Thursday, June 16, 2005

Yahoo Search Subscriptions: the unintentional PR tool

As noted in SiliconBeat and Micropersuasion, Yahoo has launched Yahoo Search Subscriptions.

I also received an email from Factiva giving me notice that they are going to be part of the service. Factiva, along with the WSJ, Forrester and LexisNexis among others is a great tool for public relations folks.

Think about this: in PR, we do a lot of research. We do research for new business proposals. We do research for press releases. We do research for media pitches, or we should at least be doing research on the product and its competitors to be able to speak intelligibly to reporters. A cornerstone of PR is research.

Now think about this: Yahoo Search Subscriptions has many of the tools that PR people use for research in one place. We use Forrester for the analyst reports. We use Factiva and LexisNexis for background dating to the stone age (okay, it just seems that is how big the databases are). We use the WSJ to get the take from the business world. Yes, the blogosphere has made research even easier than it used to be, but sometimes we want to go back and find deep analysis or research, and these are the best tools. And, now they are in one easy search engine.

There are a couple of drawbacks. One is the reality that not all content is free. While the large agencies might have subscriptions to all these tools, the smaller boutiques like POP! PR has subscriptions to a few. Another drawback is noted by John Battelle, that the publishers should use Yahoo as "central clearinghouse for transactions and subscription fulfillment/services" so people can subscribe and pay in one location. I like Battelle's suggestion that there should be a pay-for-click model as well.

It's still a great tool, and one that should be highly used by PR professionals.


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