AOL snapped up the Relegence Corporation, a financial news and information search company.
The acquisition, whose price was not released, helps to define what’s increasingly called a new attention-based economy. The conventional wisdom of this model rewards companies such as Relegence for helping users decide what to pay attention to in an exploding universe of digital media content.
With Relegence, AOL gets a company that sells subscription-based services that offer real-time discovery, notification and delivery of information to connecting customers with cross-media content as it is generated from anywhere across the globe.
Relegence simultaneously monitors, indexes, and filters more than 20,000 unique, global sources of live content streams.
The streams include local and international newswires, print media, television and cable networks, regulatory feeds, corporate and information web sites, internet bulletin boards.
AOL said Relegence’s proprietary technology then delivers to a user’s desktop only the information relevant to his or her individual search criteria.
In an age of constant content production from countless media sources, that’s a pretty handy trick. And it’s one AOL was willing to pay to learn.
AOL said the acquisition will help it better serve public and enterprise users with a comprehensive and timely content experience.
But AOL isn’t the only company to bet that users will sees value in being served only the most relevant content.
In fact, AOL is only one player in a growing attention-based economy, where a constant stream of content has led to demand for the kind of parsing companies such as Relegence supply.
Last summer, The New York Times began experimenting with a product called My Times for its NYTimes.com property. The product’s main features are syndication feeds it opens to subscribers, which are stuffed with content selected by New York Times editors and writers.
The division of worthwhile and best-ignored on the Web is also the main service proved by sites such as Digg.com, del.icio.us, and even AOL’s revamped Netscape.com.
For now, AOL said that Relegence will act as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will continue to partner with financial services firms. The new property and its 60 employees will continue to be headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Tel Aviv.