App of the week: NuffnangX

Devices: iPhone, Android

Cost: free

What is it?
An app that lets you find and follow blogs. It also allows for text message-like conversations between bloggers and readers.

How is it of use to journalists? NuffnangX helps you keep up with blogs on the go. Bloggers can respond to readers and you can contact other bloggers using a text message-like notification system.

Nuffnangx app

You can follow a blog by selecting from topics of interest or by adding a URL. You then see the blogs you follow in a timeline, from where you can 'favourite', 'follow' and 'leave a comment'.

Via the messaging interface the NuffnangX app helps make your blog social. "Anyone can make a reader, but what we want is to create a social layer," NuffnangX community engagement officer Arya Alatsas told "Blogging is inherently a social enterprise, a system in which one can comment and interact via the mobile device in a way which is intuitive and convenient."

Community management

Another way to use the app is to manage the comments on your blog(s). You can add as many blogs as you wish to your profile.

If your blog is WordPress-based you can install a plug-in; if you use Blogger or Tumblr there is a short JavaScript code you need to paste in. You can get all your comments within the app. These will appear as messages or speech bubbles and you'll find them collated by post and topic.

The app aims to keep a reader's attention on the blog, encouraging them to have a conversation using the app rather than on social media platforms.

"You want to use Facebook and Twitter and StumbleUpon to point arrows at your blog not the other way around," said Atlasas. "This is not to say that other networks are not useful, but if your blog is the centrepiece then why send your readers elsewhere?"

Discover sources

If you're looking for a blogging search tool, NuffnangX uses a native algorithm returning snippets of the most relevant sentence within a post. "It doesn't look for the first line or 20 words but for an emotive sentence, for the most emotive collection of words within a paragraph within a post," Atlasas explained.

Why is it free?

Looking to find what business model sustains such an app, interviewed the company's chief executive, Cheo Ming Shen. We learned NuffnangX is the brainchild of Nuffnang, Asia's blog advertising network holding over 1 million records of blogs across the continent.

"At the moment, if you look at NuffnangX in isolation, both geographically and financially, it isn't sustainable, [but its] value is in the depth and dynamism of its userbase and its potential to generate goodwill and attractiveness for the group overall," he told us.

He added that despite being independent from the group's companies here in the UK, "a discussion [to become profitable] would be premature while our database is growing".

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