Bookshlf has created a new way to recommend media – whether it's music, videos, articles, podcasts or even tweets – to your friends and the rest of the world.
The New York-based startup officially launches its web and iOS app this week, announcing that David A. Steinberg, co-founder and CEO of marketing company Zeta Global, is committed to both investing and advising.
The main focus here is on curation. It's a word that is common in the media industry, but President Andrew Boggs, who previously worked at Zeta in business development and then founded Bookshlf with Mike Abend and Justin Cadelago, argued that the major internet platforms aren't really real curation.
"Many of the old platforms focused on quantity rather than quality," said Boggs. "It's also in the nature of things that things are really volatile there … For example, if you share things about music, I have to search your feed to find that information."
It sounds as if this idea resonated with Steinberg, who argued: “The big social media platforms don't make a living by building small groups of very interesting people. They think, "How do we get as much volume as possible?"
In Bookshlf, on the other hand, users can organize their recommendations thematically on different "shelves" and then simply add links via the iOS share menu (or simply add them directly in the app). You can also share links to your shelves through social media.
For example, Boggs has shelves related to topics like electronic music, humor, tech / media news, and even the best burgers in New York. Steinberg meanwhile said, "I don't think people mainly go to Facebook or Instagram to consume business information." It is therefore not surprising that its shelves are geared towards artificial intelligence, DARPA and Zeta itself.
The paradigm of a content shelf may seem a little strange – Boggs compared it to the shelves of DVDs or albums that you may have shown in the past. In his view, however, the model makes sense for this type of recommendation, since users can concentrate on what they are actually interested in: “Since the shelves are a curated selection, you can jump to your profile, and if so, a music shelf that I can jump into immediately. "
It remains to be seen how people will actually use Bookshlf, but Boggs said that there is probably a minority of the main users who are the most active in curating and sharing. These are the types of people who are likely to already share a lot – be it on social media or just through a group chat – and "will be happy to send you interesting articles and podcasts." At the same time, other users simply search the app for interesting recommendations and can also use the shelves to save links for themselves.
It may sound like the Bookshlf team isn't focused on monetization yet, but Boggs suggested that there are a number of interesting options out there, including targeted advertising, sponsored shelves, micropayments for content, and selling data across broader areas Trends in the interest of the audience.
In addition to Steinberg, Bookshlf has raised an undisclosed amount from CAIVIS Acquisition Corp, Dalton Partners and Cambridge Way Ventures.