“The reign of the dead tree is over” is the
kind of sound bite that futurists utter to make it seem
as if they’re able to peer over the edge of the
present into the world of tomorrow. But judging by two
magazines, it’s just another empty platitude.
EContent (currently being published) and AlwaysOn
(about to be published) are print magazines that comment
on Internet and other electronic content. They discuss
what’s there, how it got there, how you can best
get your content there, how you can best find content
there, and how individuals and businesses can make the
most of the world of digitally delivered information.
recently published its latest “EContent 100,”
a selection of 100 companies that the magazine’s
editors feel provide the best tools for these purposes.
EContent is a pricey, well-regarded print
magazine that costs $112 per year for 10 issues. It
is targeted to executives and managers responsible for
digital content. But, as you would expect, it also has
an associated Web site that offers a lot of free information
about digital content trends, strategies, and resources
that can be useful to just about anyone interested in
Here are some highlights of the EContent 100, including
companies that are household names as well as those
you’ve probably never heard of. Some of these
will be of interest only to IT specialists; some provide
tools anyone can use.
Blogging. Weblogs, more commonly known as
blogs, remain a hot content area, letting individuals
as well as organizations create online journals and
share them with the world. Traction Software, Inc. (http://www.tractionsoftware.com)
provides tools specifically for organizations looking
for better ways to aggregate and share information in
such areas as product management, corporate communications,
and scientific research.
Sharing. One of the flashpoints in online
content today is balancing the need to share your content
with the need to prevent it from being shared without
your authorization or benefit. ContentGuard Holdings,
has created a standard that specifies conditions for
authorized use of MPEG music and video files.
Targeting a wider market, SealedMedia, Inc. (http://www.sealedmedia.com)
lets companies securely distribute documents containing
confidential information by technologically prohibiting
recipients from doing such things as copying, pasting,
Searching. Google, Inc. (http://www.google.com)
continues to be all the rage in Web searching. Its flagship
Web search site remains paramount, and it generated
lots of buzz lately by announcing plans to work with
universities and public libraries to scan books and
scholarly papers, allowing easier access to them. Google
also provides tools for searching within a company’s
intranet and even within your own hard drive.
Copernic Technologies, Inc. (http://www.copernic.com)
is a lesser known search company that does much of what
Google does—and then goes one better. Copernic
lets you search for data normally hidden within databases
and other sources not accessible by most search engines.
ClearForest Corp. (http://www.clearforest.com)
takes a different approach to making information more
accessible, automatically placing an organization’s
text-based content into categories. The idea is to turn
that information into intelligence, as the mantra goes.
Collaborating. Once you have information,
acting upon it typically requires bouncing it off and
otherwise collaborating with other people. Jabber, Inc.
lets co-workers communicate in real time using secure
Selling. “Information wants to be free”
may be a time-honored catchword on the Internet, but
it doesn’t help pay the bills. ECNext, Inc. (http://www.ecnext.com)
enables information originators to profit from their
efforts through content sales and online subscriptions.
Delivering. Mirror Image Internet, Inc. (http://www.mirror-image.com)
helps companies deliver video and other bandwidth-intensive
content, overcoming infrastructure and programming obstacles.
Like EContent, AlwaysOn is a magazine about
digital content. An outgrowth of the blog AlwaysOn (http://www.alwayson-network.com),
it plans to distinguish itself by reprinting the most
provocative content from the “blogosphere.”
The quarterly magazine, scheduled to begin publication
shortly, will also carry feature articles about technology’s
future and interviews with key players in the computer
and online worlds.
The brainchild of Tony Perkins, who founded the now-defunct
magazine Red Herring, AlwaysOn is hoping to
make money through advertising and an annual $49 subscription
fee. But does it make sense to process the raw content
of blogs through the filter of editors and compromise
the immediacy of Internet content by republishing it
Perkins is betting that by combining the raw and immediate
with the well-researched and fact-checked, he’ll
find his readership.
Reid Goldsborough is a syndicated columnist and author
of the book Straight Talk About the Information Superhighway.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org