What it Means to Be a Publisher’s Platform

Publishing

In June 2014, a small startup from Tel Aviv made headlines when its website, Playbuzz.com, first appeared on NewsWhip’s monthly chart of the most shared sites on Facebook. In the year following, Playbuzz.com has consistently ranked among the top ten sites in the world, as measured by Facebook sharing activity. Since November 2014, Playbuzz.com has ranked at the very top of in every Facebook shares chart.

For us at Playbuzz, this is a great achievement. Being included among the world’s top publishers, despite being such a small organization with virtually no editorial staff, demonstrates the power of our platform and community. Prior to the publication of NewsWhip’s summary of the most shared publishers on Facebook for June 2015, however, we decided to withdraw our presence from this report – and Playbuzz.com will no longer appear on this distinguished list.

“Wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “WHAT? WHY?” Well, it wasn’t an easy choice, but it was a necessary one nonetheless. In coordination with NewsWhip, we came to the conclusion that despite the popularity of Playbuzz.com, our content site is not the manifestation of our vision for Playbuzz the company. Simply put, Playbuzz is not a publisher.

True, our owned and operated website at Playbuzz.com ranks among Quantcast’s top 50 most trafficked websites in the US, and it attracts an audience of more than 50 million monthly active users. However, this property is not an editorial website. Rather, it’s a showcase of the great work by tens of thousands of our publishing partners that use our free platform to create amazing content in a variety of interactive formats such as quizzes, listicles, ranking, polls and more.

We are proud to have many of the publishers that frequent the top of the NewsWhip Facebook shares report – such as Huffington Post, NBC and others – use the Playbuzz platform to create engaging, shareable content. We are proud of seeing our own site at the top of the chart, but even more than that, we are proud to know that so many of these great publishers’ websites use our platform to achieve their rankings and business success.

Much has evolved since Playbuzz made the Facebook shares chart for the first time a year ago. We grew from ten to over 80 employees, with headquarters in New York and offices in London, Hamburg and Tel Aviv. We now serve more than 5,000 of the world’s largest media organizations and are home to a vibrant community of tens of thousands of content authors that leverage our platform to create the web’s most engaging content, in a variety of formats and in more than 40 languages. Our platform is used not only for editorial content but also by brands and agencies to engage audiences, boost brand awareness and develop additional revenue streams for our publisher community.

One thing hasn’t changed. We are still first and foremost a publisher’s platform, and our goal is to enable the world’s best storytellers to leverage the best platform, so they can optimize their users’ experience, their business performance and their audience engagement. We are fortunate to be able to play a part in these great organizations’ growth, and therefore decided that whether or not our website generated more social engagements than they did, we are here to empower them – not to compete with them – and therefore do not belong on this chart. We’ll continue to help them be successful, and we admire the great work the NewsWhip team is doing in standardizing measurement of the social web’s performance metrics.

There are industry leaders who believe it’s possible to be both a publisher and a platform – and there are those who think the opposite. It’s impossible to predict how this will all play out here at Playbuzz, but for now, our focus remains empowering publishers, brands and all other types of content creators to do what they do best.

About the author

Shaul Olmert

Shaul Olmert is co-founder and CEO of Playbuzz. Prior to starting Playbuzz, Shaul was vice president of digital products at MTV Networks, responsible for the network’s online gaming content. He also spent time as president of SundaySky, a video marketing company, and was chief marketing officer of the online and mobile marketing company Conduit. He began his career in digital media as the director of business development at Oberon Media/iPlay. Shaul is a director and advisor to many digital media ventures. He holds a master’s degree in interactive telecommunications from New York University.

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