WSJ Online Tries AIM

More than half the online population of the United States is hooked on instant messaging applications, so it's no wonder major online publishers are beginning to see the potential of the medium as both a content distributor and an advertising vehicle. The Wall Street Journal Online, for one, is trying something new this week.

The publisher will make news summaries and stock quotes available to users of America Online's Instant Messenger services, including members of AOL, AOL Instant Messenger service and Enterprise AIM services. The new offering, which was scheduled to debut yesterday, extends the Journal's reach into the fast-growing medium of instant messaging.

By sending an instant message to screen name "WSJOnline," those using the AOL and AIM services will have access to continually updated summaries of top business and technology news, as well as the latest company headlines and stock quotes. AOL members and AIM service users who are subscribers to the Online Journal will be able to link from the news summaries to full stories on the website, as well as drill down to access the Online Journal's detailed company financial information. America Online instant messaging users can add the "WSJOnline" screen name to their AOL Buddy List® for quick and easy access to Online Journal information. Businesses using America Online's Enterprise AIM Services will have access to the feature as well.

"This new service will benefit our subscribers by extending their access to Journal news and information into an emerging medium many of them are using daily," said Todd Larsen, president of Dow Jones Consumer Electronic Publishing. "We also hope to attract new subscribers by giving IM users an introduction to Journal content and driving them back to our paid website for full articles and in-depth coverage."

Recent studies have shown that about one-quarter of U.S. employees with access to the Internet use instant messaging at work, and research on Journal readers showed a high level of interest in receiving news through the medium. "The explosion of instant messaging in the enterprise, combined with the instantaneous nature of the medium, makes IM a natural platform for delivery of The Wall Street Journal's news," Larsen said.

Ailiant LLC's InfiniteAgent software will enable the system.

The first advertiser supporting the feature is IBM, which is running a text ad that reads "Advertisement: Not everyone sees it, but something is happening. A fundamental shift in how the best-run companies operate. This is on demand business. Get there now with IBM e-business on demand."

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