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Threads bluesky LinkedIn FaceBook RSS Feed Offers Top Dollar Business Content for Free Under Patented Marketing Approach
Posted On August 2, 1999
With a new IPO filed in June, ( continues to expand its Web presence vigorously. It now offers free, unlimited online access to full-text content from over 2,400 newspapers, magazines, and other premium publications to qualified users who perform at least 30 searches a month. The content matches that carried by commercial services that charge several dollars for a single item. has even patented the minimum-usage-to-maintain-access business model marketing option, which supports and encourages the levels of usage needed to maintain third-party payments for content. (formerly called KnowledgeLink Interactive, Inc.) is an Internet-based distributor of business and financial information. In July, it inaugurated a program that allows qualified, registered users access to over 2,400 newspapers, periodicals, trade journals, newsletters, and other content, including patents and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Sample titles include more than 120 major American newspapers; international newspapers; newswires including the BBC, Canadian Press, etc.; and periodicals ranging from Medical Economics to the New Republic and U.S. News & World Report. The majority of the titles come from full-text arrangements with Bell & Howell Information and Learning (BHIL, formerly UMI).

Edwin Addison, chairman and CEO of, said: "We want to be the industry leader in making valuable business information available on the Internet, in a way that satisfies the business user's desire for premium information to be free. With the Internet transforming at light speed how individuals are finding and accessing information, we feel it's imperative to provide business users and investors with the first free in-depth business research service on the Web. We've developed the business model to support this. Our goal is to be a household name for the business community in business and investment research."

Initially, the free content service opened to the first 250,000 qualified registered business users. Revenue to support the service will come through third party payments—advertising, additional content transactions, e-commerce partnerships, and sponsorships—as well as the sale of ancillary competitive intelligence products to consumers. For the first 3 months of their free registration, registrants may use the service as much or as little as they wish. After that period, users must guarantee 30 searches per month—still for free—to maintain their free content privilege. With this model, plans to guarantee "eyeballs" to the true payers for the content—third parties.

In total, the site offers more than 32 million articles, profiles, reports, analyses, and other documents from over 10,000 publications and titles worldwide. Sources include Primark, Phillips Publishing, Find/SVP, First Call, Hoovers, Investext, Market Guide, and Zacks, among others. It covers over 11 million publicly held and privately held companies in the U.S. and abroad. Content not available for free can be purchased under subscription or pay-per-view pricing options. filed a registration statement for its initial public offering in early June. Since then it has inaugurated several major partnerships with portal services. Inktomi (, the Web search service, has integrated's business content into its portal, while has adopted the Inktomi search engine into its own service. VerticalNet ( will promote access to's content within its vertical trade communities and allot exclusive sponsorship of the Business Information category in the Business Services Center on all its trading community Web sites to VerticalNet currently operates 43 vertical communities grouped into 10 sectors: advanced technologies, communications, environmental, food and packaging, food service/hospitality, health care, manufacturing and metals, process, science, and service. Netscape Communications (, a subsidiary of America Online (AOL), will offer co-branded industry research centers on the Business Channel of Netscape's popular Netcenter portal and its My Netscape personalized information service using content.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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