Continuing the onward march of its expansionist business strategy, Dow Jones Interactive (http://djinteractive.com) has announced more developments designed to project its products into Web consciousness. The company has begun integrating links from its Publications Library through leading public Web sites and popular online services, including general news sites and company sites. Under the agreements, the new gateway Web outlets will allow free searching of the Publications Library with users purchasing the articles they select at the standard fee of $2.95 each. At the same time, for smaller Web sites, the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition (http://wsj.com), the end-user arm of DJI, has established an affiliate program that will enable smaller sites to post updated news headlines and earn commissions for generating Interactive Journal subscribers.
The first round of agreements in the large gateway category opened up access to over 10 million Web users through agreements with AOL Canada (http://www.aol.ca), CompuServe (http://www.compuserve.com), GIGA Information Group (http://www.gigaweb.com), Medical Data International (http://www.medicaldata.com), MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com), MediaOne (http://www.mediaone.com), Medscape (http://www.medscape.com), NewsAlert (http://www.newsalert.com), PointCast (http://www.pointcast.com), Stockpoint (http://www.stockpoint.com), and ZDNet (Ziff Davis) (http://www.zdnet.com). PointCast and ZDNet already have the integration completed, with the remaining announced affiliates expected to connect before the end of October. Users can tap into the Publications Library using their existing passwords, although one way or another it appears that DJI will identify password users. The site relies on software from the Dow Jones Interactive Intranet Toolkit to create live "intelligent" links from different areas of a service or site directly to specific sets of headlines generated from the Publications Library. Web editors can select all or any part of the Publications Library holdings, down to the individual document or source level.
Users coming through the major affiliate gateways will not pay for searching or viewing headlines, but just for the full story at the standard $2.95 rate that DJI and Interactive Journal subscribers pay. We asked Tim Andrews, vice president and editor of Dow Jones Interactive Publishing, whether they weren't worried that this would cut into their own direct subscribership. Andrews told us that Interactive Journal currently brought over $1 million a year into Dow Jones coffers. Andrews reminded us that the $69.95 (recently increased from $49.95) annual subscription fee also included the daily Wall Street Journal with a two-week back issue file, plus Barron's, Smart Money, and many other DJI files. (The back archives of all those sources do go into Publications Library, however.) Also, he indicated that searching on the gatewayed sites would have more limited functionality than on DJI or Interactive Journal Direct. For example, users could not search by individual sources or control the date, and they would only see up to 200 results listed. Once again, editors could customize their searching for sets of documents of interest to site users with full power searching tools, but not individual users.
Major affiliates gain a commission from sales of Publications Library stories. Currently DJI is looking for sites and services with good, money-making demographics, but it will expand to less high-profile sites as time goes on. Andrews indicated that currently technical linking issues control the speed of adding affiliates. In time, DJI hopes to become a universal Web resource. Even the initial announcement indicated that it would negotiate with free Web sites, even those without current e-commerce features. In fact DJI offers third parties the option to use a seamless customer registration interface and billing model for already-registered users or even to supply access through DJI's own e-commerce billing using major credit cards.
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition's own Affiliate program operates at a different level. Any Web site can apply online to participate and, within minutes of acceptance, begin displaying business news updates to its site. Affiliates choose the type of content they want. News images range from the latest breaking headlines and Dow Jones Industrial Averages or Dow Jones World Stock Index, to simple ad banners promoting the Interactive Journal. The affiliate receives $5 for every trial that results in a subscriber who stays with the service for at least 60 days. DJI supplies the HTML code that enables the process as well as banner ads for each site (http://public.wsj.com/affiliates). Special, customized codes ensure that subscriptions to the Interactive Journal are properly credited to affiliates for their quarterly payments.
DJI's long-range strategy continues to aim at putting Dow Jones online products on every business desktop. According to Andrews, "This new effort offers business people and other Web consumers the chance to use Dow Jones Interactive from some of their favorite stops on the Internet, continuing our goal of making the service easily accessible from as many desktops as possible around the world. Now, business people can access Dow Jones Interactive as a stand-alone product on the Web, through corporate intranets, and from an impressive line-up of public Web sites and services."