Yahoo search engine reaches fee-based content

Yahoo's search engine is gaining hooks into fee-based content from news providers such as Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal Online and from research providers such as Forrester Research.

Yahoo has introduced a beta, version of a new service called Yahoo Search Subscriptions that indexes fee-based content and makes it searchable, the company announced Thursday.

However, finding links to this type of content via Yahoo doesn't automatically grant users access to it. If they haven't already, users must subscribe with each provider to view its fee-based content.

The service also indexes free content whose access nonetheless requires users to register with the publisher and enter a username and a password before viewing it, said Tim Mayer, director of product management for Yahoo search technology. Likewise, Yahoo Search Subscriptions also indexes articles that require a one-time fee, he said.

Users can try this beta service at http://search.yahoo.com/subscriptions. They can also test-drive the service by configuring the preferences of the general Yahoo Web search service (http://search.yahoo.com) to include these fee-based results.

In addition to The Wall Street Journal Online and Forrester Research, Yahoo Search Subscriptions also indexes fee-based content from Consumer Union's ConsumerReports.org, TheStreet.com, the Massachusetts Medical Society's New England Journal of Medicine, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and The Financial Times.

The list is expected to grow. In the coming weeks, the service will include content from Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive's Factiva, Reed Elsevier's LexisNexis AlaCarte service, The Thomson's Thomson Gale and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Yahoo doesn't have a specific goal in terms of the number of content providers it plans to sign up for the service. Instead, the company will use this beta period to see what types of users are drawn to the service and what type of content they are most interested in, Mayer said. Based on usage patterns, Yahoo will then make decisions about how to expand the Search Subscriptions, he said.

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