Keeping pace with the rapid expansion of its own business-information offerings, Alacra (www.alacra.com) announced the launch last week of its newest service: the Alacra Content Marketplace. Building upon two of Alacra’s established ecommerce services, the Alacra Store and Alacra Premium, the Alacra Content Marketplace (ACM) is a service that provides a forum for publishers to post and sell their own business research and information. Publishers are self-selecting, and, within minutes of uploading their content to the ACM, it is automatically made available to Alacra’s broad base of information-seeking customers.
This announcement comes on the heels of a pair of other product launches that the company had gone public with in recent months. In late September, Alacra introduced Research Recap, a free Web site built on a blogging platform that showcases compelling new research reports, with an emphasis on those that haven’t been widely circulated (see the NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=39676). Prior to that, the company went public with a free vertical search offering called AlacraSearch (see that NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=36848).
"What the ACM is all about is getting more content into our platform so that the content can be sold through our established channels," said Barry Graubart, Alacra’s vice president of project management. Alacra has spent the past 11 years integrating more than 120 business information databases into its system, building a reputation along the way as a first-rate content aggregator. The ACM streamlines Alacra’s process of acquiring stores of research and reports from publishers that it might not have acquired otherwise. "Up until now, each source we wanted to bring in required some work by one of our developers. The ACM is a self-serve environment. The publisher can push content in without requiring any technological integration," Graubart said.
While the ACM allows publishers to choose to sell their content through Alacra, that content will still be subject to Alacra’s customary quality standards. "We would still want to vet them," Graubart said, "to make sure their content is suitable to our audience. There is still that quality check to make sure all of the content we offer—including through the Alacra Content Marketplace—is appropriate."
Alacra hopes that the ease of integration inherent in the ACM will encourage small and large publishers alike to utilize the Alacra platform, no matter how specialized the niche of their research may be. "Many publishers don’t have the opportunity to deliver their content on a transactional basis, so a lot of them are very excited about this opportunity," Graubart said. "They can latch onto the ACM, price their content their way, and subsequently open new channels and new sales models without having to buy into a new infrastructure."
At the time of the product launch, Alacra had six publishers signed on to sell their content through the ACM: Audit Integrity; IncreMental Advantage; Mergent, Inc.; Pearl Research; SeeNews; and Wright Investors’ Service. The topics of the business research and information from these companies run the gamut from small-cap companies to the Asian gaming industry.
The ACM builds primarily upon the success of the Alacra Store, which aggregates select business research, content, and data and offers it directly to consumers on a report-by-report basis. Customers pay for reports by credit card, but search is free. The types of business information available include company fundamentals and financials, credit research, earnings estimates, economic data, filings, market and investment research, and news. Searches can be performed by keyword, company name, ticker symbol, publisher, or industry criteria.
Through its store, Alacra aims to offer an extensive and varied spectrum of information to as broad an audience as possible. According to its Web site, information available through Alacra services covers more than 45,000 global public companies, 20,000 private issuers of public debt, and 350,000 global private companies with more than $20 million in revenue or 200 employees. Currently, the Alacra Store offers more than 16 million documents and reports from more than 45 publishers and content providers, including CreditSights, D&B, Fitch, and Moody’s. Customers from more than 75 countries have purchased business information from the Alacra Store. Alacra reports that store revenue is currently doubling every 6 months.
John Blossom of Shore Communications, Inc. said that publishers "need to use sales channels that are responsive to the on-demand needs of today’s leading executives to sell premium research and business information effectively." Alacra aims to be as responsive to those needs as possible by expanding its content into realms that its current audience does not have access to. And through that expansion of content, Alacra believes it will broaden its audience even further.
The publishers that had signed on to sell their content through the Alacra Content Marketplace are already expressing their satisfaction. Jack Zwingli, CEO of Audit Integrity, said that while his company’s customers can already subscribe to its research directly from Audit Integrity, via Alacra, "we can sell access to individual reports to potential customers interested in our proprietary risk analysis reports." He continued, "Alacra has built, and continues to grow, an exceptional ecommerce destination for business information."Alacra stresses that the Alacra Content Marketplace is a marketplace in the truest sense of the word: It is open and available to business publishers of all stripes. Alacra especially hopes to appeal to small publishers—even those producing just a few documents per month—who might not find an open door into the traditional distribution channels. The ACM finally provides a place where those publishers can make their reports available online.