Magazine article Information Today

Brand Publishing: From Crowd Fusion to Ceros

Magazine article Information Today

Brand Publishing: From Crowd Fusion to Ceros

Article excerpt

Here's a company that has a cloud-based platform and interactive tools to help firms brand their content.

FOUNDER

Brian Alvey founded Crowd Fusion, a CMS (content management system) company, 5 years ago. The company's cloud computing offering consists of a publishing platform that manages websites for television shows such as Extra, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Anderson Live, as well as publications such as Essence. Crowd Fusion's software also powers the first iPad news app, The Daily, and TMZ entertainment news website.

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For Alvey, building Crowd Fusion was the next natural step in his career. "I've worked in publishing for more than 20 years back in the four-color days, actually doing art direction and support," he says. When the web was created, Alvey quickly embraced the technology and some of its potential. He designed the first TV Guide website and helped BusinessWeek establish a web presence.

"When the web hit, it was like a light bulb went off," says Alvey. "It was technology and design together and CMSs are really design templates plus databases of millions of records all merged together. It combines the art and tech sides of publishing in a really exciting way."

It didn't take long before Alvey and a friend built a blog network that they subsequently sold to AOL in 2005. "I just became a CMS guy," says Alvey. "Twenty CMS projects later, I wanted to build the last one ever and that was Crowd Fusion."

STARTUP FACTS

Alvey used what he knew about blogs to build Crowd Fusion, which was launched when Alvey and Craig Wood raised $3 million from media industry companies in 2008.

The idea behind Crowd Fusion was to create functionality that blogs don't address. "We knew what blogs could do and what they were missing," says Alvey. "They couldn't do the things wikis could do. We built Crowd Fusion to take the best of blogs plus all that blogs are missing: structured data, wiki pages."

However, Alvey and his team didn't stop there. "About a year ago, I took our team on a retreat to think about the future of publishing," says Alvey. The Crowd Fusion team discussed its next steps. "The answer we came up with was cross-platform publishing," he says. This involved publishing content across a variety of channels, from smartphones to tablets and from desktops to apps. The idea was to expand the offerings to target retailers and marketers, not publishers or media companies. "Brands are starting to move out of what was content marketing into what everyone is calling brand publishing," he says.

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COOL TECHNOLOGY

Crowd Fusion has evolved into a company that helps content marketers reach their customers through interactive brand publishing tools. …

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