Well, if Facebook's Instant Articles isn't the answer, what's an alternative? Blendle, the micro-payment digital newsstand from the Netherlands, is starting a 10,000 user/20 publisher beta test in the USA. It's a concept that hasn't caught on in the past, but Blendle hopes its combination of simplicity, solid recommendation engine, and no question refund policy will strike a cord.
The appeal to the who's-who of publishers is not surprising. If Blendle catches on, the partners' share of the payments (70 percent) could be a welcome supplemental source of income from readers.
And even if the uptake is more modest, Blendle will introduce the branded content to a new audience that tilts to younger readers that might be converted to paid subscribers.
One of my favorite media analysts, Frederic Filloux of Monday Note, was initially a skeptic of Blendle but eventually concluded the startup has a fighting chance to become "something big" though a combination of good design and good timing.