Canadian start-up Yourmagz.com launched the closed beta version of its SaaS content distribution platform today. You can sign up to view the site.
The platform – which can be described as a hybrid between social network platform Ning and web document sharing service Scribd – specializes in distributing publishers’ content across various websites, social networks, and mobile devices. So basically, a user creates a website (much like one can do on Ning), uploads print or video content and then can distribute a “virtual magazine” to Facebook and other social networks, mobile phones and websites with the click of a button. Each virtual magazine can have members who can comment and upload their own photos and videos.
Yourmagz will offer “freemium” based services, allowing anyone to use the technology’s core benefits for free. The founder says the premium service will be “low-cost” while declining to specify just how much he will charge for it. Yourmagz seems more likely to draw an independent, smaller publication. While it’s doubtful that a large magazine like Forbes would switch it’s content to Yourmagz, but it might be a useful side application.
Yourmagz.com is similar to an existing business. Scribd had a successful year in 2008, which could mean that there is a receptive audience for content sharing services like Yourmagz. You can also get a similar magazine-like experience for free with services such as Issuu.
But there are definite challenges in forming such a widespread and open platform like Yourmagz.com. Recently, Ning found itself in a sticky situation with the creation of adult sites. With Yourmagz’s tagline “Freedom to publish,” it doesn’t sound like the platform will be restrictive. Also, users may not want pay for access to the platform when they could use free services offered by Scribd, Issue, and Ning.
You can check out Yourmagz’s example of an embedded magazine or take a look at the screen shots below: