Inform Aims For News Publishers

    July 31, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The news search engine has shifted to marketing its services to publishers, and has landed the Washington Post and Huffington Post as early partners.

Those two Posts could not be more different. The Washington Post has Woodward and Bernstein and an assortment of Pulitzers in its trophy case. Huffington Post writers like its namesake founder Ariana Huffington probably have the powerful Pulitzer family in their personal lists of contacts.

They both have something in common now – search services implemented by a revamped Inform, which now provides publisher services to those clients.

Inform announced a total of six new clients will partake of its publisher services. The company said its technology “will enable these publishers to further establish themselves as a news destination, rather being relegated to a search result.”

This takes place through the automated solution of content indexing and tagging, as Inform described its approach:

Inform’s Web-based engine ingests and translates all Internet content into its common semantic elements through the use of advanced algorithms. Through this process, Inform systematically tags and scores every component of each article, identifying every topic, industry, organization, person, place and product mentioned throughout the entire article. In technical terms, this process is called meta-tagging, and the promise of consistent, automatic meta-tagging has been heralded by publishers as the “Holy Grail” for online information retrieval.

The meta-tagging is of particular interest. Inform has enough confidence in its systems that the tagging process will happen without human editors performing it.

Once content has been identified and tagged, it will be available to sites using the Inform solution. The approach focuses on keeping visitors within a news site by providing more access to similar results from that site.

Most people who visit an article from a news aggregation site like Yahoo News tend to go back to that portal for more stories on a similar topic. If Inform can keep people within a news site’s real estate for additional page views, it increases the advertising profitability for the publisher.

Inform’s solution will offer an assortment of features to benefit readers. A SmartLink makes each entity mentioned in an article a link to a page of results for that entity. Visitors can see related entities, topics, and articles displayed with an article.

The search capabilities from Inform can understand what a searcher likely means from a query. A list of “Did you mean?” alternatives appear as clickable terms atop the search results.

Inform’s success depends on how well its usage keeps visitors viewing pages and generating ad impressions for sites like the two Posts. If it is successful, it will be interesting to see if top search advertising company Google tries to develop a competing product.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.