A newly formed company has taken on the task of providing information about technology products, markets, people, and companies to information technology (IT) knowledge workers. True Query, Inc. (http://www.truequery.net) has announced the availability of its namesake product, True Query, an online subscription service that provides the full text of articles from more than 60 technology publications produced by major IT publishers such as IDG, CMP Media, Cahners Business Information, and ZD Media.
In making the announcement, John Carpenter, True Query co-founder and president, said: "We help people who cover the IT market achieve greater efficiency when doing most types of research. One or more of the highly skilled and knowledgeable technology trade journalists have already provided the answers to most questions. Our users are able to access those answers faster."
Although True Query is designed to fill the void left when eShaman.com (the former ComputerSelectWeb) went under last fall, Carpenter said the service has been designed from scratch and that his company has no connection with the defunct Shaman Corp. Carpenter was the former general manager of eShaman.com, but lost his job along with other employees when the company folded. In an interview, Carpenter said he had tried to acquire the eShaman.com assets but received no response to his offer. Though many eShaman.com customers were quite unhappy when they were left with unfulfilled subscriptions, Carpenter said that many of them provided positive feedback about the value of the service and their hopes for a replacement. True Query then is attempting to replicate the value and the best of what eShaman.com and ComputerSelectWeb had provided.
Carpenter said that he and his partner and True Query co-founder, Peter Carlson (a former Shaman Corp. executive), have worked furiously and managed to put together their service in just 90 days. They quickly recruited publishers and secured agreements, chose a search engine (Lucene) that provides their indexing, and are relying on word of mouth and PR to attract customers. Obviously True Query is hoping to pick up the former eShaman.com subscribers, but it was unable to obtain the customer list. The company is currently operating with just Carpenter, Carlson (as vice president of engineering), and about a half dozen independent contractors.
Carpenter indicated the service would be adding additional content, but it now offers the 60 most heavily used publications from the approximately 200 that were available in eShaman.com. He has also secured a deal to include content from the NewsBytes Network. The True Query service does not include the analyst content (Giga, Forrester, etc.) that the previous service offered, but it may be something that it will add as the service matures. Most publications have a 2-year archive (compared to a 5-year archive in ComputerSelectWeb) and many have daily feeds. True Query does not provide a product directory, which was a major feature offered by eShaman.com and ComputerSelectWeb. Carpenter said that it was expensive to maintain and that he does not have a solution for it at this time. To keep costs low, True Query does not use an editorial team but relies instead on its own automated indexing and proprietary taxonomy, which is based on content received directly from the publishers.
The service permits full-text searching with multiple Boolean operators in the search tool set. Concept-based "related" links allow users to locate topics by navigating the taxonomy levels to get as specific or as general as required.
Though most of the publications in True Query are available elsewhere on the Web, Carpenter said the value is in the aggregation of the information from many sources into a single access point with a clean, consistent format. He said the interface is very similar to the simple and uncluttered interface of the older ComputerSelectWeb (compared to the more complicated and cumbersome interface presented by eShaman.com's implementation). The True Query service is also free of banner ads and heavy graphics that can slow performance, and results are not influenced by paid placement or sponsorships.
True Query offers various types of subscriptions to accommodate the needs of commercial, academic, and governmental organizations. Single-user annual subscriptions start at $1,190 (compared to $1,900 for a single-user subscription on eShaman.com). To apply for an evaluation trial, go to http://www.truequery.net/form.html. The first 200 charter subscribers will be offered a 45-percent discount.