Edgar Online Hires Bank To Get Investment For Its XBRL Efforts

Edgar Online (NSDQ: EDGR), the publicly traded financial information service, has hired a bank—The Jordan, Edmiston Group—to help it get strategic investments to boost its efforts in XBRL, the open data standard for financial reporting that it has pioneered and now been adopted by SEC. This is not a sale of the company…More to come later.

InfoSpace Takes Back InfoSpace.com; Relaunches Site As Meta-Search Engine

The new-old entrant in the search market: InfoSpace.com. InfoSpace (NSDQ: INSP), which offloaded its flagship domain two years ago, is taking it back and relaunching it as a search service featuring top results from the major search engines. It’s a bit of a misnomer to say it’s new since it’s basically the same set up as other InfoSpace sites, like DogPile.com and Webcrawler.com. However, InfoSpace is proudly noting that top results from Twitter will also now be included on InfoSpace.com.

InfoSpace sold the InfoSpace.com domain and the InfoSpace trademark to Idearc in 2007, as part of the $225 million sale of its online directory business. And until recently, Idearc continued to operate InfoSpace.com as a directory site. But in a statement, InfoSpace says it took back the domain name in May.

In Idearc’s hands InfoSpace.com continued to bring in substantial traffic, including about 4.3 million unique users in May, according to Compete.com. That’s more than InfoSpace’s current top site, DogPile.com, which had about 3 million users that same month.

But InfoSpace’s traffic hasn’t been sufficient to get it a place on comScore’s list of top search engines. And as TechFlash notes, the future of metasearch engines—which feature results from several search engines—is in doubt, considering that likely very soon the results from two of the three major players—Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)—will be the same.


It’s Media Day At SpinVox

We weren’t invited to SpinVox’s technology demo on Tuesday morning, but we didn’t take offence; honest. The reception sounded like an effort to woo mostly bloggers, complete with pastries and minibuses, to get them to think positive thoughts about the company. Did it work? Here’s what happened at the gathering, care of Guardian.co.uk’s Kevin Anderson.

Embattled voice-to-text provider SpinVox demonstrated its technology to counter claims that its reliance on call centres was hampering its ability to grow. SpinVox’s chief information officer, Rob Wheatley, led journalists through a detailed explanation of the technology not only behind the voice recognition but also an application called Tenzing that speeds the transcription by operators at call centres. Company representatives declined to say what percentage of calls were sent to human operators.

Wheatley said that the percentage varied widely based on the carrier and also how much data was contained in the automatic speech recognition and natural language processing databases. However, he did say that in some instances, 100% of calls needed human intervention, although the figure was expected to decrease over time as the system gathered more data from the carrier.

Journalists were shown the call-processing queue and also an employee using the Tenzing application after the system determined that it lacked confidence in the quality of the automatic processing.

The question isn’t whether Spinvox uses call centres to aid the transcription process but whether the system is sophisticated enough to limit the human intervention to as little as possible in its new markets. That is critical to meeting its growth targets of five-fold revenue growth, which Spinvox’s chief executive, Christina Domecq, said were key to the company being “cash positive” by the fourth quarter of this year.

Investors have extended it £15m in emergency funding. In predicting that the company would be making money by the fourth quarter of this year, she said that the company had included several contigencies. The company is currently involved in legal action with former suppliers over payment issues stemming from what Domecq said were quality-of-service issues. There are no legal disputes with current suppliers, and it is continuing to pay its bills.

Domecq told paidContent:UK (part of the ContentNext Media network, which is owned, like the guardian.co.uk, by Guardian Media Group) the company would scale from a capacity of 30 million up to 100 million users “within 90 days”. Domecq said Spinvox’s competitive advantage was its speed to market, and described its growth strategy as a “land grab” and establishing itself aggressively in new markets.

The demonstration showed that under ideal conditions the automated transcription system could turn around a message in about four seconds, but without clear numbers about the percentage of calls needing human transcription, it is almost impossible to gauge whether the company can scale to meet its aggressive targets.

Terry Gardner: New Site Serves Up News Women Want

Remember when your Mother used to give you a fly by kiss on the cheek that sounded like a "smack" or you got your hand smacked for trying to grab an extra cookie? There's a new social media site aimed at women to "hit " or "smak" you with the news that really interests you.

Launched in May, www.SmakNews.com is designed to encourage women already blogging and to foster new talent. A woman might be inspired to blog by initially just "talking Smak" where she posts a comment about an article or her answer to a question. If other readers like the kind of "Smak" she talks, they can follow her posts in a Twitter-like fashion.

SmakNews combines some features of several popular social media sites to provide a destination where women can share interesting links, create original blog posts, etc. One example is the site's Twitter-like ability letting users "Talk Smak" about a topic. They can talk "Smak" about anything they encounter, even if it isn't on the Smaknews site as a blog entry or linked story. The user simply shares a sentence with a link and begins generating a discussion around it with other users.

Women can share links to interesting stories on the web whether it concerns the President having a date night with his wife in the Big Apple or a picture of Brad Pitt hitching a ride with a paparazzi after his car broke down. Users can write their own article or merely pose a question to the community to begin a dialogue. Every post allows others to react to an article or question with Smak Talk. And what woman doesn't like to talk?

Rather than asking for a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on an article, Smak News requests emotion, mood-based or sassy feedback. Users can weigh in on whether a story is: "hot," "lol," "lame," "inspiring," etc.

Another nice feature that distinguishes SmakNews from Twitter is that users can choose either to follow a user's Smak activity or to follow certain types of stories. The user gets a Smak Feed which essentially satisfies a woman with whatever news she craves whether it's Celeb Smak (Celebs in Love, Celeb Break-ups, the Baby Bump, etc.) or for Her (covering beauty, sex, style and romance).

Executive Editor, Gina Mom, sees SmakNews as a site where women can "let their hair down. A place of their own to have fun discussions about celebrity news, entertainment, fashion and beauty." Mom says users will ultimately be able to guide the site in the direction they desire as new topics interest them.

And even though the site is designed for women, a few enlightened males blog on the site. For guys wondering what women really want, a visit could prove educational.

Bella DePaulo: Marriage and Health: Eh Tu, New York Times?

The New York Times has just published a piece on that same marriage and health study that Newsweek discussed so misleadingly. Sadly, this piece isn't what it should be either. I am especially disappointed with this one because I've read some of the reporter's previous work and liked it. But if she had read my post on this study (including the terrific comments that were posted by readers) - or Chapter 2 of Singled Out - I think she would have written a better piece. In fact, from the comments that Living Single readers posted to my take-down of the Newsweek story (and their other comments as well) I think many readers could critique this New York Times story without any help from me.

Nonetheless, here goes.

The first sentence of the story is, "Married people tend to be healthier than single people." I'll get to that in a moment.

A few paragraphs later, the reporter takes up the question that Living Single readers raised in their comments to my post about the study: If this is so, why does it happen? Here's the reporter's answer:

"The health benefits of marriage, documented by a wealth of research, appear to stem from several factors. Married people tend to be better off financially and can share in a spouse's employer health benefits. And wives, in particular, act as gatekeepers for a husband's health, scheduling appointments and noticing changes that may signal a health problem. Spouses can offer logistical support, like taking care of children while a partner exercises or shuttling a partner to and from the doctor's office."

So what's the most important reason why married people tend to look healthier than unmarried people (if they do)? The study in question, like most others on the topic, looks at people of different marital statuses at one point in time. In one category are the people who are currently married, and in the others are the divorced, widowed, and always-single, and various permutations. The currently married people look healthier largely because all those people (probably at least 43%) who got married, hated it, and got divorced are taken out of the marriage group. In my favorite analogy, it is like a drug company claiming that taking their drug Shamster makes people healthier as long as you take out of the Shamster group all of the people who took it, hated it, and stopped taking it.

A few more points.

• If marriage is so good for health because wives nag their husbands to stay healthy, then why are married people fatter than everyone else?

• It is true that the currently married are better off financially than the currently unmarried and that they can get access to health care benefits by way of their spouse's plan at work. (The financial advantage is itself important - marital status discrimination is built right into our laws and policies.) The story focuses on the divorced and widowed, but those who have always been single are also disadvantaged with regard to money and access to health benefits. So isn't it interesting (as I pointed out in my last post) that in the very study that the reporter is describing, people who have always been single have no more chronic health conditions than people who are currently married, and women who have always been single report heath that is just as good as women who got married and stayed married. People who have always been single have had a lifetime of economic disadvantages, and a lifetime of lesser access to health benefits, and a lifetime of figuring out for themselves how to stay healthy (no spousal nagging included), and yet they do just as well on some measures as people who are currently married. And remember, they are doing just as well according to the cheater-method that already gives a huge advantage to people who got married (by taking out of the group the huge chunk of people who got married, hated it, and got divorced). [Continue reading here at the Living Single blog at Psychology Today.]

Macy’s Demure New Look on ‘Project Runway’

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Macy's, the "Project Runway" season three retail sponsor, will return to the series as its integrated "accessories wall" sponsor but to a lesser extent than what the nation's second-biggest retailer had initially planned.

Real Innovation for Verizon’s TV Widgets Will Be in Your Hand(set)

Verizon announced today that it will be opening up its FiOS “Widget Bazaar” to third-party developers as the company hopes to spur innovation around the way we consume television (and sell a few TV apps along the way). If Verizon can keep its head in the game, it actually does have all the pieces in place to be a leader in the space.
In announcing the openness of the Widget Bazaar platform, Shaygan Kheradpir, Verizon’s chief information officer said “Developers should start thinking now about applications that are appropriate for the ‘big screen,’ not the pocket-sized screens they’ve been writing for so far. We’ll be looking for tools that engage TV viewers and enrich or enhance the ‘living-room’ experience in new ways.”

I think a more strategic statement would have been to say that developers should start thinking about applications that are appropriate for the big and the pocket-sized screens. TV widgets are transforming right before our eyes. Where they used to be about checking the weather and stocks, now they are about interacting with friends via Twitter, or sharing photos via Facebook (among other possibilities). As our televisions access more content and we are able to do more and we interact with that content on-screen, we will need input devices that are flexible and make sense to us. Forget the 53 button remote control — just use your phone.

Because Verizon has a TV, broadband and a wireless platform, smart developers could whip up apps that cross all three, providing users with greater control of their television, a way to search and enter text through a keypad, or a way to take their TV content with them on the go.

This type of cross-platform app is something that Verizon is already thinking about. I spoke with Ruchir Rodrigues, vice president, product platforms at Verizon, who provided a couple examples. Instead of futzing with an on-screen keyboard, you could use your phone to Tweet and then read the responses on the TV screen, he said. Or, using location-based services like Chaperone, a parent could, while watching television, bring up an app to see where their kids are at that moment.

Getting this kind of app singularity would, of course, rely on all the parts of Verizon not being siloed apart from each other. Something Rodrigues didn’t seem worried about “We’re a pretty close-knit company,” he said. But then there’s the issue of exactly how open Verizon will be with its Widget Bazaar platform — the company has had an issue with openness on its wireless side before.

Verizon isn’t the only one with consumer touchpoints across video, broadband and wireless. AT&T has similar opportunities in front of it with its wireless offering (complete with iPhone!) and U-verse. And on the pure TV widget front, Verizon faces competition from Yahoo’s TV widget platform.

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