Mike Isaac

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Mediafed Snaps Up News Aggregation App Taptu

It’s tough being a news reader app. You’ve got competition on every side while you fight for distribution, not to mention staving off media company lawsuits, all the while trying to figure out how to monetize.

Occasionally, however, a news reader app will find its own happy ending.

Mediafed, the European company focused on RSS and news feed monetization, announced Thursday it had acquired Taptu — a news aggregation app along the lines of Pulse, Prismatic, Feedly and the like — bringing the smaller outfit into the fold to scale up Mediafed’s mobile news aggregation efforts.

It’s a proper exit for the five-year-old Taptu, one of many applications in an increasingly crowded field that — as far as mobile news reading applications go — hasn’t proven to be immediately lucrative. It also comes about a year after CNN’s acquisition of then-competitor Zite, an iPad-based news reader app that the media company aims to use in implementing its long-term mobile strategy.

But unlike the CNN deal, Mediafed isn’t a publisher — it’s an ad network focused on placement inside of RSS streams. In picking up Taptu, a news aggregation app that makes heavy use of RSS in its algorithmic news aggregation, Mediafed has a better shot at angling in on all the unclaimed RSS ad deals across mobile devices. And as we all know, the future of computing is so very, very mobile.

I’m not sure exactly how happy of an ending it was for Taptu, however; terms of the deal — namely the price — were not disclosed, and Taptu raised upward of $22 million over its five-year run. Still, now that the founders have the backing of Mediafed’s 1,000-plus advertiser network and well-placed publisher connections, at the very least, Taptu doesn’t need to worry about monetizing anymore (that’s Mediafed’s deal).

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus