Yesterday in Washington D.C. the creation of CircLabs was announced, a technology company that hopes to build a new service to finance online news, based on a personalisation strategy. Based in Silicon Valley, the founders are Bill Densmore, Martin Langeveld, Jeff Vander Clute and Joe Bergeron. Langeveld and Vander Clute announced the formation of the venture a conference entitled "From Gatekeeper to Information Valet: Work Plans for Sustaining Journalism."
CircLabs' first product, which should be launched later this year, is code-named "Circulate." It will "address the challenges of how to increase traffic to media-affiliated websites, secure relationships with online users and enhance the value of news," according to Nieman Journalism Lab's Langeveld. This will include providing "new and convenient ways for the Web to 'come to' users, including social functionality that integrates, at their option, with their social network accounts."
The user will have to sign up once, and then will have a personalised news service, delivered automatically, Langeveld said. Circulate consequently "promises to eliminate the uncertainties and wasted time of searching for news on the Web."
The idea is that it will help publishers attract a "strong and loyal readership," and help them to monetise their audience through the sale of premium content and indirectly through "high-value, targeted and interactive advertising." The service aims to work with all publishers of online news, and requires "little or no technical integration on the part of publishers."
CircLabs has seed funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, and has come out of research led by Bill Densmore who was a 2008-2009 Reynolds Fellow. Densmore has had a similar project in the works for some time, the Information Valet.
Although there are many vocal opponents of the idea, it seems increasingly likely that a significant proportion of newspapers will abandon a business model fully supported by advertising in the next few months and experiment with premium paid content. News Corp and MediaNews Group have made clear their intentions to do so, and start-up Journalism Online is promising to facilitate charging for online news. Where will Circulate fit in to this picture?
Source: Nieman Journalism Lab