Evri Teams Up with The Times of London, Helps Online Audience Browse the Web Better

3/18/09Follow @gthuang

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a couple of startup lessons so far. “Cracking the search and SEO [search engine optimization] jujube is even more difficult than I thought,” he says, referring to efforts to get Evri’s pages indexed by search engines like Yahoo and Google. “SEO experts have different answers, but it’s all tea-leaf reading.” Roseman says he also should have planned for deals with media companies to take a long time. “I’m reminded that the sales cycle with larger media companies takes a lot longer than expected,” he says. That’s in part because there has been a lot of turnover at news sites lately. “People are willing to try things, but when the players change, you start discussions over again.”

As for the effects of the economic climate (including the turmoil in the newspaper industry) on Evri’s strategy, Roseman says, “One good thing about being a very early-stage company is that when your revenue is zero, you can’t be hurt that much. We’re still on a two-year horizon [for revenues].” He adds that Evri is starting to see good traction and is understanding better who its users are. More broadly, he sees a “world where journalism is more important than newspapers themselves.”

For the near-term future, Roseman points to areas of “overlap between social media, deeper understanding of websites, and smarter content” as being important to exploit. We didn’t get a chance to explore this in more depth yet, but I took this to mean helping people navigate and annotate content on social networks, and connecting that information to the rest of the Web—while also bringing more value to existing news sites through links to related content.

It’s still a little too early to talk about Evri’s prospects for success in a field that includes companies like Sheffield, UK-based Ensembli, Mountain View, CA-based Kosmix, and San Francisco-based Twine (Radar Networks), which is also backed by Vulcan. Roseman says his company’s business model includes advertising, affiliate sites, and eventually licensing direct revenues from companies who use Evri’s software. But for now, he reiterates, “It’s all about building the audience.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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