InfoNgen - Financial news discovery Thursday, March 27, 2008
Over the last two years I've come across a handful of online services/applications that have sought to scour the web and discover articles/blog posts related to brands and companies. At first glance, Google Alerts provides a similar sort of function, but these offerings have sought to enhance their value in several ways
- the types of sources they include in their search i.e. reputation/trustworthiness
- the speed of their "news" discovery from the time of publication i.e. minimal latency
- smart tagging of the content to provide some structure to the information uncovered e.g. company ticker symbols
Most of the entrants into this field have targeted their offering towards financial services users, appreciating that this community attaches a high value to fast and reliable information discovery. As such, the potential revenue returns are high and the target market well defined for their sales efforts. I've previously commented on some of them - Market Clusters, Relegence and Monitor110.
At the simpler end, some of these appear to be glorified RSS readers but where content is filtered by keyword relevance. Some of these tools also provide stats on numbers of mentions, broken down by source type i.e. blog, online newspaper, company annoucement and may toss in trend information akin to Google Reader trends.
At the higher end, several of these have attempted to infer positive/negative sentiment in the sources, which is incredibly difficult to do but natural language technological advances supposedly enable good approximations to sentiment to be drawn from the text. As such, by aggregating the "information" about whether there is a positive/negative sentiment trend, perhaps weighted by the importance of the source e.g. my blog scoring a low weight and the Financial Times scoring a high weight, it is hoped to detect changes in market attitude.
Another one I recently came across is InfoNgen, which I would classify as being at the simpler end of the spectrum, but useful nonetheless, particularly for firms dipping their toe-in-the-water. Unusually they have a free version alongside their premium editions, but which gives you a flavour of its usefulness. Worth inspecting.