Powerhouse Publisher Perfects the High-Wire Act
From where you sit, what would you point to as the main challenges you see facing the industry?
Pazour: I think the big, unanswered
question at this point is: How do our advertisers and our customers in business-to-business cost-effectively market in this new environment? Because I think a lot of money is being spent on buying search words from Google and various other things, and they’re trying less nontraditional approaches to marketing. My question is: Are those mass approaches really going to work in a more vertical world where there’s better targeting? So I think our challenge is to provide advertisers value based on our intellectual and relationship capital within those markets that give them a greater return on their investment as a result of the new capabilities of the Internet.
What’s next for the future of Access Intelligence?
Pazour: The past year we’ve done two acquisitions. We bought the Energy Daily from King Publishing in Washington [D.C.], because we’re finding that daily-insight newsletters renew at about 90 percent and are not affected by all the free information on the Web.
We also bought another information business in the U.K., on pricing in the chemical industry. And again, 90-
percent renewal rates.
Strategically, what we are seeing is that if you can provide high-value information [despite] the glut of free information on the Web, people are willing to pay for it. Premium content can [still] be sold in an environment with massive search capabilities and massive amounts of free information out there. People are still willing to pay for the right stuff.
One of the problems with premium and high-priced information—and also information for a lot of controlled publications where you need to register to get it—is that there is a firewall, so the search engines don’t go in there. They don’t index it. … People use the Internet primarily for research, and if I’m researching something—all of that premium information that’s available out there—I don’t know that it exists. I’d be willing to pay for it. So there are now a couple of companies—we’re working with one called First Rate—that will come in and search an index of premium content and then provide a search for very serious researchers that want to find the right information and don’t mind paying for it. I think that’s a very interesting thing going on, and I think it could be a boom for people like us who sell premium information.
Related story: Don Pazour on Search Engine Optimization and Marketing