Auto(matic) News with TriggerWidgets

Apr 18, 2008

Imagine receiving only the news and information you want, precisely as it happens. On Tuesday, Automotive News and News Technologies, LLC partnered to launch the TriggerWidget, a webpage-hosted widget designed to help users personalize the content that they receive. The widget, first launched on Automotive News's website, intends to eventually make its way onto websites all across the internet.

News Technologies is a privately held company that specializes in providing instant real-time business and world news desktop alerts through, its own subscription news service that delivers real-time news to its users based on user-defined "Triggers." Triggers are personal entries, chosen by the user, of keywords or phrases to search for in the body of an article so that content is tailored specifically to each user. The company's newest offering, the TriggerWidget, was launched on Automotive News's website as a means of providing those site visitors a new way to quickly receive content that they deem most relevant.

The TriggerWidget, enabled through a rich set of APIs, is featured within the new "MyAutoNews" section of Automotive News's website, and works by allowing users to denote Categories and/or Triggers that pertain to the content that they want to see most. Automotive News's desktop alerts—also powered by News Technologies—work in conjunction with the new TriggerWidgets to bring its site visitors relevant news content directly to the user's desktop. Each user can select up to 20 personalized Triggers. Says John Fitzgerald, director of business planning and online commerce for the Automotive News Group, "We wanted to create personalized functionality on our website, and we saw the TriggerWidget as a great opportunity to do that. Further, our desktop alerts and the new TriggerWidgets use the same publisher interface, so they complement each other."

The benefits of personalizing content are plentiful, notes Steve Burrows, president of News Technologies. "It's a tool that can be used for a competitive advantage," Burrows says. "If a user works for Ford, they can Trigger companies like GM or Honda, so that they will know at the exact moment a competitor comes out with a brand new car. Further, if the CEO of GM resigns, and a user has that person's name as one of their Triggers, the user will hear about the CEO's resignation right away."

In fact, the timeliness component that TriggerWidgets promise is applicable across a wide range of avenues, most notably the classified ad arena. Says Burrows, "With the personalized alerting that TriggerWidgets provide, we can really help our customers better compete against classified ads. If I am looking for a 2004 Mustang, I can make that my Trigger on, and when a match is made in the classified ads database, I will be alerted to an available Mustang right away." TriggerWidgets also support any type of rich media content, so a photograph of the Mustang for sale can also be included in the alert. Adds Fitzgerald, "When the match is made, you are instantly being alerted to it. TriggerWidgets can really help you beat other people to the punch."

TriggerWidgets not only deliver highly personalized content based on the user's needs, but they are also fully customizable based on a publisher's interface. The widgets can be sized, formatted, and displayed to match a website's existing interface. Furthermore, a user can choose exactly how they want their content delivered—a user can subscribe to a digest email in which the personalized content is gathered and sent once per day, or a user can opt to have individual articles emailed to them at the exact time the relevant news occurs.

When time is of the essence, TriggerWidgets have the answer. Says Burrows, "You don't have to look for the news, the news comes to you."