American Express is taking another leap into publishing with a new site called Currency that aims to help young people be smarter about their finances.
Launched this week in collaboration with Federated Media, Currency offers an impressive amount of original content for a branded platform: articles on the hidden costs of living alone and planning for the future; blogs from financial consultants and journalists; and online "courses" on paying taxes and managing student loans.
The centerpiece of the site is Social Currency, an app powered to Foursquare that lets users upload pictures of their purchases, along with captions and other text, at check-in locations. The app also allows users to comment on other users' posts.
Todd Pruzan, the editor of Currency (a position at FM, not American Express), said American Express hopes the site will help the company broaden its appeal among post-college students and other 20-somethings.
"They feel this is a niche that really isn’t being tapped," he said. "There's a whole decade worth of young adults who really don't have a handle on their personal finances. They've never been educated on this and it's not their fault."
Currency is not American Express' only attempt to reach an audience through content. It also maintains Open Forum, a similar site aimed at small-business owners.
Pruzan said the site aims to maintain a rate of four or five new posts a day for the first few weeks, then shift to a schedule of updating every two weeks or so.
American Express and FM are using Twitter, Facebook and blog posts to drive traffic to the site. Pruzan said they are also encouraging the journalists who write for the site to post their articles in social media.
American Express is also the publisher of Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure and Executive Travel magazines.
Follow Douglas Quenqua on Twitter at @DQuenqua.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014