Thursday, September 30, 2004

Headlines for 30 September 2004

IBM spices up corporate search
Swets Gets $55M Cash Infusion, Will Guarantee Prepayments
File-sharing debaters swap harsh words
Tim Berners-Lee: Weaving a Semantic Web
Matching Data To Device And Circumstance
NewsGator Selects Moreover Technologies for RSS News Feeds and Search
NewsGator Announces Three Key Partnerships to Drive RSS Platform & Adoption
Clovis and Moreover Technologies Partner for High Performance Delivery of News to Outlook Desktops
Dialog Now Offering Streaming Real-Time News Through Enhanced Dialog NewsEdge(R) Service
U.S. Department of Justice Selects LexisNexis as Primary Provider
Meteorlogix and Dow Jones Newswires Announce Agreement for Global Weather Coverage
The Sacramento Bee and The Modesto Bee Are Now Available on Factiva

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Moreover Moves into More Desktop Venues with NewsGator and Clovis

Not too long ago the question that people were asking was: whatever happened to Moreover? For a company that two years ago seemed to have the world of virtual news and journal aggregation in the palm of its hand it seemed to have disappeared into the woodwork. This low profile seems to have reversed course in the past few months as Moreover has inked and rolled out a succession of high-profile portal deals. Now Moreover is moving into the vanguard of content aggregation: the user's desktop. As outlined in our paper on The New Aggregation, the most important platforms for content aggregation today are the powerful devices in the hands of today's content consumers, so it is rewarding to see Moreover regaining a leader's profile and announcing deals with XML newfeed aggregator NewsGator and desktop content organizer Clovis. Both NewsGator and Clovis make use of Microsoft Outlook as a tool for adding and organizing high-value content in a familiar desktop application, though where NewsGator makes use of Outlook primarily as a convenient sub-platform for its feed aggregation capabilities Clovis uses Outlook as a vehicle to transform a broad array of content from both emails and other sources into organizing folders - handy for professionals who tend to use their inbox as their primary desktop. In both instances Moreover is placing itself in the right context at the right time for its Web and premium news and journal content., Instead of trying to outdo major news aggregators from a portal perspective Moreover is leapfrogging over the increasingly static portal concept and into the contexts in which today's professional content consumers use content most aggressively. The revenue fruits of these leading moves may not be significant for a while, but in the meantime Moreover increasingly positions its products where the revenue growth will be over the next two years.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Headlines for 29 September 2004

Google News: Beta Not Make Money
Why Google News signals the death of the online exclusive
Tech firms rally against copyright bill
Right to roam web is heading for UK court
iCopyright Plug-in for Internet Explorer Announced
Good call as VNU rings up GBP1.3bn sale of Yellow Pages business
RSA Security Announces Plans to Make Digital Rights Management Easy for Consumers
Elsevier Brings Scientific Information To New Zealand
IDG's InfoWorld Media Group Incorporates Feedster Syndicated Feeds into Their New IT Product Guide
UK Government legal eagles eye LexisNexis

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

InfoCommerce 2004 Conference: The Balance of Power Shifts for Directory and Database Publishers

The sold-out InfoCommerce 2004 Conference targeted executives and lead buyers from the directories and database publishing community, but its theme of a shifting balance of power seems to have attracted players from a broad array of leading publishers and content service providers who are seeking the answers to how to position their content services effectively in an increasingly open and competitive online environment. Complete coverage of the conference is forming now on our new Industry Events weblog.

Click here to view complete coverage of the InfoCommerece 2004 conference

Infocommerce 2004 Conference: Morningstar Makes the Model of a Database Service Grown Up

From its humble roots as publisher of the Mutual Fund Sourcebook in 1984, Morningstar has grown its database of financial securities information and recommendations into a $139.5 million (2003) business that has an increasingly dominant position in the minds of individual investors seeking authoritative analysis and recommendations. This position has helped Morningstar to build a broadening range of services for investment advisors and financial institutions seeking similar services on a more sophisticated level. It's unusual for a content company to work this back-channel into B2B markets, but as Morningstar Chairman, Founder and CEO Joe Mansueto outlined in his keynote address at InfoCommerce 2004 keeping your content company focused on excellence and integrity can play a huge role in defining a content product that is difficult to resist. Morningstar's analysis tools employ industry-leading design and usability which are combined with increasingly broad and authoritative editorial content to make its coverage of over 100,000 investments an attractive choice for decision makers at all levels of the market. This authoritativeness helped land Morningstar a significant slice of the recent legal settlement that required major U.S. investment banks to make investment research available from independent suppliers. The same expectation of authoritativeness also puts Morningstar under increasing scrutiny by securities regulators for even minor errors, but that's part of the game to which Morningstar has graduated. It's a small price to pay for a database service that focuses on the long-term interests of its clients and its product team. In Morningstar database and directory publishers have a great paradigm to emulate as they learn how to adapt to a marketplace empowered by individuals and institutions that aren't afraid to click to the next player in a trice if a product fails to please.

Headlines for 28 September 2004

Yahoo! home page, MyYahoo! get touch-up
Google's search will go beyond the browser
Dow Jones Launches E-Mail Newsletter Covering Buyout Industry
Online Libraries Slow to Take Off
CDs continue to dwarf digital downloads
Dialog Expands Dialog Choice Pricing Plan
Abbey Licenses Factiva Public Figures & Associates to Aid Compliance
Condesa Launches Blawg Republic
NetLibrary Signs Distribution Agreement with Penguin
Nature Publishing Group Simplifies Online News Process with Ektron's XML Authoring Tool

Click here to read the full news analysis

Monday, September 27, 2004

News Analysis - Middle Men: How Mark Logic is Redefining the Role of XML in Content Aggregation

With the eXtensible Markup Language gaining steam as a method for getting content to and fro in an easy-to-use format, more organizations turn to XML as a solution for driving down content delivery cost and complexity. Easier said that done in many instances, especially when it comes to getting search engines to hum across a wide variety of sources. But Mark Logic has drawn together XML-based content normalization, search and delivery capabilities in an open and flexible framework that makes the prospect of a universal enterprise Web environment based on XML standards far easier to consider for both enterprises and the premium content suppliers that support them. It might not be the sunniest news for content suppliers who had hoped to maintain proprietary advantages in the face of XML, but it's news worth watching carefully.

Click here to read the full news analysis

In Premium Weblogs: Moody's Contemplates Dow Jones Downgrade, ICAP in Newsletter Deal with Dow Jones Newswires, and More

In our Finance premium weblog Shore Analyst Jack McConville keeps you abreast of these and all the latest developments in financial content. This week's headlines include:
- Moody's Contemplates Dow Jones Downgrade
- ICAP in Newsletter Deal with Dow Jones Newswires
- FactSet Completes Fiscal 2004 on an Upbeat
- Hyperfeed Shares to Leave the Nasdaq Small Cap Market
- Thomson ONE Adds New Features
- HSBC Climbs Aboard the TradeWeb Corporate Bond Wagon

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Headlines for 27 September 2004

Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail
Moreover Web news feed syncs up with ads
Web tool may banish broken links
If RSS ain't broke...
Google site in China under fire
Fortis Bank Selects TRS From Telerate and MarketXS
LexisNexis and Factiva Compared In New Product Review Categorizes Lending and Investing Criteria of Over 4,000 Sources of Financing
Taxonomy Provider Indraweb, Inc. Changes Name to Intellisophic, Inc.
Elsevier Announce New Obesity Surgery Journal

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Friday, September 24, 2004

Headlines for 24 August 2004

Sony on collision course with music majors over mp3 format
More authors keeping Weblogs
Good Stock Advice or Online Noise?
It's the End of Classifieds as We Know Them
Wolters Kluwer Survey Says Compliance Remains a Top Concern for U.S. Credit Unions
BBC's teletext service is 30 years old - but won't see 40 Adds Content Providers to Existing Roster of Premium Sources Including Mintel, IOMA, Datamonitor
Wolters Kluwer Redefines Publishing in the Classroom of the Future
Web Services Content Integration For Government Contractors via Thomson Dialog and MAP ROI
EasyAsk Unveils Latest Version of Enterprise 9

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Content Through the Mind's Eye: Viyya "Reads" the Web from a Human Perspective

A lot of emphasis on technology that reads content resources on a Web focuses on extraction, on taking the good tidbits and leaving the rest as presentation "fluff". But what if that same technology could gain insight not only from the information but from its layout and other visual attributes? New Jersey-based Viyya Technologies has announced that it is getting ready to launch its first product, Viyya Lite, that will incorporate just such a concept in its content extraction and delivery technology. When Viyya's XCavator(TM) technology looks at a page of content it not only determines relevant words and graphics but tries to understand the layout elements that will be useful for its redisplay to a given user. From Viyya's perspective the goal is to emulate the mind's visual sifting of relevance as it glances through a page of content to determine what is relevant using all visual cues available. It's an "early days" technology, but with so many tools promising that mythical 20-30 percent savings in information retrieval efficiency it's interesting to see one that takes on the heart of the visual human element to determine what's worth absorbing. A vContent play worth watching...

Headlines for 23 September 2004

California Governor signs Internet piracy bill E-mail address required to share movies, music online
Internet Users Would Rather Give Up TV Than Web
Paid Contextual Advertising Driving Search Towards Personalization
A brighter future for e-books
Input predicts growth in knowledge management
Open Text takes aim at enterprise Net searches
Connotate Completes Rights Offering; Enterprise Software Co. Raises $2.6 Million in Private Placement
FeedDemon Picks Moreover for News Feeds and Search
Blue Sky Factory Integrates Real Time Behavioral Tracking & Content Delivery Tools with iRMS Partners With ValueClick, Inc.'s Search123

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Jeeves Puts on the Beefcake with a Raft of New Features - But is it Enough?

Going to the Ask Jeeves search site you see a new Jeeves from a number of perspectives, as noted in CNET News. Just as the graphic of the friendly butler has been updated to a more macho and youthful fellow (previewed in their Japan site earlier this month), the site has a wide range of powerful user-friendly search features to keep it on a par with major competitors, such as news, image lookup, shopping, weather, travel and personality lookup, but there are also some rather unique ones as well. Being able to get a graphic of a page before downloading is a nice touch, along with a MyJeeves feature set that encourages users to save searches and links in a portfolio, which maintains not just the original URL but all the content of the search listing and adds in a note-taking feature. This little personal touch can store up to 1,000 links before registration is required, kind of an odd threshold that certainly ensures loyalty from the fully addicted but doesn't leverage much out of the relationship before then - as opposed to Amazon's A9 search engine which leverages one's Amazon registration from the get-go. It's not enough to break Jeeves out of the pack, though it is a step towards building relationships with an audience around search content that may set the stage for additional loyalty capabilities. But with talk of Google tooling up to release its own browser, it's hard to imagine how a well-designed but stuggling search service is going to make a go of it for the long run without developing some innovative new revenue streams. For now, they're still in the hunt, but Mr. Jeeves may want to get his CV ready just in case...

Headlines for 22 September 2004

Butler Jeeves gets 'extreme makeover'
Google builds a browser
FAST Introduces Full-Featured OEM Enterprise Search Solution
Kwickee, The World's First Mobile Information Exchange Launches
Verity extracts meaning from content
Mark Logic Announces Open Content Architecture and Partner Network Targeting Enterprise Content
Pluck Selects Moreover Technologies for Aggregated RSS News Solutions
J.B. Holston Joins NewsGator as President & CEO
Verity and eFORCE Partner to Co-Market Integrated Portal Solution to the Healthcare Market
Viyya Technologies to File Process Patent Application on XCavator Technology

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Reed/Google Talks: Evolution Towards the New Aggregation?

One of our subscribers was kind enough to forward me a link to the recent Observer article in the Guardian by James Robinson which provides a high-level sketch of Reed Elsevier's plans to receive revenues from Google on link referrals to their premium scientific/technical/medical content sites, with other search engines potentially to follow. It's nice to see that Reed is exploring the path of The New Agggregation model that we've outlined, especially in that it's proposed that Google pay Reed for referrals. This is an interesting riff on the syndication model that Yahoo! and other portals use to pay for premium content appearing in their on-site services such as Yahoo!Finance: syndication without the pipe, if you will, allowing users of search engines to get syndication on-the-spot. How this monetization scheme works out in the long run for both Reed and Google remains to be seen, but it is a promising opportunity for ad-driven search engines to provide the front-end monetization for contextualizing serious professional content effectively in venues that readers go to first for answers.

RSiCopyright Relaunches as Valeo IP with Focus on Facilitating Users

Say hello to Valeo IP, a reskinned version of RSI Copright that still focuses on content relicensing for electronic and reprint distribution but with a greater emphasis on today's leading publishers - the individuals and institutions that consume and redistribute copyrighted materials. The announced relaunch comes with nicely packaged features to help users establish a friendly relationship with relicensing as a service, including a complimentary news clipping service, facilitation of emailing content for redistribution and easing the traditional tasks of corporate compliance and reprint management in a more user-centric fashion. It's a very clever repackaging effort, making the concept of content licensing more like a user benefit than an unattractive, geekish chore, but the package as a whole does not stray too far from the traditional bounds of the reprint management business. Yet the outlines of a way of doing business are there that seems to leave rivals such as Copyright Clearance Center still pondering how to position themselves for a more profitable profile. Within their "find-clear-use" cycle Valeo has the potential to manage not only relicsensing agreements but primary content licensing at the individual and institutional level, a far more profitable scheme and one more in tune with the real needs for process improvement that institutions are seeking today. Slick new Web sites do not a product revolution make, but having a message and a positioning that appeals to end users may help Valeo to position themselves strongly for the future of commercial content licensing agreement management in the New Aggregation business model.

Headlines for 21 September 2004

Online ad revenue jumps 40 percent in first half of 2004
ContextWeb Steps Into the Contextual Advertising Ring
Policy, Not Technology Creates Barriers to Info Sharing
RSiCopyright Becomes Valeo IP; Corporate Licensing Service Adds Depth and Breath to its Existing Service
IHS Acquires USA Information Systems
Verity Announces Integrated Enterprise-Class Extraction Software
The Wall Street Journal Online, To Share Relevant, Consumer-Focused Content
U.S. Courts Contract for CCH's Authoritative Online Content As Part of 10-Year Agreement With LexisNexis
LexisNexis Applied Discovery Enhances Online Document Review
Authors Harness the Power of the Internet with CyberRead
Real estate listings score InfoUSA Yellow Pages content

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Monday, September 20, 2004

News Analysis - New Tune: ContextWeb Sets out to R.O.C.K.* the Contextual Advertising World

Online contextual advertising is commonly associated with Google’s AdSense and Yahoo!/Overture ContentMatch programs that are open to anyone who submits the required materials, agrees to the terms and conditions, and enters their bids in the auction-based system. However, the success of online advertising has attracted the major players—both advertisers and publishers—into the contextual advertising realm. These players have a different risk/return profile, but they are willing to pay real money to reach highly targeted prospects. Is there an advertising technology and services company that can deliver the level of accuracy in contextual matching that the professional publishers and top advertisers require? With some new venture funding, ContextWeb is setting out to prove that they have the right formula.

Click here to read the full news analysis

Headlines for 20 September 2004's Jeeves disappears on 'gardening leave'
This Compilation CD Is Meant To Be Copied and Shared
Textbook Prices On the Rise
Amazon A9: Really Scary !
Beyond File Sharing: P2P Radio Arrives
New Start-Up Breed: Born in the USA, Made in India
Las Vegas System Uses OverDrive for Ebooks
The McGraw-Hill Companies' Standard & Poor's Division Completes Acquisition of Capital IQ
Cendant to Deploy EMC's Content Management and Networked Storage for Compliance Initiatives
A Music Download Site for Artists Less Known

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Friday, September 17, 2004

FindWhat Links Pay-Per-Click to the Telephone

In an aggressive and innovative move, FindWhat has launched a new targeted pay-per-call service, which as the name implies, links the Web to the telephone primarily for the benefit of those advertisers that do not yet have a Web presence.

Working with technology partner Ingenio, the FindWhat pay-per-call service will allow advertisers to bid for position using the same popular per-per-click auction model which is distributed throughout the FindWhat network of partner sites. Each pay-per-call ad will contain a special 800 number. When dialed, the call will be automatically forwarded to the advertiser's regular business phone line, and the advertiser will pay only on a "per call received basis."

What makes this new offering even more noteworthy is that it has been specially tailored to local advertisers, as advertisers will bid for categories rather than key words, and they'll bid for those categories in specific geographic markets. As Rick Szatkowski, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Network and Private Label Division explained to me, "Every market, local or national, becomes its own auction environment for products and services, thus [advertisers] may bid $10 for the "personal injury lawyer" category in Atlanta, Ga., $12 for the same in Roswell, Ga., and $5 for the same in College Park, Ga. (both are Atlanta suburbs). The individual market will determine the value. The process works the same way for advertisers seeking local prospects for their products, choosing the local geography in which to show their ads. So, for example, if a florist in Chicago chooses to advertise under Florist-Chicago category, she will only be bidding with other advertisers who also bid in the Florist-Chicago category, not national florists."

For each forwarded call, the service will use a "call whisper" feature, which will announce the call to the merchant, but the caller will not hear it. That's a powerful way to reinforce the value of the service and gives advertisers a way to measure the quantity and quality of the leads that are generated. In addition, advertisers will be able to view itemized reports showing the caller's phone number (the last four digits are stripped off so advertisers aren't tempted to telemarket the list), time of call, call duration and cost for the call.

I asked Szatkowski if advertisers, now able to assess the quality and value of each call with the "call whisper" feature, might start pushing to only pay for calls that result in sales. He noted that, "Today, advertisers invest significant dollars in direct marketing and other print advertising media. They pay a flat price and have no sense of the quality of leads from those ads or the quantity of the leads; no sense of ROI from the largest portion of their advertising budget ... and there are no refunds for non-performing ads. To the extent that we now give them a tool to measure both the quantity and quality of the leads immediately, the advertiser has the ability to modify the creative if it is not drawing leads that convert and can, as a last resort, take the campaign offline immediately. The sunk cost in our model is minimal as compared to traditional advertising and the opportunity to change or "stop the bleeding" is immediate." In short, this perfect linkage of advertising to results give advertisers more control than any other form of advertising -- even "traditional" Web-based pay-per-click.

Regular readers know that I have been skeptical of all the hype surrounding local search, largely because the approach of most players to date has been to offer Web-based global reach to local businesses with no Web sites -- hardly a recipe for success. With pay-per-call, I believes that FindWhat has "cracked the code" with an offering that provides all the benefits of the Web without advertisers having to change they way they do business. As importantly, it's based on a pricing model that reflects the local nature of their businesses.

Industry veterans know that "key phone" programs with dedicated phone numbers are one of the industry's most powerful and effectives tools to prove directory advertising effectiveness. FindWhat is moving the key phone concept to a whole new level.

This is powerful, revolutionary stuff, and FindWhat is ready to offer it to publishers on a private label basis, something well worth considering.

Thomson ONE Enhancements Focus on Content as a Relationship-Building Tool

Recently announced enhancements to the Thomson ONE suite of financial content products targeted for institutional equities markets provide a high-quality directory of financial contacts and technology that allows one to share any Thomson ONE content with a client. The first leg of this round of enhancements uses staff from the Nelson Directories product line to maintain a comprehensive database of contacts, CDA Spectrum equivalent, roughly, but integrated into the Thomson ONE tool tightly to help trading and sales desks identify prospects more quickly. The second leg is a screen capture feature that allows images of 1charts, data and other page elements to be combined with user data and content into client email messages. It's interesting to think how the financial content industry has moved from complete paranoia about content redistribution to recognizing that communicating content from sellers to buyers is a key value point in being able to make the transactions that pay for the financial content services in the first place. Supporting individuals and institutions as publishers trying to create value propositions of their own with premium content is an important key to today's vContent marketplace.

Headlines for 17 September 2004

A Wall Street Journal for Your Weekend
Microsoft flip-flop may signal blog clog
Forget unstructured data (it's all structured)
All about e-books: Dip into the huge online world of electronic books
Overzealous Lawyers Beware: Today's Sites Are Fighting Back
Thomson Financial Enhances Thomson One
IHS Acquires Intermat, Inc.
Feedster Powers RSS and Blog Search Results for Eurekster to Expand the Scope of Social Search
FindWhat.Com Announces Exclusive Distribution Partnership With Bizjournals
Convera Completes Private Placement

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Quick Word on Yahoo's MusicMatch Acquisition: The Beauty of Keeping an Open Mind

The announced acquisition of the MusicMatch online/offline music service by Yahoo! generates all sorts of buzz from a media perspective, but a moment if you will for the lessons learned by MusicMatch about premium content business models. What is MusicMatch? It's Internet radio, record store, rip-and-burn and mix your own all in one neat little bundle. For a nominal subscription fee you can tune in a Web-based "radio" stream of music with complementary discographies, and click on links in many of the titles to purchase CD-quality individual tracks or their albums. MusicMatch layers these models very carefully to provide sensible levels of free/fee access and obviously supports DRM for downloaded materials, but the key factor is that from the get-go they really didn't care too much about "what is radio" versus "what is a CD store". What they focused on is the value of content in creating an experience for a user, blending in models as need be. While on-air radio broadcasters are out there still pushing least-common-denominator fare in exchange for endless pub promos and acne cream ads, MusicMatch provides a far richer and more interesting range of fare that promises to render most non-interactive music delivery formats obsolete. So to get some fuel for the "is it a search engine" or "is it really premium content" debates, try downloading MusicMatch to get an interesting perspective on how openness to new models for old markets may yield highly profitable results.

Elsevier's Scirus Scientific Search Secures Web Marketing Association Honors

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest search engine of all? This year majors in the consumer's mind such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN had to take a back seat to Elsevier's Scirus scientific/technical/medical Web search engine as the Web Marketing Association announced its awarding of its annual 'Best Directory or Search Engine Website' WebAward to the STM Web whiz. Scirus scours the Web for relevant Web pages and serves them up in parallel with abstracts from scholarly journal articles made available from Elsevier's Science Direct database (full articles available with a SD subscription or via pay-per-view). Scirus does a good job of limiting results to relevant Web pages without washing out some of the more offbeat sources that offer good content value, while offering both the abstracts and more drill-down to related content categories to refine searches. The FAST-based search technology is a great example of taking a vertical approach to both open Web and premium content that provides significant editorial value via search technology, though as noted in yesterday's item about the Thomas B2B search portal vertical editorial approaches sometimes focus too hard on a given editorial goal and leave out key sites that are almost because of their popularity instead of in spite of it. Still some tuning left to go, to be sure, but overall it's a wonderfully positive sign that a highly focused approach to integrating professional Web and subscription content is gaining deserved high honors.

Headlines for 16 September 2004

Is Search About To Be Amazoned?
Staying anonymous on the Internet just gets tougher
The Challenge of Wider Library Units
P2P Could Soon Mean Phone To Phone
Will the iPod Become the Next Pet Rock?
Scirus Receives 'Best Directory or Search Engine Website' WebAward From Web Marketing Association
The Deal Marks Fifth Anniversary With Launch Of Strategic Partnerships and Celebration
McGraw-Hill Medical Launches Online Service w/ Top-Selling CURRENT Medical Diagnosis & Treatment
Gulf Coast HIDTA Selects ISYS to Provide Intelligence Analysts Desktop and Network Search Capabilities
Wolters Kluwer and Sdu Complete the Merger of Ten Hagen & Stam Activities into Sdu Uitgevers

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Amazon Debuts Beefed-up A9 Search, Powered by Google - and More

As noted in CNET News and other major outlets Amazon has raised the curtain on its collaborative search engine venture with Google, an effort that builds on the earlier A9 Beta but goes far beyond it now. A multi-column search results format provides access to not only relevant Web pages and Amazon books that match a query but as well reference materials from GuruNet, movie histories from IMDb, Google-powered image retrieval and a number of A9-specific features such as user-generated "diary" entries on specific search results and query histories. A complementary (and complimentary) A9 browser toolbar provides features similar to the Google toolbar plus the ability to move from one link to another in a given page of search results after you've clicked on one of the items, as well as "people who have visited this site have also visited..." pull-down window and an optional diary window. This is a great federated search tool that is very well engineered for usability and moving towards an environment in which a broad array of premium databases can be accessed alongside open Web results simply and effectively. While consumer oriented in its general format, it's an approach to managing multiple levels of content on a federated basis with common management, enrichment and ecommerce tools that should inform - and warn - suppliers with professional markets in mind.

Thomas Publishing, FindWhat Team up for B2B Industrial Web Search

In an interesting twist on B2B directories Thomas Publishing LLC has launched a new search portal called Thomas B2B(sm) designed for the specific needs of industrial goods and services purchasers and sellers. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article the service uses ad placement technology from FindWhat to insert contextual ads in search results based on Thomas Global Sourcing Directory categorization keywords that apply to the located products and services. The portal also features recent industrial news headlines from Thomas' Product News Network, a nice "destination portal" touch. This is a great example of trying to tune and tame the open Web for specific business purposes, but still in its early days in terms of providing content and context depth. Since through the years we have fielded wayward requests for Shore brand durometers from Instron I thought that I'd try out "durometers". Nothing. Hmm. How about "durometer"? The search results yielded one entry from the Rex Gauge Company, no ads. A similar search on Google yielded several entries for Shore brand durometers at the top of the listing, along with other major suppliers and a wide range of relevant contextual ads; Rex showed up on the third page of search results, after many entries of general interest on the topic of durometers. This simple test illustrates some of the key strengths and weaknesses of both approaches: In the Google approach you're more likely to find well recognized products near the top of search results, but in the product directory approach you're more likely to find competitive sources in a well segregated, purpose-driven environment. Over time the Thomas approach is likely to yield superior results for its intended audience if it can provide truly comprehensive coverage of its area of expertise on the open Web, a chicken-and-egg quandary that is still unfolding in this instance. The New Aggregation may not be the easiest concept to get going, but once established the profit potential is great enough to make it well worth the effort.

Headlines for 15 September 2004

Amazon unveils Internet search engine
Thomas Publishing, FindWhat To Launch B2B Site,Ad Network
Bloggers key to tracking down truth in media
ANts P2P2P: A New Approach to File-Sharing
The Proposed Federal E-Discovery Rules: While Trying to Add Clarity, the Rules Still Leave Uncertainty
Factiva Adds Army Times and Defense News from Gannett; provide critical, timely information
New Westlaw Tab Designed Specifically for Securities Practitioners
LexisNexis Selects LiveVault to Provide Outsourced Backup and Recovery to Legal, Business Markets
From Thomson Gale: Hispanic Heritage Month Provides Important Learning Opportunity
Yahoo! to Acquire Musicmatch, Providing Suite of Music Services for Consumers, Marketers, Artists and Labels

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

eBooks on "Smart" Phones to Reach Readership in China via CHL's Mbook Platform

Picture a marketplace of a billion or so people who have neither the access or the funds to pick up books at the local store. What better way to reach this audience in need of literacy than to pick up the phone? In China the Web is growing extremely rapidly but the use of mobile "smart" phones is growing faster yet, expected to reach more than 500 million people in China by 2008, according to an announcement from CHL Technologies, Inc. A new revenue-sharing deal between CHL and Shanghai DaLiang Advertising Co. will bring a broad range of eBook titles for sale to thumb-enabled readers in China via its Mbook platform, including highly popular world literature in translation, textbooks and business books. Titles will go for less than 75% the cost of their hardcover equivalents, but will reach a huge audience in the process. Kind of funny to contrast this effort to a local push to get classic literature in hardcovers from one of our local papers for "free" in a recent promotion or down at our local drugstore for next to nothing in a related promotion. Instead of messing with old content formats that will fail to reach audiences in their increasingly mobile lifestyles, China pushes forward with materials that reach the masses effectively via leading eBook technology. No need for printing up "Little Red Books" when the masses already own the means of content consumption. Hopefully more Western publishers will catch on to eBooks sometime soon...

Headlines for 14 September 2004

AOL begins testing new site revamp
Bloggers Find Clicks Don't Mean Cash
'Google-mania' ignites search technology
Reuters Launches New Product For Wealth Management Market
Additional Publishers Sign for SwetsWise Online Content
Reuters Brings The Wider Financial Services Market Greater Transparency Of Foreign Exchange Prices
LexisNexis U.S. Awarded 10-Year U.S. Courts Contract
ProQuest Releases Ancestry Library Edition and NewspaperDirect
ProQuest Company Expands Board, Announces Two New Board Appointments
E-Mobile Information Technologies Partners to Expand China Book Market on "SMART" Phones

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

Monday, September 13, 2004

News Analysis - Enter the Virtual Aggregator: Network Subscriptions Opens a New Door on Premium Content

In The New Aggregation the winners are those companies that can pick out specific attributes of the content aggregation business model and make them work with excellence. For Network Subscriptions this means aggregating subscriptions to premium content on the Web without bothering to use a separate database. This model works very well for individual professionals used to finding things on their favorite search engines - and may yet work well for institutions yearning for a better way to pay for and access premium content. More content and more clients as soon as possible will be the key to success for the pioneers of this model, but the model itself is likely here to stay.

Click here to read the full news analysis

Headlines for 13 September 2004

Longhorn to put squeeze on gadgets
Demand for corporate librarians rises
Latest Pew Internet Study Finds Paradoxes in Searching
LiveDeal Promises to Be 'Your Local Marketplace'
Microsoft Media Center 2005 DRM is draconian
Townsend RealTick 8.0 gets more graphic; peeking at shorts
MX Logic launches Reputation Analysis
wURLdBook Research - Web based information aggregator
Startup aims for easy transfers of Web snippets to cell phones
Dover Publications Names New President

Click here to view stories from today's industry headlines

This Week in Premium Weblogs

Things OK at Thomson Financial With a Couple of Glitches, Updates on Pending Capital IQ Acquisition and Independent Research Efforts, Sungard Completes Sale of Brut ECN to NASDAQ, NASDAQ and HyperFeed Announce Ticker Plant Deal

In our Finance premium weblog Shore Analyst Jack McConville keeps you abreast of these and all the latest developments in financial content.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

ENUM - Picking Up Momentum?

ENUM, an initiative we first reported on in March 2001, seems to be finally picking up steam. Originally spearheaded by VeriSign and Telcordia Technologies , the initiative attempts to bridge the Internet, Phones, Fax and Wireless with a single contact address -- your phone number. The UK Government is seriously involved in efforts to stimulate the growth of ENUM in the United Kingdom , adding to a general endorsement of ENUM by the U.S. Department of Commerce last year. In essence, ENUM is a distributed database that translates telephone numbers to IP addresses, which means that phone numbers could be used in place of, or in addition to, domain names. Currently, when you enter into your browser, Domain Name Servers (DNS) perform a lookup up on that name, find that it is associated with a specific IP address, and take your browser there. ENUM works identically, and is actually integrated into the existing DNS infrastructure.

Interestingly, ENUM can do more than a one-to-one translation to an IP address. It can also link to email addresses, instant messaging identities and cell phone numbers. It's also important to note that ENUM is designed to be queried by machines as well as humans, meaning that all sorts of interesting applications to perform seamless communications are likely to emerge, not the least of which might be streamlining voice over IP (VoIP) call connection.

A lot of governments seem excited about ENUM as a way to bridge the wired phone network with the Internet. Needless to say, the usual suspects in the domain registration space are all circled around ENUM, hoping to become the central registration, and hoping to tap into all the associated registration fees.

Fees? Well, somebody has to pay for all this somehow, and the current notion seems to be to use the existing model for domain registration. And with all those millions of consumers out there hankering for ENUM, revenues could be huge.

Consumers? Hankering? Here we go again. Develop a new technology, and everybody immediately assumes a consumer market exists, primarily because they want a consumer market to exist. After all, there are far more consumers than businesses out there. Businesses want to be contacted, and they want to make the contact process as simple as possible. Is the same true of consumers? Will millions of them rush out to link and expose all their electronic contact data in a searchable public database? I suspect that caution will figure into this at some point.

As to hankering, I have to ask, just as I did with the national cell phone directory: does the market really want this? It's a huge issue, because not just revenue is at stake, but the ability to achieve a critical mass of listings, without which nobody will bother to use ENUM, and the whole initiative will collapse. Too much ambition and greed too early means the almost certain death of ENUM.

Governments are behind ENUM in the general belief that it will lead to technological progress, and hey, they're not paying for it (and they may well tax it). The big companies involved in ENUM see big profit opportunities, although ENUM has all the characteristics of technology in search of an application. And unlike directory assistance and the white pages, there's no opportunity to impose "unlisted number" fees because the database does not exist, and it depends on consumers to populate it.

It will be interesting to see how ENUM evolves, but in my opinion, success will depend on scaling it down before ramping it up.

Headlines for 10 September 2004

Gmail morphed into a blogging tool
Spreading Knowledge, The Wiki Way
Intel calls for Internet overhaul
Hoover's chief resigning
Payout for newspaper online talkboard libel
From Banner Blindness to Text Ads, Placement and Size Matter
Rocketinfo Joins Forces with dna13 to Supply Powerful Media Monitoring Solution
SVP Alliance Launched to Promote Adoption of Content Protection Technology
Pathlore In Alliance With EMC to Deliver Integrated Enterprise Learning and Content Management
Online Advertising and Privacy Survey: Consumers Hold Strong Preference for Targeted Advertising

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Thursday, September 9, 2004

Standard & Poor's Gains Strong Positioning with Capital IQ Score

Standard & Poor's has been working hard lately to align their capabilities more with the real-world decision support needs of their investor clients, so their announced plan to acquire Capital IQ, Inc. comes as no great surprise in terms of direction but a very pleasant one in terms of quality and emphaisis. Capital IQ is a powerful desktop analysis tool that facilitates both financial analysis and the complex human relationships and activities oftentimes required to complete financial deals and manage portfolios and sales prospects. It has a highly intuitive interface to high-quality fundamental data and research, a deep and wide business taxonomy extended well beyond standard industry SIC codes, drill-down research tools, project management and relationship management tools. Many financial content products talk workflow and some do it pretty well but Capital IQ goes further than most to look at the business of generating value in financial transactions from the human and market side on in rather than from specific data sets on out. As Standard & Poor's searches for a better front end to leverage its own deep analytical relationships with the financial industry it could hardly do better with Capital IQ for its own good - even as other traditional financial publishers wonder what good ideas are left to purchase.

Newspapers Compete Against Online Ecommerce Services with "Click and Buy" Functionality

It's no secret that newspaper ad revenues are feeling the pinch from new and reinvigorated online services, but probably the most ominous threat to local and regional papers has been the erosion of their bread-and-butter classified ad business from job listing databases and online auction services such as eBay. As highlighted in the Wall Street Journal more than 150 papers are beginning to experiment with "click and buy" link refarrals from their paper ads into eBay-like Web site classifieds (example at the St. Petersburg Times Web site), apparently with pretty good results. The hardest part of the equation is integrating the technology into the infrastructure and mindset of paper organizations not used to managing ecommerce transactions. At the same time while local papers hesitated to move aggressively with local merchants who had little online expertise in moving their ad sales online those same local merchants discovered the ease and reach of the online auction services to pick up revenues across both broad markets and local markets, even as online community bulletin boards are gaining steam. "Click and buy" is a strong step in the right direction for beleagured newspapers trying to bridge their paper-bound operations into 21st century local content, but it's hardly a commitment to "online first" revenue generation. Online content is still largely a mystery to most news publishers still not used to serving a public equipped with powerful and affordable publishing technology. For those wanting some perspective on how to succeed in this emerging environment our new paper on The New Aggregation may help.

Headlines for 9 September 2004

Newspapers Pursue E-Commerce
Collaborative Conundrum: Do Wikis Have a Place in the Newsroom?
Why Some Experts Are Completely Wrong About Linking
What is the future of email?
Wolters Kluwer Corporate & Financial Services Boosts Online Compliance Service for Mortgage Industry
The McGraw-Hill Companies' Standard & Poor's Division to Acquire Capital IQ
Launch of the Business Network Introduces New Way for Consumers to Buy Online Content
Venetica Announces General Availability of Content Bridge for Hummingbird Enterprise(TM) DM
Mark Logic Appoints Dave Kellogg President and CEO; Industry Vet to Lead First Provider of Content DBMS
InfoButton Access From Thomson MICROMEDEX Speeds Delivery of Trusted Information to Clinicians

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Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Deeper and Wider: OneSource Gears up Core Business Content Offerings

The acquisition of OneSource by InfoUSA does not seem to have hit OneSource's ability to turn out significant new product enhancements thus far, as evidenced by its announcement of major new enhancement to its business content and the capabilities of its Business Browser online interface. Chief amongst the enhancements is more support for financial analysis of companies with breakouts of financials by business and geographic segments, more financial analyst reports, a full year of available news on all companies and two years from the Financial Times, enhanced reporting capabilities and query capability by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). These are the kinds of analytical tools to make OneSource more useful to financial analysts as well as competitive intelligence, sales and marketing specialists, thus continuing to bump OneSource up the value chain to "get it and go" people who need lots of ready-to-wear business stats to crunch along with their text. All part of the OneSource plan to penetrate key market sectors with higher value, and well poisitoned to do so. It will be interesting to watch how OneSource begins to bump up against other suppliers of financial reference data in the securities sector as they continue to add breadth and depth to their offerings. They're not too many notches away from putting together something like a Public Information Book product, just as an example. Watch this space...

Thomson Gale Rolls out New Platform, Taking a Page from WestLaw

As covered in Information Today The Gale unit of Thomson is applying the recipe that's helped other Thomson divisions like West and Thomson Financial to make strong strides in their respective market niches. Research your users like crazy, address their pain points via great interface design and make your content service an indispensible part of their workflows - in this instance with generous help from the technologists over at the West division. Now entering its Beta phase Gale is hopeful that the new platform will succeed as the other divisions have in creating market penetration and customer loyalty in the hard-hit library services sector by encompassing broader standards-based content delivery, user sharing and integration options, including eBook-formatted content. Will this be enough to make a significant mark in the marketplace as competitors on all sides chip away at the Gale value proposition? It's not clear that it will result in stronger market share any time soon, but the feature set is broad and robust enough to put Gale at the center of many of the major trends in The New Aggregation, which may be enough to excite many institutional purchasers at the center of today's publishing universe to sign up for this service.

Headlines for 8 September 2004

BBC Tests Waters for Sale of Unit
XML: Too much of a good thing?
The Blogger on the Payroll
Thomson Gale Introduces New Product Platform
OneSource Adds Enhanced Segment and Financial Analyst Reports, Expanded News Archive
NASDAQ Selects HyperFeed Technologies, Inc. as Ticker Plant for Data Factory Project
codeMantra offers publishers PDF e-book conversion service
The Wall Street Journal Launches Expanded Personal Journal Section and Daily Well to Meet Demand
OneFN Integrates FinancialContent's Market Data and Tools Into Investor Intelligence Application
MEDITECH and Zynx Health Join to Integrate Medical Evidence into MEDITECH Clinical Information Systems

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Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Headlines for 7 September 2004

Digital content spurs micropayments resurgence
Global Ad Spending Expected to Grow 5.7%
Complaints About CDs Prompt PLA Response
Study criticises content of annual company reports
Craigslist founder resists the lure of cashing in
IDC Adds Magazine for Marketing Execs Next Generation Online Social Network
North American Firms Trail Europeans for Quality of Investor Relations Websites, Study Finds
Verity Ultraseek Now Offers New and Improved Enterprise Search Relevance, Content Acquisition
Wolters Kluwer Achieves Associate Consultancy Status with British Standards Institution

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News Analysis - Cashing Cows: Aggregators Face Changing Business Models for Premium Content Services

There's nothing wrong with having a cash cow, but many content aggregators seem to have a difficult time figuring out when and how to put theirs out to pasture to make room for future revenue growth. In a new research paper entitled The New Aggregation: Models for Success in Creating Content Value we lay out the reasons why today's aggregation models are falling down so often and how content aggregators can thrive by being more selective about which aspects of content aggregation they choose to nurture. The result may not always be a comfortable or familiar business, but it's a result more likely to thrive than today's content aggregation business models.

Click here to read the full news analysis

New Research - The New Aggregation: Models for Success in Creating Content Value

With many veteran content aggregators facing flat or declining revenues while new players carve out highly profitable business models for aggregation, the time has come for content and technology suppliers and purchasers to consider how best to position their business models in this shifting marketplace. The New Aggregation is an evolving model that requires content and technology suppliers to focus product and service development on those specific attributes of content aggregation that best suit the needs of audiences participating aggressively in the content production, aggregation and distribution process. The new research report The New Aggregation: Models for Success in Creating Content Value from Shore President John Blossom defines in detail the attributes of content aggregation that are yielding success today, the vendors that are leveraging those attributes, the aggregation business models that are proving themselves in today's content marketplace and strategic recommendations for aggregators, publishers, technology suppliers and major institutions purchasing content services.

Click here for this report's table of contents, executive summary and purchasing details

Friday, September 3, 2004

Why Newspapers and Directories Don't Mix

Just weeks after noting the newspaper industry's on-again off-again love affair with yellow pages, I see an announcement by Hearst that it's acquiring White Directories, one of the nation's largest independent yellow pages publishers, and that White will become part of the Hearst newspaper group.

Is this a case of another newspaper publisher getting an expensive and painful lesson that local ad sales expertise and local directory ad sales expertise are not synonymous? Perhaps not. I spent some time flipping between a list of markets served by White and markets served by the Hearst newspapers, and found very little overlap. What we probably have here is Hearst making an investment in a growing and dependable stream of profits, just like the bevy of private equity funds that have discovered the yellow pages industry over the past few years.

So why don't newspapers and directories mix?

The primary problem is that directory salespeople aren't like other salespeople, and I offer that observation as high praise. There was a time when it was widely believed that yellow pages salespeople, particularly those with the benefit of Donnelley sales training, were among the best salespeople in the media business. But that's not the same as saying they could sell any medium equally well. Directory salespeople are indeed a breed apart, and the general experience to date is that they don't do well selling other forms of media. It's not for lack of yellow pages publishers trying to make it so. Part of this is a natural salesperson's tendency to focus on what they know best and are making money at today.

But the larger issue is that the directory sale is almost totally opposite to the sale of most other media. With yellow pages you sell retention, discovery, saturation distribution and response. Add in an annual frequency and rates so high they have to be expressed in terms of the monthly cost, and you can easily see the challenge. Yellow pages salespeople can't sell newspaper ads, and newspaper people can't sell yellow pages ads. That's why the potential sales synergy that looks good on paper has never worked in reality.

Consider too the cultural divide. Newspapers provide important news and have a strong and proud journalistic tradition. They sell subscriptions and they sell advertising. Yellow pages sell advertising and give their publications away. In the yellow pages business, the advertising is the content. That's simple to say, but hard to absorb, particularly if you grew up in the newspaper business. Add into the mix that yellow pages and newspapers have different pre-press needs, are manufactured differently and distributed differently, and you knock out loads more potential synergy.

Finally, there is the "grass is greener" issue. When newspapers look enviously at yellow pages, they look at the market leaders, the Verizons of the world. But when they finally take the plunge and buy yellow pages, they buy independents, the scrappy competitors, the "we try harder" publishers. Nothing wrong with that, as these independents can be both large and profitable. But what it does mean is even more emphasis on advertising sales in a highly competitive, take no prisoners environment. That can be a real eye-opener for newspapers, many of which operate with effectively no competition.

Does yellow pages make great media investment vehicles? Yes. Should they be acquired by newspapers to build "a highly synergistic, integrated local media advertising platform" (I just made this up, but doesn't it sound so ... plausible?). No.

Headlines for 3 September 2004

Enterprise Search Vendors Eye Emerging Markets
FAST Rolls Out Local Search Technology
FAST to Acquire Nextpage Publishing Applications Business Unit; Unveils Search Derivative Application
Wal-Mart Launches Windows Media Song Downloads
Napster Launches Music-To-Go Service
Copyright Office pitches anti-P2P bill
Duke University's Use of iPod Not Frivolous
Geico gets green light to sue Google, Overture
InfoCommerce Group Recognizes 15 Innovative Online Databases, Directories As 'Models of Excellence'
Wolters Kluwer's CCH Insurance Services Enhances AuthenticWeb Workflow Compliance Tool
Golf Scores v. Yacht Sales: Copyright Law and Data Extraction

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Thursday, September 2, 2004

Headlines for 2 September 2004

Report Slams Hollinger's Black For a 'Corporate Kleptocracy'
Prose and Cons: Sony's New E-Book
Behind the music: Microsoft?
Transformation at Elsevier
Being Innovative: Innovative Interfaces, Inc. Celebrates its Silver Anniversary
Dolan Media Acquires 14 Newspapers, Web Sites of Lawyers Weekly
$0.99 iWords eBookstore inspired by iTunes' incredible success
Handheldmed Releases Natural Standard - Reliable Alternative Medicine Info Formatted For Handhelds
LexisNexis Completes Acquisition of Seisint, Inc.
Pierre Fabre Laboratories Powers All Web Initiatives with Vignette Expertise

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Wednesday, September 1, 2004

TechTarget's Formula for vContent

The latest news about IT publishing firm TechTarget centers on their hiring two key publishing executives: Maryfran Johnson from ComputerWorld and Joe Levy, formerly head of CXO Media, another IDG company. In early June of this year, TechTarget also attracted attention when it was reported that it raised $70 million in Series B venture capital funding. At a time when tech-related B2B publishing groups are struggling with a difficult print advertising market and are trying to reposition themselves away from a print-centric operations model, what is TechTarget's formula for success?

A key element of their model rests on building tight communities of IT execs with similar interests and business questions. Serving up specialized content in one of their 20 industry-specific Web sites, 70+ newsletters, and Webcasts helps build the community; then TechTarget uses the nicely segmented audience of enterprise IT execs to attract advertisers. So far, this doesn't sound much different from the typical controlled circulation B2B publishing company. Even TechTarget's conference operations, which emphasize "invitation only" access (to assure exhibitors and sponsors of a high quality audience) really don't differ much from the standard model used by CMP or IDG. Although TechTarget seems to be creating something more akin to "membership" organizations or associations where participants share more in common than readership audiences of most business publications.

So why would two VC firms (Polaris Ventures and Technology Crossover Ventures) entrust $70 million to TechTarget at this time? One reason is that TechTarget isn't burdened with a stable of print publications and associated infrastructure that need "reinventing". They've been able to start with a web-centric digital publishing operation from the get-go. And, they hired personnel with the right technical experience and editorial outlook.

Another reason is their approach to advertising. Again, starting with a Web-focused advertising plan, they've been able to ride the wave of growth in internet advertising that they then expand into multichannel advertising opportunities via their conferences, e-newsletters, Webcasts and print publications (yes, they have a couple of print magazines). In fact, with their growing network of sites that reach over 3 million targeted readers, TechTarget has become its own self-contained online B2B advertising network, which could easily expand beyond its primary boundaries.

A third reason for providing cash to TechTarget at this time is to allow them to make acquisitions. M&A activity in the media segment is picking up. Plus, quite a few publishing properties are currently in the hands of private equity firms, such as Veronis Suhler Stevenson and Thomas Lee Partners, and these equity firms will be interested in selling to the right strategic buyer.

Finally, with this latest hiring move, TechTarget has emphasized that it understands the need for high quality relevant content--editorial expertise and quality control does matter. Adding together TechTarget's quality content, technical capabilities to run a digitally focused operation, and its obvious understanding of the importance of developing well-defined communities of readers, TechTarget has all of the elements of a winning vContent formula.

Headlines for 1 September 2004

LinkedIn links a million
Desperate for the New Business Model
Industry Jabbers About Google's IM Product
Publishing for profit: best practices for quick turnaround eBooks
ProQuest Buys Serials Solutions
Canadian PhDs see red over American content rights
'Favorites on Steroids'; enLighter Retriever 2.0 is Next Generation in Research Technology
Quality Early Warning Module Deploys ClearForest Text Analysis to Speed Discovery of System-Level Failures
Enterprise Search Shoot-Out Features InQuira, Leader in Automated Self-Service Search Chooses SageMetrics for Reporting on its 170 Newspaper Affiliates Nationwide

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