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Despite Stumbles, News Outlets Flock to Messenger

When Mic internally tested a Facebook’s Messenger “bot” to send out news articles last month, employees didn’t tap and chat with it much. So the Millennial-focused site changed course and will soon release a Messenger bot that sends people photos for a daily caption contest. An early test sent out a picture of Barack Obama reaching out to Beyonce.

Mic’s initial plan to send articles on Messenger, which Facebook announced at F8, flopped because “it felt like you’re just pushing content,” said Cory Haik, Mic’s chief strategy officer. “Now we’ll have a more interactive approach.” Mic sees no immediate path to making money on Messenger. But it sees Messenger as a new distribution channel to many of the 1.8 million fans who “like” its page on Facebook.

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“I would rather send a smaller number of valuable messages than a large number of less-valuable ones. In the early days, too many publishers are overdoing it.”