First Look: Congoo

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Spent a little time with start-up Congoo today, which has agreements with numerous providers for limited access to premium content. It only works on IE for now and only with a toolbar called NetPass activated by registration. (Firefox support is expected.) It also comes with very strict rules; for instance, linking to more than 100 premium stories without permission is a violation.

Nine of the 15 “premium” responses to my first search using the term “paidcontent” came from PRNewswire or Business Wire. Others included registration-only sites. I tried another search for “microsoft and IPTV” — something I knew was covered by some of the premium sites included; the first page of “premium” results was all PR; ditto for the second page. When I tried a “suggested search” on Hillary Clinton, news links finally showed up including the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service and The New Republic Online. A note says more content will be added in the next few days but this wasn’t an incredibly auspicious start.

Update: Rafael Cosentino, Congoo’s VP-biz dev, gently reminds me that the deals with registration-only sites includes making those4 articles available without charge through Congoo even after they go behind the pay archive wall. Content from more partners will be added as those sites finish the software installs that makes certain material free to NetPass users.

Related: Hybrid Subscription Search Engine Launches With “Single-Digital Million” Funding

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