Infonautics adds to research site

Research site The Company Sleuth adds more information -- but will advertisers sign up?

Infonautics Inc. has updated its Company Sleuth online research service and has signed distribution deals with more than a dozen Web sites.

The Company Sleuth site allows users to track up to ten companies. The service will search for data ranging from patent, trademark and domain registrations to postings on stock bulletin boards. Monday, Infonautics announced it was adding federal litigation, analyst and broker summaries, data on earnings, and new message boards content.

Users can monitor the data on the Web, or receive e-mail messages alerting them to new additions.

"We're finding there's so much information on the Web that the challenge isn't finding the information, it's having the information find you," said executive vice president Joshua Kopelman.

Infonautics currently offers the site for free, and does not run advertising. But the company plans to launch advertising and new fee-based service later this quarter. It announced today that it has signed marketing and distribution deals with companies including Ask Jeeves, Alexa Internet and Morningstar.

The fee-based services could include access to Infonautics' Electric Library service, which contains the full text of over 2000 magazines and journals, Kopelman said.

Analyst Peter Krasilovsky of the Kelsey Group said the product should appeal to investors -- and perhaps ad buyers.

"It is fairly unique in the way that it has been positioned, and is a nice spin-off of the search engine for elibrary.com. Subsequently, it is a good candidate for ad support, but it remains unclear whether people will attach a premium value to it."