I’ve gone back and forth on Inform.com in the past (we also covered them here). They are a massively funded New York startup that launched an inferior news product late last year. Since then, they’ve made real efforts to shake things up. Their newest product, Inform Publisher Services, is aimed at big web publishers, and is designed to help them increase page views by adding relevant links to other, hopefully related, content in their archives.
The new service automatically creates links in existing articles, which link to a results page containing relevant content from the site as well as from the web, including blogs and audio/video content. It’s currently live on NewsOK.com, an Oklahoma newspaper site. To see it in action, see this article and click on one of the links within the text. I clicked on “State Department” in the second paragraph, which brought up this results page.
Frankly, I didn’t see a lot of relevant content.
Inform Publisher Services is entirely automated, and I’m sure they’ll tweak the algorithm over time to make it better. But with all the new links in the articles, it seems that readers will quickly tire of seeing a results page with barely-related content put in front of them.
Eric Schonfeld at Business 2.0 wrote a very long post on the new product tonight, suggesting that this will give pubishers the edge they need to compete with Digg and Google in the war for reader attention. I don’t see the logical connection that he sees, but the company has convinced six partners to launch with this soon: Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, The New York Sun, NewsOK.com (Web site for The Oklahoman newspaper and News9, KWTV CBS Affiliate), The Huffington Post, The Deal LLC, and NameMedia. If Inform does a good job of creating more page views for these companies, they’ll keep this business and add more partners over time.
See our posts on Blogburst, another company offering services to media publishers. In the case of Blogburst, they are offering to syndicate vetted blog content to these sites at a much cheaper price than they pay for other content.