Dow Jones and Company (http://www.dj.com) and Excite@Home (http://www.excite.com) have formed a new company called Work.com to develop the business portal targeted at the business-to-business (B2B) market for small and medium-sized firms. They define the market as companies with 500 employees or less. Each partner will initially own 50 percent of the Work.com company with equal representation on the board of directors. Already the new company has announced plans to go public with an IPO later this year, "business and market conditions permitting," with an equal sale by each partner of a minority of shares to the public. According to industry reports, this offering would not interfere with plans for a possible separate tracking stock on Dow Jones' Internet assets later this year. When the relaunch of the merged Work.com Web site occurs this year, dowjones.com searchers will be diverted to it. The Dow Jones company will retain the dowjones.com domain name for possible future uses, according to one report.
The expanded Work.com site combines industry news and searchable content from dowjones.com, a vertical portal for small business users launched in June 1999, with the functionality and traffic of Excite@Home's search engine and cable modem audience. In September 1999, @Work, Excite@Home's B2B division, launched Work.com (http://www.work.com). According to George Bell, president and CEO of Excite@Home: "The combined assets of Excite@Home and Dow Jones position this start-up to quickly become the market leader. The increased depth of content from Dow Jones will be a strong addition to Excite.com's Business Channel." Plans for the expansion of Work.com and integration of dowjones.com aim at a late summer release.
Besides expanding vertical industry content and community services over the next few months, the site will also offer application software and customizable services for business management, both free and fee-based. Business applications include e-mail, competitive intelligence, market research, file and document sharing, and collaboration tools such as Excite Planner. Community services support communications within vertical industry groups and professional associations. Front office and back office applications include Web site hosting, customer relations management, payroll and accounting, etc.
To provide file management services, Work.com has signed a strategic partnership with i-drive.com. Under the arrangement, i-drive.com allows users to collect, share, and manage information from the desktop or the Web. The service will also extend to Excite's Business Channel. Work.com users can set up their own i-drive account through the business channel on
http://www.excite.com or directly at http://files.work.com. Besides basic file storage, i-drive.com offers Filo, a feature that lets users clip Web pages and save them in their i-drive with links and metadata intact for permanent online archiving. The Sync feature synchronizes any folder on an i-drive with a folder on the user's desktop. Founded in December 1998, i-drive.com (http://www.idrive.com) is privately held and funded by Global Retail Partners, Information Technology Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Partners Group, and ZDnet.
Forrester research studies predict over 200 million business users online by 2003 with over $11 billion in market sales worldwide by 2004. Work.com plans to capitalize on that market trend. The company also plans to provide co-branded, customized sites for large distribution partners and a broad range of services through key industry content and application partnerships.
The expanded site will rely on advertising revenue, but may add subscription and transaction pricing for services in the future. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, the new Work.com company will soon name a CEO. Ezra Palmer, editorial director of dowjones.com, is currently Work.com's editor in chief. with editorial operations in the New York area.
Besides publishing The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, and SmartMoney magazines and other periodicals, plus Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Indexes, and the Ottaway group of community newspapers, Dow Jones also co-owns the Factiva online service with Reuters Group. Dow Jones management stated that it did not expect danger from the new service to its established Internet services, such as The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition with its 375,000 subscribers and $32 million in revenue. In 1999 Dow Jones made an estimated $150 million from Internet products and services, projected to reach $170 million this year. Selected articles from The Wall Street Journal, along with substantial portions of the daily Dow Jones wire service reports, would migrate to the new Work.com site from dowjones.com.
Excite@Home supplies broadband media services through the Excite network and broadband subscription services through @Home (http://www.home.com) and @Work (http://www.work.home.net). The company has a worldwide footprint of 72 million cable homes under long-term contract. Excite@Home's MatchLogic division (http://www.matchlogic.com) provides integrated digital advertising capabilities including media production, ad and e-mail services, and database analysis.