The Era of Moreover

Every once in a while, we wake up and find that someone won a huge market while we were sleeping.

So it is today with Moreover.

Moreover is a news aggregator. Its database is a massive index to news stories posted elsewhere. You can search the database for free or set an automatic search to run continuously on your Web site.

Like Google, which won the search market last year, Moreover shines by doing one thing, doing it very well, and doing it at a very low cost. The company’s basic search software is licensed from Inktomi. Moreover owns no content — all stories that it finds open in clean, new browser windows.

Moreover’s standard database results are posted in thousands of places and are the main feature of many., for instance, places Moreover headlines in the center of its main page, and any site can use this feature of its “standard database” freely and quickly.

The money comes in from upsells. Do you want to add links to magazines and newsletters in your specific area? Then you’ll need Moreover’s professional access. Do you need the press releases of your competitors, the transcripts of discussions about your company on Usenet and other discussion boards, and really-hard-to-find niche content? Then you’ll need the enterprise edition. Or you can buy unlimited access.

Moreover doesn’t have to advertise. Instead, it uses partnerships effectively. The company has partnerships with major portals, with software companies, and with others willing to distribute its content and take some of its customer-service load onto themselves.

Moreover has taught the rest of us a lot. It has taught us about business models, about how to give things away, and about partnerships. It has also made its tagging technology, RSS (Rich Site Summary), the de facto standard for content syndication.

Moreover has also changed the nature of news. Any site can now have news — detailed, granular, and up-to-the-minute news — from a wide variety of sources. Define your audience, define your interest, master the database-searching characteristics of Moreover to get the right news feed, and you’ve got prime stuff for free.

This means small news stories can now get the immediate distribution capacity only large news stories got before. We all know about Timothy McVeigh, but now any site that wants to can have, and post, the latest headlines about customer relationship management (CRM). Over time, this will have a profound impact. Obscure news will get the same distribution within its niche that the top headlines get.

Moreover has succeeded in changing how news is understood and distributed in an extraordinarily short amount of time. By bringing immediacy to everything, it will force writers and editors to push for insight, since the headlines will already be there. As this insight is distributed immediately, the “echo chamber” effect that folks complain about now in Washington, New York, and Hollywood will only intensify in every field.

The era of Moreover is going to be very interesting indeed.

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