Dear New York TImes – You asked, I answered

I recently followed Google News to the New York Times to read an article on the Arafat poisoning probe. The NYT presented an easy to read and thoughtful article. Before I left the site, I was asked to take a survey. They asked the typical questions about my preferences for the NYT and the emerging digital media market. As I don’t get Newspapers, it is good to see them taking digital media seriously.

They asked me for ideas that would meet my needs, so I am providing a reply:

For the past year Google has been telling me that iGoogle was being discontinued. Until they pulled the plug, I would see iGoogle everytime I opened my browser. I started my morning on iGoogle and returned several times a day. I could follow my stocks, read the funnies, get a good glimpse of the news summaries, and see the days weather.

During the past year, I subscribed to Google forums to discuss my options for when iGoogle was cancelled. Nothing appeared. Oh there were the emerging start ups that gave me iGoogle like functionality, but they were small companies with limited assets. In the end, I just dropped the whole thing and went cold turkey.

I don’t know why none of the news agencies or newspapers picked up on this opportunity. Imagine having users come to your site several times a day. I would view iGoogle at least five times and often 20 or more times during my workday. It’s a shame to let this business opportunity fly by.

What do I want? I way to tailor my news and information into a form that best suits me. In exchange, the news company gets my undivided attention. It would be even better if the news company also gave me access to news stories from competing vendors, but that is not a key requirement.

This is just a thought. If I were working for the NYT, I would be focusing on meeting this kind of need.