HarperCollins came to visit yesterday. Their new interactive platform for teens, “inkpop,” goes live today.
I know, you’re like: “A social networking site from a book publisher?”
Well, if cleaning supplies, chewing gum and cosmetics can have social networking sites, why not a publisher? I’m not saying it will work, but I also wasn’t sure how Scott Belsky’s Behance.net, a social networking site for artists and designers, would do, and look now, it’s become a defining model, globally…
Based on the HarperCollins’ UK model, Authonomy (inkpop is made by the same developers but is far better looking), the marketing team is pulling in media partners they hope will help keep inkpop thriving by hooking users up with opportunities like publishing deals, magazine assignments, tech gadget prizes, tickets to events, etc.
The idea is, much like mtvU’s BestMusicOnCampus and BestFilmOnCampus incubators, which offer record label deals, concert performance slots, and film production deals, inkpop will be a hothouse for emerging talent, a zeitgeisty trendspotter, a marketing tool for Harpers’ books and, they hope, a monetizable business. The monetizable part’s not going to happen, really, but I was kinda astounded to see the early numbers from their beta test, which show a high percentage of users who come to read work that’s there, not just to submit, and spend about 20 minutes on the site.
As my colleague Kenny pointed out, the beta testers already inside inkpop are the hardcore base inkpop will attract, and the vast majority of users won’t engage nearly as much, but it’s reassuring to see that a publisher of this size is forcing itself to innovate. I wonder, when it comes down to it, how much credit HarperCollins will get for being the first mover, in this regard.
Well, they got SomethingBurning to talk about them here, didn’t they.