Yahoo! has announced a beta version of what it calls Yahoo! Search Subscriptions, that allows users to search for content on password-protected, subscription content sites.

By arrangement with publishers (the publishers currently participating are Consumer Reports, Financial Times, Forrester Research, IEEE, New England Journal of Medicine, and the Wall Street Journal), It's being reported that content from Gale, LexisNexis and Factiva is due to be added shortly.

Yahoo! indexes the content and shows a snippet of it in search results. Users then click on a search result link, and they are presented with a page controlled by the publisher that allows users to login (if they are existing subscribers), subscribe online, or in some cases, purchase a specific article or report on a one-off basis. It's an approach that is simple and effective. And it's a model where everybody wins. Users get greater access to so-called "deep Web" content. Publishers with subscription content get more search engine visibility, ultimately leading to more revenue. Yahoo! gets lots of new content under its index, giving it some nice differentiation and competitive advantage (at least for a while).

Best of all, publishers don' have to compromise their business models in any way. Consumer Reports subscribers, for example, can access content directly through the Consumer Reports site, or indirectly through Yahoo!, using the same username and password in both places. The subscription to Consumer Reports is no less valuable to the subscriber because of this arrangement with Yahoo! It's just one more doorway to the same content.

But the most amazing thing about this new service is that it wasn't launched five years ago. Both the idea and the execution are breathtakingly simple, and the underlying technology has been in place for years.

It's the rare subscription-based data publisher who won't benefit from being part of this new service, so run, don't walk over to Yahoo! and get on board now. Even if Yahoo! ultimately starts looking for a revenue share on content sales and new subscriptions, this will probably still be a good financial deal subscription-based publishers. And besides, the faster this new service from Yahoo! grows, the faster Google and all the others will copy it, providing even more low-cost promotional opportunities for subscription-based publishers!

We're pleased to announce that
Richard P. Malloch, President of Hearst Business Media, and
Craig Pisaris-Henderson, Chairman and CEO of Miva Inc.
(formerly will be the keynote speakers at InfoCommerce 2005.

InfoCommerce 2005:
Cracking the Quality Conundrum

November 6-8, 2005 - Philadelphia, PA