Business-to-business (B2B) content for Web sites is a hot application these days, as evidenced by the activities at the Internet Content East conference held recently in New York. Publishers, traditional and new-media aggregators, and service providers were busy making deals and launching new products to meet this need.
LEXIS-NEXIS (http://www.lexis-nexis.com) seized the opportunity to introduce Veracity, a new service designed to deliver access to real-time, customizable news for the business Web site market; it will be generally available later this year. Veracity positions LEXIS-NEXIS as a player in the B2B content marketplace alongside new-media aggregators such as iSyndicate and ScreamingMedia. With all the recent hype, the B2B content application may seem to be new, but actually LEXIS-NEXIS was a forerunner of both traditional and new-media aggregators with its product Tell Me More.
Veracity is actually a retooling of Tell Me More, which was launched in 1995. At that time, CNN started a multimedia news service on its Web site, and users were able to link to related stories through Tell Me More. In 1995, the Web was in its infancy as a commercial medium, but many people at LEXIS-NEXIS—as well as outside the company—considered Tell Me More to be ahead of its time.
According to Renee Citera, LEXIS-NEXIS' vice president of channel sales, Veracity improves upon Tell Me More with "continued growth of content offerings, allowing easy integration into the look and feel of the customer's Web site, simple pricing, and the ability to select a list of topics already prepared for customers—minimizing the need for customization." A customer can select and link to articles from the LEXIS-NEXIS services that can be used on public Web sites, in addition to intranets and extranets. Customers will have access to over 1,200 sources, including wires, transcripts, major newspapers, and trade publications. Major sources include CNN, Fortune, American Banker, Industry Standard, and Computerworld. Currently, LEXIS-NEXIS is actively pursuing agreements with publishers for additional content for Veracity.
Customers can select content from three categories: Basic Topics, Enhanced Topics, and Custom Topics. Basic Topics comprises approximately 10 topics that include U.S. News, World News, Medicine, and Sports. There are over 200 Enhanced Topics for industry and topic-specific content needs that cover a broad range. And for those who want Custom Topics, LEXIS-NEXIS will help create a custom-topic filter. Users can select which headlines and articles they want from these topics, using a publishing tool that also provides control over the look and feel of the information and maintains the branding of their Web site. Customers, who are bound by copyright rules, can print and save the content based on their licensing agreements.
All three Topic products use LEXIS-NEXIS SmartIndexing Technology, a proprietary tool that categorizes and organizes the LEXIS-NEXIS content. In addition, all topics and their respective content are updated every hour. Topics are priced at $800 to $1,200 each with a set-up fee ranging from $500 to $750; customized topics have an additional charge. Future plans include the ability to pay by credit card.
Privacy Council, a consulting and education resource on corporate privacy issues and risk management, has been a beta user of Veracity. A demo of Veracity can be found on the Privacy Council site (http://www.privacycouncil.com; click on "Privacy Desktop" on the left-side bar). This is a good example of not only LEXIS-NEXIS content and Veracity but also of the Privacy Council maintaining its Web site branding.
Veracity was a combined effort of talent and services that included the contributions of eLogic (http://www.elogic.com), an application service provider (ASP) of Web-based content management and delivery systems. eLogic was recently acquired by Cahners Business Information (http://www.cahners.com), a sister company to LEXIS-NEXIS, and is expected to help increase Cahners' Web presence.
LEXIS-NEXIS has also made a foray into rich media (aka broadband) by its alliance with Virage (http://www.virage.com), a provider of end-to-end solutions for video owners that publishes, manages, and distributes their video assets via the Internet or corporate intranets. Virage was recently implemented as a platform for both LEXIS-NEXIS Political Universe and the 2000 political conventions. Viewers were able to locate the televised speeches of presidential candidates quickly by any topic or keyword. In early 2001, Veracity plans to use Virage's technology to provide video news and information.
Veracity will also play a role in the recent alliance of LEXIS-NEXIS with Siebel, a well-known provider of e-business applications (http://www.siebel.com). Businesses will have access to the most current news about their customers and competitors through Siebel eBriefings, a solution for aggregating relevant internal and external business information into easy-to-use, personalized Web pages.
There has been a growing concern—with the explosive demand for content and its resulting effect on quality—about irrelevant and inferior content. LEXIS-NEXIS is taking the "high road" in the B2B content marketplace with Veracity. The company believes that a key differentiator between Veracity and other syndication content products is that Veracity will allow access to premium and relevant content that adds value to a Web site. SmartIndexing Technology is also seen as another advantage over its competitors. In addition, LEXIS-NEXIS has been a source of real-time and archival information for 28 years, and prides itself on its relationships and brand-name recognition with publishers and customers alike.
Don Thibeau, LEXIS-NEXIS' vice president of business development, said: "Veracity provides our customers' Web sites with access to the most relevant and trusted information available in an easy-to-use format. Our offering is in contrast to the ‘infotainment' often characteristic of other ‘content' offerings. Veracity delivers not only the credible, premium LEXIS-NEXIS content customers tell us they trust for their business decisions, but also the tools and technology that allows for customized content to be seamlessly integrated into business Web sites."
[For more on B2B content and the vendor marketplace, see "Content Is King: Channeling Content to Public Web Sites" in the October 2000 issue of Searcher magazine.]