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Yahoo Mines The "Deep Web"

Yahoo announced it has started testing a service that allows users to search subscriber-only Web sites such as LexisNexis and the Wall Street Journal Online, areas known as "Deep Web."

The new search service, Yahoo Search Subscriptions, moves the Internet media company closer to rival Google as a distributor and aggregator of paid-for content, allowing people to search for information on sites that search engines typically cannot access.

"We are in the very early stages of providing our users with access to the deep Web through Yahoo Search Subscriptions, and over the coming months we plan to expand this program to further accommodate our users' wide range of interests," Eckart Walther, vice president of product management for Yahoo Search, said in a statement. "For the first time, publishers can bring content to their subscribers on a broad scale through a leading search engine."

The service, initially available only in the United States and the United Kingdom, will attempt to build loyalty by letting people customize search to meet specific needs, the company said.

The strategy is also used by Google , Microsoft's MSN and others.

This latest gambit in the evolving search battle will allow users to look at content from sites that are normally restricted to paying subscribers. Organizations, such as ConsumerReports.org, The Wall Street Journal Online, TheStreet.com and The New England Journal of Medicine, are already in line to have content aggregated.

Users can see content from the sites they subscribe to, while non- subscribers have the option of paying to see it.

The company also believes Yahoo Search Subscriptions will increase the value of publishers' subscription programs by making their content more readily searchable by the Yahoo audience. The service can operate a new content distribution channel, of sorts, that can help publishers achieve business objectives.

The company said content will be added in the coming weeks from Factiva, LexisNexis AlaCarte, Thomson Gale and other services.

"Yahoo Search Subscriptions benefits our online subscribers by providing a direct channel to our world leading business, financial, geopolitical news and analysis content through a world-renowned search engine," said Alex Withers, director of FT.com Americas. "Partnering with Yahoo makes perfect sense for publishers looking to provide users with a more well-rounded search experience."