Yahoo Tests Subscription Site Search

Yahoo has begun testing a new Web search designed to scour password-protected subscription sites normally inaccessible to Web crawlers. The beta service, called Yahoo! Search Subscriptions, connects users with multiple paid content sources, which often have measly search capabilities compared to giants like Yahoo.

Users already subscribed to a source can simply click through to results, while others will be prompted with the option to subscribe for access to content. Many of the current publishers offer flat monthly subscription fees, although individual a la carte articles will be offered by LexisNexis in the near future.

Initial publications listed include Consumer Reports, Forrester Research, FT.com, IEEE, the New England Journal of Medicine, TheStreet.com and the Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo says it does not have revenue sharing agreements with the subscription providers, focusing instead on simply offering the added service to its users. In exchange, the sources get their content in front of more eyeballs, which could drive up subscription numbers.

Yahoo and its rivals such as Google, MSN and AOL have recently endeavored to draw more visitors by moving their search offerings beyond standard Web sites. Recent additions to each company's engine have expanded searches to content such as books, images, video, and even blogs.

Publishers can apply to be listed in the subscription search by contacting Yahoo.

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