Between my post last week, Fred’s post on Monday, John Blossom, PaidContent, Michael Parekh and our press release yesterday, we’ve generated a lot of interest and questions about the Alacra Store. So I thought I’d answer some questions and respond to some comments here.
1) Better abstracts and/or keyword in context. This is our top priority. We need to give users as much information as possible about what they’re about to buy before they buy it. The challenge is the varying amount and types of metadata we get from the publishers. But we’re working on this now. Ideally, we’d like to do “search inside this report.”
2) Sort the results. Also working on this. On Google, users typically stop looking after the first page or two of results. Our experience with business information searching is that searchers will look through lots of results for an answer to their question. So we need to allow users to sort through results by date and price in addition to type of content which is deployed now.
3) This stuff is expensive! There are a number of reasons for this but the two most important are a) the publishers control the pricing and b) there’s an inverse correlation between high price and availability for free over the web. We are very focused on aggregating content that is not available anywhere for free. So while we will have lots of archival news stories (at relatively high prices) the Store will specialize in premium content that is not available elsewhere on a pay-per-view basis.
4) Can’t bookmark search results pages. We’ll fix this.
5) Coverage isn’t that good, or, in other words, not enough content. We have about 30 databases now, some of which are aggregated collections of trade publications such as SourceMedia. We plan to add another dozen or so databases by the end of Q3 including Moody’s and FitchRatings and bunch more by the end of the year.
John Blossom was spot-on in his analysis of what we’re trying to do:
The point is to provide a true browsing environment for business information consumers structured in a way that’s likely to appeal to people looking for particular kinds of specialized business-oriented content for specific business and research purposes. Most importantly, most of the content is stuff that’s REALLY not found on the Web, and it’s generally easy to understand which is which via this tool.