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It’s the latest online news accessory — the personalized pages of yesteryear reimagined with the tools of today. The NYT’s MyTimes.com beta has been rolling out slowly over the past few weeks, My USA Today News beta is up and this past week beta invites started to arrive for MyWSJ. The new effort has a lot in common with the others: users can add any RSS feed, click and drag modules, drill down through a variety of site feeds. (Click on the pic on the right to see a bigger thumbnail)
But MyWSJ has its differences, particularly its scope across DJ properties. The “add content” list includes feeds from Barron’s Online, MarketWatch, SmartMoney, and the various non-sub Journal sites — an emphasis on the WSJ as part of a broader Dow Jones Online network. It’s also done a better job of working in tools like stock charter and quotes, local weather and traffic, saved searches and even press releases. It’s separate from the Journal’s first personalization service, My Online Journal, but the two are supposed to be combined eventually. It offers multiple layout choices and, shades of Excite, four different styles; in addition, each feed module an be edited for number of items shown and choice of headlines or summaries. Hovering over headlines shows the summary. Plans include allowing subs to see and share feeds.
The combination of aggregation and personalization allows users to create a mini news portal and gives the sites a shot at increased stickiness and an additional way of targeting ads. Of the three, only MyWSJ is ad free — for now. The MyTimes beta is showing a political ad for my local election this Tuesday while My USA Today is showing an interactive ad for the nearest Walgreens — each keyed off knowing my zip code.
Related: NYTimes’s Personalized Service “My Times” Debuts In Limited Beta