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Aug. 11, 2015, 11:03 a.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: blog.this.cm  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   August 11, 2015

Since This.cm launched as a prototype last summer, it’s embraced a slower Internet. By allowing users to share just one link a day, it eschews a firehose of content in favor of something more considered. It’s remained invite-only this entire time, gradually rolling out new features — an iOS app launched in May — to its 11,000 users, about 4,500 of whom are active in a given month.

The link-sharing company has also formalized the way it describes its mission. Last summer, founder Andrew Golis described it as a lean-back read-it-later site. With the iOS app’s launch in May, it was a “social magazine” with “an awesome community of curators.”

Now, as the site launches version 2.0 of its iOS app and prepares to open up to everyone this fall, it also wants to be something bigger: An alternative to the increasingly popular (and inevitable-seeming) distributed content movement, in which publishers produce content for Facebook, Apple, and other platforms they don’t own. Golis wrote in a blog post Tuesday:

[B]ig platform companies are turning against links. Hungry to eat up even more consumer attention, they’re leveraging their network power to convince media companies to publish on their platforms natively. Those publishers face a prisoner’s dilemma: sacrifice your independence or watch your competitors reap the rewards of doing so without you.

Where does that leave us as consumers? When links are replaced by native publishing on the platforms we use — with access determined by partnerships established in corporate business development meetings — we’re cut off from the open web and all that it brings us.

This. is doing the opposite. We want to deepen our community’s relationship to the open web by focusing on the value of a link.

Think of it as artisanal content-sharing, a community of “many of the people who make the best media on the web: the writers, editors, filmmakers, performers, and artists who work tirelessly at their craft.” (And, like artisanal cash, the site got its own write-up in the Times Style section earlier this year.)

The company, which Golis founded with support from Atlantic Media and spun off this spring, has raised $610,000 in seed funding to help with its broad launch this fall. Investors include Roger McNamee, Knight, The New Republic Fund, Matter Ventures, former Tumblr president John Maloney, Fusion CTO Hong Qu, and former Twitter VP of media Chloe Sladden. There’s a new board of advisors, too. And all 28,000 people on the waitlist will now get the nightly email newsletter.

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