Nieman Journalism Lab, June 22, 2009CircLabs, the hard-to-describe startup that aims to create new revenue streams for news sites, has detailed a little more about its plans. And Martin Langeveld, who’s involved in the project, has written more about it too. (You know Martin from his writings here.) Their initial product, Circulate, seems to be a browser plugin that tracks your browsing patterns and information you give it to recommend content you might like. CircLabs promises publishers a variety of potential revenue streams off that model, including the ability to use Circulate as a pay wall or a micropayments engine.

CircLabs is an offshoot of the work Bill Densmore did on what he called the Information Valet Project as a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. I talked with Bill a couple months ago about his work on IVP; the video of our conversation is above. While IVP covered a broader set of ideas than Circulate does, I think it helps explain what the new project is all about. Full transcript below.

Joshua Benton: We’re here today with Bill Densmore, who is going to talk to us about the Information Valet project, which has been taking up a lot of his time and energy recently. Thanks for coming here, we appreciate it. For the folks who haven’t heard of it, what exactly is the Information Valet idea?

Bill Densmore: It’s a project that is being supported as part of my fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. And it’s an effort to rally the news and information-services industries around a non-profit collaborative to create a shared user network for Internet information commerce and privacy protection.

The idea is that a consumer would have an account at a most trusted Information Valet — like a newspaper, like a bank, like their ISP, like their cell phone provider, or an affinity group — and they would profile themselves, share information about themselves, with that Information Valet. And then working with that Information Valet, they would decide how and when that information about themselves is used across the web.

Read the full story here


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