DigitalScirocco Inks Deal with US Presswire, Plans Expansion into Tech Content Space

9/7/10

Bruce D’Ambrosio wants to make online content sharing easy. Eager to bridge the gap between content owners, and publishers, the 63-year-old serial entrepreneur and computer science professor at Oregon State University founded DigitalScirocco in 2009, and rolled the startup out of stealth mode in March. Since then D’Ambrosio, who serves as the company’s CEO, says the venture has only been growing. Fast.

The Seattle-based startup jumped into the digital content marketplace, positioning itself as a middleman between website owners, and media organizations. The idea is to make mainstream content published online more readily—and affordably—available for website owners, bloggers, and publishers who would like to repost the content on a secondary site. For example, if a local chef wants to publish a related article or photo from, say, The New York Times food section, on their blog or website, they would have to first contact either the Times, or a third-party media organization like the Associated Press or Getty Images, to negotiate a deal and buy the rights to republish the content.

This can be not only a long and difficult process, but an expensive one as well. That’s where DigitalScirocco comes in, providing an automated marketplace for website owners and content owners to connect. Using an online auction platform, websites can search for and purchase rights to content they want, at cheaper prices, while DigitalScirocco earns a cut of the sale for facilitating the transaction.

After being online for a few months under stealthy cover, DigitalScirocco tipped its hand, making its services publicly available five months ago. At the time “We were then in the ‘I know there is a market somewhere’ mode, and, I have to admit, a bit stuck looking under the streetlight,” D’Ambrosio told Xconomy via e-mail. But after carving out their first three partnerships—with global news organization Thomson Reuters, San Francisco-based technology and business news site VentureBeat, and city-specific entertainment information site BeDynamic, DigitalScirocco found new areas for expansion.

“We’ve now found several markets we can reach at a viable cost of sales and are ramping up sales efforts,” D’Ambrosio says.

And as of today, the growing company has teamed up with Atlanta, GA-based sports newswire service US Presswire, to build a sports photo news service targeted at small-market news organizations, bloggers, and personal websites. Through the service, DigitalScirocco and US Presswire will be able to automate and track delivery of recent and historical photos and edited captions to purchasing websites that have limited or no in-house editing resources. Conversely, these sites will have access to all of US Presswire’s new and archived photos almost immediately, with no first-use wait times that many media organizations employ.

“We are building an end-to-end workflow such that images can appear on our client websites within minutes after photographer submission of the image from the venue,” D’Ambrosio says.

The service was scheduled to go live on September 1, but has seen some last minute delays. It will allow website owners to select photo feeds to match individualized topics based on a variety … Next Page »

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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