Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The New Business of Content Alerts


...the push model is getting a fresh infusion: new companies like PubSub (www.pubsub.com) and MessageCast (www.messagecast.net) are about to take alert distribution to new levels of immediacy, coverage, and flexible delivery, and hope to bring the search engine marketing model with them.

At PubSub, you subscribe to a search term or a highly specific type of structured data, like airport delay warnings or SEC filings for particular companies. While traditional engines scour years of retrospective information to match a term, PubSub monitors 8 million blogs, 50,000 newsgroups, and structured sources like Edgar to match your term against new, real-time information. Then the company delivers these matches directly to you via RSS, instant messaging, email, etc. "We do the opposite of search," says co-founder and CTO Bob Wyman, who has been in the thick of content innovations at DEC, Microsoft, and Accrue since the early 1980s. "I want to know whenever something happens. We tell them the whenever question. It is the other half of search."

While PubSub works across many content sources (although it can be filtered to specific ones), MessageCast employs a more publisher-centric model, which lets a user subscribe to a specific blog or content source and receive immediate notice of new postings through the company's LiveMessage service. When a new item comes in, whether you are on IM, email, PDA, or RSS, "we will find you on the network and hand-deliver that information to you," says Royal Farros, CEO.

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