In a world where content wants to be free, the publishing industry is searching for a saviour.  Could it be social commerce?  ELLE Magazine has launched two parallel social commerce experiments on Pinterest and on Facebook – based on the concept of editorially curated and shoppable trend catalogues.

In a nutshell, ELLE is using Facebook and Pinterest to create trend catalogues that could be monetized through affiliate payments.  Speaking about the Facebook Trend Reports, as they’ve been branded, chief revenue officer Kevin O’Malley for ELLE, says the first step of the experiment is to see whether it works without affiliate monetization;

“In iteration 1.0 we didn’t want to do a rev share and we said this to all participating brands… No one really knows if Facebook is a platform for transactional commerce,”

ELLE’s Facebook Trend Reports are notable for their Open Graph integration, using 8thBridge’s Graphite solution for custom Facebook buttons (Love Want and Own), But Mashable takes the magazine to task for not giving the Trend Reports the same care and attention they give to the trend reports on their website; indeed it’s unclear why a $895 diamond dress earrings are the headline of the sports-look trend…

Already with a commercial relationship with flash e-commerce sales site Rue La La, could ‘social catalogue curation’ provide a new business model for the publishing industry?