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By now, Flipboard has become the no. 1 social magazine for smartphones or tablets. With its exquisite design, beautifully ordered and visually stunning layout, Flipboard has already acquired more than 8 million users, as TabTimes reports.

The creators behind Flipboard not only made it nice to look at, but are branching out into a model that might open new possibilities in social advertising.

Firstly and significantly, as Business Insider remarks, Flipboard has managed to avoid Twitter’s threat:

[The social catalog function] takes Flipboard out of the line of fire of Twitter, which has been cracking down on Twitter app developers who duplicate its primary function—presenting and consuming the content Twitter users share.

Whenever a user stumbles upon an article that is worth sharing they can do it from within Flipboard, but there’s more: in collaboration with Levi’s, the company announced that you can not only flip through links shared by your friends, but also buy clothes and accessories from Levi’s online store. In this way the user is not bombarded with ads, but instead shown a “social catalog” that grants them an option for shopping.

As TheNextWeb’s Harrison Weber claims:

Levis’ Flipboard store features its latest clothing collection, but also what Flipboard calls “Catalog 2.0,” which includes “Instagram shots, articles curated by the Levi’s team, videos and an insider’s view of life at Levi’s.”

The odds are, Levis is only going to be the first of countless brands to take part in this new initiative.

This advertising model already seems like it could have tremendous potential, but what is the next step for businesses?

According to TabTimes’ Doug Drinkwater, two trends can be in question here: do users have to pay a small fee for receiving exclusive contents, or should content be accessible for everyone in return for displaying built-in ads?  As Drinkwater writes:

Having struck the deal with the Wall Street Journal last month, Pulse co-founder Akshay Kothari believes similar deals could be beneficial for both publishers and aggregators going forward.

“Most content plans are currently $20 a month, which is a pretty big jump from a freemium user. What we’re doing is really trying to get readers comfortable with paying for content.”

For others, the “ad model” is still more promising:

For Karachinsky, leader of a firm with no business model or revenue at present, advertising remains the most viable way of monetizing.

“I feel advertising best supports our scale. I hope that more publishers that aren’t behind paywalls come to work with aggregators as there’s definitely space for premium content. But I think advertising is going to be the easiest way and will generate the most revenue.”

What is crucial here is that instead of having to look at traditional ads, users are given a new way of using their favourite news aggregators and buying online at the same time.

Would you use this function of Flipboard? Can this cooperation open a new era of social advertising? Tell us your opinion in the comments.