I was intrigued to read about the launch of the Alacra Content Marketplace, which represents, I believe, the first information reseller to go fully self-service. Publishers (Alacra is actively soliciting participation from data publishers) upload their data, specify their pricing, and Alacra immediately begins offering their content both to its own customer base, as well as on the public Alacra Store site, which allows anyone to purchase content by the slice.

Gone (mercifully) are the days of going to information distributors such as Dialog on bent knee, hoping they would return your call, and having commission terms dictated to you. Because these big distributors couldn't justify the expense of mounting anything but the biggest databases, many small publishers were frozen out. The Web has certainly leveled the playing field for smaller publishers, and specialty online aggregators like Alacra have the potential to deliver meaningful incremental revenue to publishers with their broader reach and a la carte business model.

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