RealTime IT News

digitalisrael Latest Entry To Israeli Tech, Business Scene

[JANUARY 24] JERUSALEM - digitalisrael is the latest entry into the crowded field of news websites focusing on coverage of Israel's business and high-technology scene. The site, a spinoff of parent company Jerusalem Post and the www.jpost.com Web site, officially launched recently after a month of beta testing.

It has a mandate to become the premier English-language Web site focusing on Israeli technology and business news for a primarily North American market of businesspeople and investors. (

Full disclosure here: not only is israel.internet.com something of a competitor of digitalisrael, we have a content sharing agreement. digitalisrael takes content from us for publication on its site.)

Does the world need another Web site focusing on Israeli business and technology?

Competition includes the English and Hebrew-language Web sites of Globes, Israel's daily business newspaper and The Marker, a business and investment website in Hebrew and English affiliated with both The Street and Post arch-rival Ha'aretz, a major Hebrew-language Israeli newspaper that in the last few years started an English edition to compete with the daily Post.

Hebrew-only Web sites covering Israeli business and technology include analystonline.co.il, the business sections of Israel's three daily newspapers and e-net, website of Israel's People and Computers magazine group, which publishes Hebrew-language versions of "InformationWeek," "Business 2.0" and others.

digitalisrael CEO Eli Groner, a former business writer for the Jerusalem Post, has an answer to the question, of course.

"JPost.com is far-and-away the most visited Web site in Israel," he said. The Post was claiming more than 30 million page views a month recently in the wake of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

"We did research into our readership, and there was a demand for more financial and high-tech news from Israel than we had anticipated," he said.

If that was the case, why didn't the i>The Post just beef up its online business news section?

"We're linked very strongly to i>The Post . We have the look and feel of i>The Post ," he said. However, he added, that Post parent company Hollinger Inc is attempting to build up a presence of sites preceded by the word digital.

Groner would not disclose the exact amount of money being spent on the site but described the investment as "substantial." He said more than 20 Pos staffers spend all or part of their time on the site.

In contrast, The Marker has a staff of about 100 working on its Hebrew and English sites. It has very little overlap with Ha'aretz.

Groner would not comment directly on The Marker but raised an eyebrow and said he questioned business plans that called for such large staffs.

The digitalisrael business plan calls for the site to be profitable within six months, Groner said.

The Web site is also planning to start publication of a magazine with the digitalisrael brand name within a month. The magazine will have an initial controlled circulation of 9,000 high net-worth individuals in the U.S., with an additional 2,000 distributed around Israel.

The Marker recently started its own Hebrew-language business monthly magazine.