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Online publishers sign on to market research service

Several major online publishers tomorrow are expected to adopt a service that will give their readers a new tool for conducting market research on a range of industry topics.

Several major online publishers have adopted a service that gives their readers a new tool for conducting market research on a range of industry topics.

Net publishers including WSJ.com, Hoover's Online, Inc.com, Office.com, Internet.com and Microsoft bCentral are among those expected to sign on tomorrow with market research firm InsightExpress.com, which hopes to bring market research into the mainstream by automating the process online.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Through these sites, executives will be able to use the InsightExpress service to find industry information such as the size of their market or whether a particular package design works with their customers.

"(This) tool provides a speedy, less costly alternative for organizations that want to be secure in their marketing strategies but have limited resources or limited time," said Jeff Cutler, chief operating officer at Office.com.

To simplify the market research process, the company, based in Greenwich, Conn., uses surveys over the Internet and automates questionnaires, analysis and data delivery through the Web.

"In just a few short years, market research will become as common as the spreadsheet in making everyday business decisions," said J.B. Wood, executive vice president at InsightExpress, a 6-month-old company.

InsightExpress investors include NFO Worldwide, General Atlantic Partners and Engage Technologies.