Trigger Can’t Get Enough Indie.


I don’t think I’d be the first to proclaim that the newspaper is dead; killed dead by the internet. The murder weapon? Instant dissemination of information. The internet killed the newspaper because it made the evening/morning news cycles obsolete. As the news began being delivered in nearly real-time people’s need for instant gratification overrode their competing need for researched, high quality reporting.

The internet didn’t only kill the newspaper, it went further than they ever could. Starting a newspaper is hard. Printing presses, reporting and editorial staff, huge distribution networks, and marketing budgets means it’s an extremely capital intensive venture. The move from offline to online reduced the amount of capital required to start something like a newspaper down to virtually nothing. It made room for the thousands of journalists or hobbyists who never quite made the cut to roll their own services, reporting on the things they were passionate about rather than the things their editors made them. The web essentially enabled the explosion of independent journalism on a massive scale. Where there used to be offline fanzines, printed and distributed locally to audiences of hundreds, there are now tons of indie news sites, blogs, and fansites dedicated to those same topics with dozens of contributors and tens of thousands of readers.

The internet’s democratizing effect on news has made traditional print media almost completely obsolete.

Because of this shift we’re living in a world with an unprecedented amount of great online content, from the outlets you’ve known forever to great tiny indie ones you’ve never heard of. It doesn’t really matter what you’re interested in, there are probably hundreds if not thousands of different websites producing stuff you’d love to read. So what are you waiting for, why not go and read all that great content? If you’re like me (and you probably are) it’s a simple matter of time and accessibility. Going through all that content would take hours a day and you probably don’t even know where most of it is being hosted to begin with.

Trigger’s curated category system is our first shot at addressing these problems. We sort our news into “categories” that broadly represent an interest. Is your favorite time of day your commute home in your 1976 Porsche 934? Mine would be too if I owned one, but until then I’ll keep reading Trigger’s “Car” section to show me more things I’ll never be able to afford. I read Trigger’s “Finance” section for kind of the same reason. Even though I have precisely $1.78 in investable assets I still want to know where to throw my money if I win the lottery.

For each of those categories we go through every single source we can find that produces content for that category and we toss out the crap ones until we’re left with the best dozen. We’re looking for sources that consistently create content that interested and knowledgeable users will be both happy and surprised to discover and read. Because of this goal we’ve worked hard to find not only the mainstream outlets you know and love but four or five smaller “indie” outlets in each of our categories. We think we’re one of the first aggregators with a truly great system to strike a solid balance between the two.

Black and white pictures of a guy taking a picture. So meta, so indie.

We believe both are essential to get a real picture of what’s going on, but we’ve found ourselves shifting slightly more to the indie side since Trigger’s inauguration. Why? Because the response from our users on “Indie” tagged articles has been overwhelmingly positive. Articles tagged with this badge get almost three times the clicks as articles without and have read through rates (people who actually scroll to the bottom) almost two times the average. Although we’re not 100% sure why this is, we have at least a few guesses.

  1. Discovering great indie content just feels qualitatively different than finding something similar on CNN.
  2. Related to (1), sharing indie content is simply cooler than sharing something from CNN.
  3. Indie content is often quirkier and doesn’t try too hard to please a mainstream audience. The deeper your knowledge about a certain topic the more you start to appreciate this.
  4. Indie can be (but isn’t necessarily) simply better than mainstream content. People passionate about the topic, longer deadlines, and more creative freedom is a recipe for great stuff.

So, if indie content is so great then what are we doing about it? Well, today we’re announcing our indie publishing program!

Currently our “indie” tag is still used for websites you’ve still probably heard of, those just shy of the mainstream. We want to go truly independent by shifting the use of that tag to the truly independent content outlets, the guys with only a few hundred thousand unique views per month. Essentially we’re looking to partner with a few of these quality indie content producers per Trigger category. Do you own the internet’s leading blog on 3D printing, classic car restoration, or technical trading analysis? We want to give you the opportunity to have one of your articles broadcast every week to over 500,000 users across Trigger for iOS and Android. You get access to a huge, engaged userbase and our users get to dive deeper into the topics they already love; it’s a win/win!

If any of this sounds interesting to you please hit us up at taylor@mobiusbobs.com or jimi@mobiusbobs.com and let’s chat. We’d love to know more about who you are and what your blog represents.

-Taylor