News distribution start-up Circulate promises to deliver targeted news to users and targeted ads for news organisations

“Details emerge for news distribution start-up,” The Guardian, June 24, 2009. I mentioned about a new service called Circulate that promises to help people find more relevant news and information while helping the companies that produce that information find more ways to pay for it.

Paying for professional journalism is a question keeping news executives up at night during this recession, and I wanted to find out more about how the service hopes to answer that question.

Jeff Vander Clute, the president of CircLabs which is developing Circulate, cast the service as a way to provide a "more intelligent browsing experience for users".

Using a browser add-on available in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and eventually Chrome, the service will take into account where the user is geographically and their browsing habits. If the user chooses, Circulate can take into account demographic information. One of Circulate's partners, longtime newspaper executive Martin Langeveld says that the service could also draw from users' interests in their social networks.

When new relevant information is published from one of Circulate's content partners, a notification will alert the user, which the user can expand to get more detail about the news items.

As Vander Clute says, users now expect information they're interested in to find them, and he sees a post-search, post-Google world where relevant information is pushed to users. He said:

What have we had for the last 15 years of the web? The fact is people find information by searching for it, which requires a lot from the user. You have to know what you are looking for. You have to know good keywords to use, and you have to be patient to sift through results, many of which are irrelevant. You might also browse. You might have bookmarks. You might use RSS feeds, although only 13-15% of internet users actually use RSS or know what it means. If the information can be brought to you, so much the better.

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