Blog Post

Would News Readers Be the Next Subscription Frontier?

Utter the word “PointCast” and people still snicker. But “push media” as a concept is no longer to be ignored. Even if irony didn’t die after Sep. 11 attacks, serendipity certainly did. And so comes the re-birth of push media technologies through companies such as InfoGate (for more in InfoGate, read my earlier note on it) and Serence. Other open source news readers are also gaining momentum, as more and more weblogs and news sites provide their news/links/headlines through RSS feeds.

Serence, the company mentioned above, has released a new version of its news/info reader, KlipFolio 2.0. Even though KlipFolio has been available to individual users for free, Serence has been trying to position the new version on two fronts:

–Convincing online content providers to develop subscription offerings through KlipFolio. Till now, it has signed about 500 content providers delivering content through KlipFolio, though very few have premium subscription channels.

–KlipFolio service for corporate users, as an “Intranet Plus” communication tool. “More proactive than intranets and portals, and less likely to be ignored than the bulk of today’s emails, KlipFolio encourages the faster discovery of relevant information,” according to the company. “From competitive intelligence monitoring, document change management, and research alertness to help-desk notifications, job postings, and IT systems awareness, KlipFolio optimizes knowledge-critical roles within the organization.” This is a more interesting use, though a difficult one to pull off, since it is competing with already established Intranet/collaboration tool providers. Another parallel emerging sector is the enterprise IM sector, where companies such as Communicator Inc and a slew of others (including biggies Yahoo and AOL) are trying to pitch themselves as the complete communication/collaboration tool.

In the ultimate analysis, for any of these services/tools can only be successful if they integrate into users’ e-mail clients, or embed e-mail clients within their own interfaces. For even if “e-mail bloat” is a reality, the humble tool will still remain the predominant communication/information/collaboration environment for some time to come. (Wonder why Microsoft is so interested Groove?)