Trapit’s First B2B Tool Is A Publisher Suite For Building Branded, Customized News Apps

Content discovery startup Trapit is launching a new Publisher Suite today, with tools for publishers to build their own branded, customized versions of the Trapit experience.

Spun out from research institute SRI International, Trapit uses the same artificial intelligence technology as Siri and allows uses to create “traps” that find content that’s relevant to a given topic. Last fall, the company said it was looking to power other content recommendation apps beyond Trapit itself, and it announced Asian TV conglomerate Astro as its first partner (as well as a strategic investor).

With the Publisher Suite, Trapit is making its technology available to a broad swath of partners. A company can build an app that they can easily update with their own content, and then supplement that content with related articles that Trapit has pulled from other sources.

Trapit co-founder and Chief Product Officer Hank Nothhaft contrasted this approach with Flipboard, which allows publishers to build a presence within the Flipboard app itself. By automatically aggregating content from more than 100,000 sources, Trapit can ensure that the app is more than just “a retrospective” of what has already published, he said. Nothhaft also argued that if you’re not a big-name publisher, it can be hard to get discovered in an app like Flipboard, so it’s important to build your own app. And Trapit allows publishers to run their own advertising without taking a cut for itself (instead it charges a fee for the tools).

“[In an app like Flipboard] there’s a mountain of different titles, all contained within their own feed,” Nothhaft said. “It’s not an optimal experience. After talking to all these publishers, we’re hearing that the revenue is not generous and it’s not compelling in any way. But for as low as $1,000 a month, you can get a really professionally designed, sophisticated application.”

Here Media, the publisher of a number of titles for gay audiences, already used the Publisher Suite to create an Advocate Discovery app (pictured above). As the name implies, the app is tied to the magazine The Advocate, but it includes content from all of their properties, and using Trapit technology, it can include the most up-to-date news on breaking stories like the U.S. Supreme Court case on gay marriage.