BusinessWeek isn’t exactly on anyone’s short list of Web 2.0 innovators, but when they decided to launch a new kind of news site they bypassed any number of ways to buy and decided to build.
The site, Business Exchange, launches next month and itself is something of a departure for a mainstream news publication – among other things, it will be driven by user-generated content and will embrace links to outside content.
The McGraw-Hill owned online business news website was featured in a recent New York Times article, discussing the business implications for the changes which include a vertical platform similar to Wikipedia. Users can create and comment on various topics, while viewing and contributing to aggregated and filtered news feeds.
In other words, they hope to invite in a willing crowd to become a very attractive one stop shopping destination for niche advertisers.
Roger Neal, senior vice president and general manager of
BusinessWeek Digital, says that they saw a strategic advantage in creating the site in-house.
“There’s this sense that media companies are somehow crippled or hobbled or can’t possibly innovate,” Neal told Wired.com. “One of the exciting things about web 2.0 is that the tools are easier and easier for people to use to build things,” he said, noting that with open source resources, virtually anyone is capable of creating an engaging, interesting site.
Neal is no stranger to startups and the evolution of new media.
Before BusinessWeek he worked at AOL, managing nearly 1/3 of their content channels, was director of strategic partnerships at Ebay, and founded his own startup years ago called Productopia.
They’ve also picked up AOL’s Ron Casalotti as director of user participation, who has 10 years experience working with online communities. And with user generated content, you certainly need someone policing the streets.
The BusinessWeek site is currently in an alpha testing phase, with expected launch in late September.
They’ve been embracing testers’ requests to include such new technologies as Del.icio.us feeds into the site, but he says they have no interest in acquiring any companies.
Neal says that they will soon announce a deal with the career-focused social networking site LinkedIn that will “allow users to leverage their LinkedIn information on the Business Exchange.”