Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WindingRoad and Olive Software

A few months ago I read up on Olive Software, a company whose application converts physical documents into standard XML. The end product is preserved in the original format of the document (i.e. the look and feel is that of an offline publication), while making all the content within said document structured and, therefore, searchable. It's was a cool piece of technology but I felt it was fairly esoteric and outside of my scope of interest.

Recently, some very well known editors/journalists in the automotive space have come together and formed Winding Road magazine. They have an interesting business model whereby they give away subscriptions to their pub for free. The content is very high-end (given the founding team's journalistic experience) which should drive enthusiast and consumer interest. What's interesting about this formerly 'traditional' format is that they've licensed Olive's software and embedded advertisements into an online and downloadable publication which has all all the benefits of being built in an XML standard. Much like reading a physical pub, Winding Road's download is picture, content and format rich, making it an engaging read (as opposed to published content on basic HTML pages which lacks a lot of polish). Previous issues can be read in this downloadable form, but are also captured in open HTML pages thereby capturing natural search benefits lost in the download format.

Even more interesting is that because the download/online publication is in XML format, almost all the terms are linkable, including the advertisements. If you're interested in the content of a particular ad, Winding Road will redirect your click to the advertiser's site. I assume Winding Road is then able to exactly measure the true effectiveness of ad spend on their pub. Take away the costs of offline production and distribution and Winding Road has taken a real interesting angle on what the future of magazine publishing should be...

XML/Web services are usually focused on data integration. Olive Software, via Winding Road, has made XML material as a media and advertising tool as well.


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