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Online content sales get boost

New Open Market software combines e-commerce with online publishing, thanks to technology from its Folio acquisition.

Online publishers will get a charge next week when Open Market (OMKT) announces new Internet software that melds online publishing and e-commerce.

Code-named "Summit," the new software integrates siteDirector from Folio with Open Market's SecureLink e-commerce middleware and will connect Web sites with the Open Market Transact e-commerce engine. Open Market acquired Folio in February; additional offerings that combine Open Market and Folio technology are expected.

The new software, which will be named before it is unveiled next week at Folio's user/reseller conference, is targeted at publishers in professional markets such as law, accounting, insurance, and health care, where Folio has sizable market shares.

"Most information published electronically in these markets is published in our 'infobase' format," said Jay Fiore, director of marketing for the Folio division, which includes 75 of the top 80 legal publishers.

Folio's publishing software already converts files used in CD-ROM publishing into HTML for posting on Web sites; Summit will bind the publishing function with Open Market's transaction software.

"The production systems of publishers are well established, and they don't have to alter anything for the Internet," Fiore added. "They don't intend to shut down their CD-ROM products at all, which they see as long-term viable."

Summit is designed to let commercial publishers sell subscription content on the Internet and for customers who buy information published on the Web, software developers who work with publishers, and ISPs who can add commercial publishing services to their e-commerce offerings.

Open Market expects to add "pay-per-view" capabilities to future releases. Pay-per-view lets publishers sell by the paragraph, page, or document; the approach is designed for high-value reports and archival data.

In the future, it will also enable "superdistribution," allowing publishers to get paid for information if subscribers or other authorized users pass the data along to another person.

Summit will let publishers easily combine information from disparate sources within a single, secure repository, then automatically publish and sell it on the Web. Folio technology can manage, index, search, and distribute multiple gigabytes of information in different formats, allowing users with Web browsers to search huge stores of information and buy what's needed.

"We are now able to transform various trade and compliance databases into revenue-producing information systems," Browning Rockwell, president of Trade Compass, which publishes on the Net with Folio's software, said in a statement.