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01/08/2006

Washington Post to link to other news sources from its articles

Talking of progressive publishing, the New York Times reports that its rival, the Washington Post (along with a clutch of regional US titles) has signed up with an aggregator - Inform.com - to pull together links to other web sites:

The New York Times has no plans to use Inform, according to Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman. Ms. Mathis said the Web site planned to link to bloggers on various topics in the future, using technology from Blogrunner, which the Times bought last year for an undisclosed sum.

So the latest strategy of the mainstream media players in the US is to become the aggregators rather than let their readers have to go find themselves an aggregator. Even if it means readers leaving your site, they realise, they are making themselves more useful to the network by making themselves more connected within it.

Web 2.0 maven Michael Arrington at TechCrunch is not impressed by the new Inform.com product. He also kindly gives a link to an article so we can try out the service for ourselves.

I understand it now as being less of an aggregator per se and more like a key word news search tool. You click on a word that is hyper-linked (e.g. Israel) and then you get search returns showing, in order, articles from the same publication about the subject, links to articles by other publishers in the Inform network, and then articles by other mainstream media on the web and then blogs posts (the ones in the sample look like what Technorati would call "high authority" or old skool bloggers would call A-list bloggers).

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