andrew Davies there. Andrew Davies has worked with several multi-national technology and media companies whilst with Deloitte Consulting.