Why We’re Shutting Down the Free RebelMouse Product

I wanted to take a moment personally as founder and CEO to explain our decision in shutting down our free product at RebelMouse. Those who understand us well know that RebelMouse is a company obsessed with distribution.

Before I started RebelMouse, I was the CTO for Huffington Post where we created a platform that gave editors and writers at HuffPost an advantage over their peers. Our goal at RebelMouse from the start was to build the next generation platform that could be used by any company to not only publish, but to understand distribution and audience with every story.

Our free product was the first version of working with social APIs at scale to be able to analyze and understand content and its importance, and to begin building the links that would make a website social. It's launch went viral. Over 9 million profiles have been created that have become people's bios, social walls, and campaign pages.

But these pages rarely went viral of themselves. Our mission has always been to help the users of our software spread, go viral or reach the small but perfect audience they were seeking.

So, we dug deeper, focusing on our cultural obsession with distribution.

We built Rebel Roar, our full blown DCMS (Distributed CMS for building cross-platform properties) and now proudly reach hundreds of millions on social and serve 90 million plus PVs on the social websites that link these properties. The Dodo, built on our platform was recently the 5th largest publisher on Facebook.

We work very closely with a very small group of partner/clients to build incredible experiences and be early movers on new products from the social network giants. There are very few teams in the world that have our track record for putting up the biggest properties in the world, and we will never stop putting more up there. Rebel Roar will forever be a part of RebelMouse as a small group of elite clients who understand content at the highest level - like The Dodo, whose team is brilliant.

We saw an opportunity to take what we've learned from Rebel Roar and provide a low cost, scalable version that could be deployed on-the-fly. That is Rebel Runner, which is now launched with a small group of awesome companies, but soon will be released so you can sign up for it and launch a new site with a few clicks. Ads management integrated, distribution/virality tools integrated, data at every layer, and simple for you to launch. Runners pull content in from anything - hashtags, social accounts, RSS, WordPress imports, etc. And Runners push content out to everywhere - Facebook Instant articles, emails, apps, Google News, Apple News, JSON, RSS, APIs.

As fancy, awesome and tricked out as our DCMS is, we saw an opportunity to provide the kernel of our social distribution tools as a product that could snap into any website. This is the product we call Rebel Discovery, which can be deployed into any existing site and works for anyone who wants their content to reach its maximum audience and has a Facebook page.

There is a passion at RebelMouse for helping companies and creators through a time of massive change. Everything has changed in media, content, marketing, and advertising -- and it changed overnight.

RebelMouse is going to be here through the decades of change ahead, a partner like Switzerland between the social media giants and wars, that is on your side to help you punch above your weight.

For those of our early users of the free product, we have special grandfather pricing to make it possible for those of you do have small budgets and companies to continue with us. We promise to over deliver on the value.

I thank you personally for having used the software that we built, and I hope very much to find ways to work on projects with no budgets but are just acts of creation like the ones we saw flourish on the platform. We're going to do that when you can bloom a distributed property with no budget, so that if or when free comes back to RebelMouse, you will be able to see the more real and full capacity we have been building.

Please join us in the real journey RebelMouse is on. Please talk to us about this as well, email us at free@rebelmouse.com

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How Axios Built on RebelMouse

The Axios founding team is composed of the industry veterans who built Politico and shaped The New York Times. They had a vision for building a next-generation media site that would not only win in the world of social, but would also build real loyalty and a subscriber base.

Industry: News Media
Headquarters: Washington, DC
Website: Axios.com

Axios is a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating, and shareable ways possible. They offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business, and politics with expertise, voice, and smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform.

With some of the best writers in the world, Axios knew that, to be successful, they would need to provide next-generation authoring tools as well as a next-generation front-end experience for their readers.

Project Requirements:

  • Get to launch quickly while still having tremendous depth in technology
  • Build a next-generation media property
  • Empower editors with technology for breaking news
  • Build a CMS that manages and elegantly assembles content into articles
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RebelMouse vs. WordPress VIP

After building the product for Huffington Post, and owning the product and engineering groups at AOL after we were acquired, it was clear to me there was a huge gap between what the current CMS offering gave the world and what the world needed. Five years later we are at scale, moving the needle and doing to WordPress what Airbnb did to Craigslist.

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We're a bunch of traffic junkies here at RebelMouse. We geek out over data, and we want our clients to geek out too over the insights we provide them. That's why we obsess over our clients' metrics on a daily basis. It's our belief that a clear understanding of data will drive strategy adjustments that lead to real audience growth. But this means that your traffic overview has to be as clear and easy to read as possible. Enter one of our latest updates.

A lot of our clients prefer to use a separate Google Analytics profile to track their Facebook Instant Articles traffic, and now this is incredibly easy to set up in our platform. We have a sophisticated Google Analytics integration that can accurately track every one of your UTM mediums, including Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and traditional website traffic. It's a feature that, if we're honest, Google Analytics does very poorly on its own.

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Strategy Services from Experts in Growth

At RebelMouse, we talk a lot about being born in the age of social. We went viral in 2012 as being the first content aggregator and the internet's first "social front page."

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Meet the Investors Behind RebelMouse

RebelMouse founder and CEO, Paul Berry, was the former CTO of HuffPost where he led product development. Paul has managed small, agile teams for 20 years, but has also led teams of 450+ people. He understands how engineers, product, design, UX, and editorial teams can come together with chemistry that produces results.

RebelMouse is fortunate to be backed by an impressive list of investors, including Ken Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Jonah Peretti, Jordan Levy, Fred Harmon, and more. See the full list below.

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Video Ads = Toxic

Facebook has implemented a ton of changes recently that have been affecting publishers' reach. And while it seems nearly impossible to figure out a winning strategy while juggling all of the platform's algorithm updates, one thing is abundantly clear:

Video ads are hurting your reach.

We're now finding that if you have a video ad on your site period, the Facebook gods are not going to favor you — and you'll most likely see a drop in reach.

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We care about you. We care about you having a sustainable business.

And that means we care about everything — from revenue to traffic to how you can be sustainable long term. By using data across all our publishers, we can help you understand what's happening in the media world, how to leverage Facebook's algorithm changes, where your audience lives, and more. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and we are always studying its changes to help indie publishers break through the barriers of bureaucracy. Our goal is to give you an unfair advantage through badass tech that helps you understand how traffic distribution works. So you can get your voice heard. Loudly.

One of the best parts of living in the age of new media, and more importantly living within the social ecosystem, is that everyone has a chance to go viral. The chains surrounding public content that were once monopolized by corporations and agencies have now been put back into the hands of the users.

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How We Created a New Social Platform for Food

One of the pillars of RebelMouse is our lightning-fast site launches. We love the fact that we can create a successful media property in little to no time at all. But there's more to RebelMouse than a quick launch turnaround. We can also create + customize pretty much anything you want — and we did just that with My Recipe Magic.

Our team created an entirely new web community on My Recipe Magic that is dynamic and social. It's kind of like Pinterest, but for food only. Your one-stop shop for all things yummy. It's a place to find, share, and create new recipes, and it's pretty addictive.

Here's how My Recipe Magic is standing out from their competition:

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