New name, new look and new services to come from NBR site

A new name, completely revamped navigation, news tickers and an email-based push service will all debut in a major upgrade of the National Business Review Website on Friday. NBR Network, as the site will be called, answers some of the criticisms of the original site and seeks to make access to the 21 main databases clustered under the NBR name more transparent and dynamic.

A new name, completely revamped navigation, news tickers and an email-based push service will all debut in a major upgrade of the National Business Review Website on Friday.

NBR Network, as the site will be called, answers some of the criticisms of the original site and seeks to make access to the 21 main databases clustered under the NBR name more transparent and dynamic.

A new service called NBR Desktop Reporter pushes hotlinked news headlines to email clients. Users can set a personal news profile on the site by specifying an unlimited number of search keywords, and can have NBR's site scanned up to three times a day for new stories.

Desktop Reporter will be free to registered users, but paid-for news services such as the site's NZPA feed will still require a fee.

NBR network manager Graeme Colman says the company has been "talking to Microsoft" about providing content for an Active Desktop push channel and will make a decision soon. Whether or not the New Zealand Herald decides to enter a similar arrangement with Microsoft will have no bearing on NBR's decision, says Colman.

"We're in different niches" says Colman. "We specialise in business news and that's our main target on and offline. As the Herald has in print, they need to sort out what they should be online."

The new site stays with frames, but features a new hierarchical navigation bar to the left of the pages, which, like the new "dynamically propogated" NBR home page has been built with the turnkey CGI package Cold Fusion.

The new home page divides into six "panels" which can be individually administered and set to take database updates at determined intervals, and has the important effect of bringing more news and information to the top of the site.

Colman admits some of the changes to the way the large and complex site is navigated have come as a result of criticisms of the previous design, but maintains that "some people loved it - others found it frustrating".

The site will also featuire a Java news ticker, which will be available for use by other sites and can be customised to deliver specified headlines, such as sports stories.

NBR has also given itself another revenue opportunity by offering "personalised email channels", which allow marketers to deliver email material to those NBR Network subscribers which felt their profile and have agreed to receive such material.

Colman maintains that the Website has delivered on his launch promise eight months ago to "make money from Day One" and says the new upgrade "went into profit a month ago - by that I mean that new advertising revenue has overtaken the development cost for the new site."

Colman says the figure of 28 advertisers with which the site launched has now grown to 54 - including the PR firm Consultus, which will sponsor the Desktop Reporter service. And as for calls for circulation audits for major Websites?

"We audit ourselves - and any advertiser who wants an independent audit can have it from McNair for $300, as has always been the case. We're totally transparent in that respect."

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