BetaKit covered Belgium-based Checkthis in June when the startup raised $910,000 to expand its team and footprint to NYC, and this week the company announced that it has launched an updated and redesigned version of its instant publishing platform. According to CEO Frédéric della Faille, users of the service have been growing steadily since it launched a little over a year ago, with numbers doubling over the past three months, resulting in 70,000 posts, or “social posters” as they’re now called, being created on the site.
Like in the previous version, Checkthis users can create short Tumblr-like posts around several actions: tell (write a post), sell (create a classified posting), ask (create a survey), or invite (event invitation). Some of the company’s new features include making its posters more social by showing users a real-time live stream of activity that lets them know how many views they’ve received, which users have commented on and shared their post, and when the post goes viral on the network. In addition, users now have the ability to create their own profile which collects all the posters they’ve created. Users will still be able to create a poster without having to login, but now have the option to do so via Facebook, Twitter, or their Google accounts to continue giving the platform the frictionless publishing experience Checkthis built the experience around.
“When you get massive traffic you get a notification that says ‘hey, you’re poster is one fire. That’s really where we are going, it’s sending you notifications about valuable information, so you become addicted because the service gives you insight into your creation,” said della Faille in an interview with BetaKit.
The goal of Checkthis is to let people create posts around a variety of topics, whether event invitations or text posts, in a way that’s more descriptive than a Tweet but less committed than a blog post. The company will be looking to monetize the platform by giving users the ability to promote their post to a wider audience, akin to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets feature. Another option on the table is a freemium model, since della Faille said users have requested more in-depth analytics and customization.
Micro-publishing continues to be a rising trend for people looking to get their messages out online. Recently BetaKit covered Seattle-based Zapd, a cross between Tumblr and Instagram that lets users instantly create website galleries of photos or their posts. Another startup, Medium, co-founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, is also meant to be a unique publishing platform that puts an emphasis on sorting posts by topics. There are also startups like Smore that let people create online flyers with no design experience needed.
“We made something people love because I think a blog is like a commitment, and people left their blogs because social media came along,” said della Faille. “We’re an extension of a Tweet or status update on Facebook. It’s a new space but we have people copying what we’re doing. It plays into the publishing space which wasn’t moving for years since the explosion of social media.”
With better social integration and the company looking to work closely with its investors to build and scale the business, Checkthis will have to continue its focus on making its platform as frictionless as possible if it hopes to carve out a niche for itself in what is already a very crowded space. As we noted in our previous coverage, the biggest challenge will be convincing users they need another online publishing platform, especially one that doesn’t have the built-in virality and user base of Tumblr, which has seen over 84 million blogs created since launch.