velvet rope
Credit: by gpaumier on Flickr. Some rights reserved
Forbes is planning to launch a platform of social networking apps to bring together a community of engaged readers, the outlet revealed as it announced the takeover of photo sharing app Camerama.

Camerama's creator Salah Akram Zalatimo joined Forbes as vice-president of mobile products, as the organisation plans to use the app's underlying technology – including profiling, notifications and private messaging – in the upcoming Forbes apps.

"There are lots of news apps out there," said Forbes Media's chief product officer Lewis D'Vorkin. "They are apps that are another distribution platform for content that's on the web, or content in the magazine or content that's on a mobile site."

He explained the Forbes network is going to be "far more than another distribution platform for the content we have elsewhere".

"Sure there will be Forbes content on the app but it's predominantly the content created by the members of the app."

Camerama, acquired by Forbes in mid-March, no longer exists as an app. An internal launch for the new network is planned in the next six weeks, designed as an opportunity for a small group of users to test and work through the technology and the functionality.

D'Vorkin told the Forbes Under 30 audience is one of the first communities the organisation plans to target with the new app, having already tested the approach at a recent conference.
"They uploaded photos, they did profiles, they had notifications," D'Vorkin explained of the in-house networking app used at the event. "It was a very intense usage of the app."
The upcoming network is designed as a niche where the majority of the content is generated by "a curated, velvet-roped community," he said. "You're not on the app unless you're invited."
Forbes' web traffic has grown from 15 million unique monthly visitors in September 2010 to 70 million in March 2015, according to Google Analytics, so building a place to bring these "passionate smaller groups of people" together is primarily a move to capitalise on this growth – but the apps also have editorial value.
"For the small amount of Forbes content that we will put on the app, it's great to have a targeted audience," he said. "We'll certainly learn editorially what works for this community and what they're interested in."

Forbes staff will also be using the app and interacting with the community. "Journalism is all about connecting one-on-one with the audience right now, and this gives our journalists a great ability to connect one-on-one in the app with a core group that is definitely the future of the Forbes brand."

Additional reporting by Jack Shepherd.

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