Flipboard – but is it legal?

I only caught the last part of last night’s TWiT (#259, Next Stop, Gilbert Arizona) but did come across an interesting snippet of information about iPad darling app du jour, Flipboard.

According to Baratunde Thurston of the Onion, the app goes beyond aggregating RSS feeds and “de-uglifying” them and seems to be using machine and/or human based scraping to pull in third party content from publishers. In doing this, ads placed on the third-party sites are removed. Flipboard has stated that it will enter into revenue sharing arrangements with the content publishers as it will be including it’s own ads, which will allegedly deliver ten times the amount of advertising revenue that publishers currently receive. Further details of these arrangements have yet to be revealed.

Whilst the app itself looks pretty and their team have done a masterful job of seeding it through the early adopter community, this (if true) is a step backwards into an issue that seemed to already been resolved. It also means that publisher’s shaky online advertising revenues may be squeezed even more.

Audio via twit.tv (1:51:28, iPad and Flipboard segment starts at around 1:23)