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RebelMouse founder turns to advertising to monetize his massively popular startup

Paul Berry, the ex-Huff­in­g­ton Post CTO who launched social con­tent inte­grat­ing ser­vice Rebel­Mouse a year ago, is cap­i­tal­iz­ing on his startup’s suc­cess by turn­ing to adver­tis­ing for mon­e­ti­za­tion. As informed social media man­agers and con­tent man­agers will doubt­less be aware, the ser­vice lets users gath­er togeth­er con­tent that they’ve placed on diverse social net­works. And it’s now claim­ing brag­ging rights over 5 mil­lion unique vis­i­tors per month who between them have built 300,000 new sites to dis­play their inte­grat­ed content.

A gate­way, not a destination

For a one-year-old start­up, Rebel­Mouse has attract­ed the atten­tion of some big names, all of whom have used it (these include AOL, The Wall Street Jour­nal and Time). Finan­cial­ly can­ny social media man­agers may want to know how all this trans­lates into dol­lars. Accord­ing to Berry, the site is mak­ing mon­ey out of its sub­scrip­tion mod­el: for $9.99 a month, users can host their very own Rebel­Mouse site from their own domain.

Berry is clear that he nev­er intend­ed the site to be a des­ti­na­tion; it’s all about help­ing to “open the web.” But he’s clear­ly got his busi­ness head on and plans to mon­e­tize, specif­i­cal­ly with the use of native adver­tis­ing. Although sea­soned social media man­agers may groan at that term – it’s used by all and sundry in slight­ly dif­fer­ent ways to mean a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent things – Berry’s def­i­n­i­tion is prob­a­bly one that most would endorse: native ads should match the con­tent and look of the site they appear on.

He believes Rebel­Mouse is ready to deliv­er spon­sored con­tent that’s tai­lored to users’ con­texts – and it’ll be able to do so in real-time too. As Berry puts it, “We can give pub­lish­ers native adver­tis­ing at scale.”

Future plans

But this is but one step in a longer strat­e­gy.  New smart­phone apps are the pipeline, reflect­ing the fact that a big slice of RebelMouse’s traf­fic comes from mobile.  Over the last year, Berry notes, there has been an explo­sion of new social apps, a trend he believes will continue.

He says:

“It’s sur­pris­ing, but social graphs, instead of gain­ing val­ue over time, well, there’s an aspect that’s true, but there’s the oppo­site, where they lose val­ue over time — peo­ple enjoy new net­works. That’s why RebelMouse’s goal is to remain the Switzer­land of all of this.”

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