Alacra Store launches RSS alerts

Alacra have always been keen to try out and use the newer technologies – they already have a blog and a wiki – and now Alacra Store is offering free RSS feeds on all of its Company Snapshots. Anyone can subscribe to company-specific RSS feeds containing credit and investment research from premium content publishers such as CreditSights, Moody’s Investors Service, and Thomson Financial. You simply search by company, click on the RSS button on the Company Snapshot page, and add the URL to your feed reader. The alerts are free but you will have to pay to view the full documents. Alacra Store works on a pay per view basis so you don’t have to worry about hefty up front subscriptions – just get your credit card out.

In addition to the company-specific feeds, there are several publisher-specific feeds that enable you to track all of the latest content from a given provider:

CreditSights –
Fitch Ratings –
Moody’s Investors Service –
Newstex –
TF Investext –
Thomson StreetEvents –

Even better would be the ability to have RSS feeds that monitor a company name within a provider, for example Lukoil in Newstex, but this is a good start. I wish more premium information providers offered RSS alerts.

Reed Business + FAST =

Reed Business and search company FAST Search & Transfer have launched a business-to business (B2B) search tool called Zibb., currently in beta, unifies over 900 of Reed Business titles into a single vertical portal. It will also crawl the indexes of other publisher’s content. There are tabs for searching by News, Products, Suppliers, Webs and Blogs, and All (the default).

Why use this rather than Google? If you are looking for companies and products, and especially smaller companies, you often end up with a large amount of dross even with Google. Try searching for companies such as Next or Smarty in a standard search engine! Zibb narrows down the field considerably. Once you have found the company you are interested in there is a form that you can fill in to request a quote or send an email.

It is still a beta product and is not perfect, but they welcome feedback and quickly corrected some out of date information that I found. I would not use if I were looking for a comprehensive list of product suppliers or manufacturers. For that I would go straight to a directory such as Kelly’s or Kompass. Definitely worth a try and one to watch.

The Internet Detective is back

The Internet Detective is back on the case after a year’s vacation. Internet Detective was originally developed in 1998 with funding from the European Union but was withdrawn in 2005. The free online tutorial is designed to help students develop the critical thinking required for their Internet research and is now in the Intute (formerly the RDN) Virtual Training Suite at

Although aimed at students the tutorial is of value to anyone who uses the Internet for research. It highlights why information quality is an issue on the Internet, offers hints and tips on evaluating information, and how to recognise scams and hoaxes. The tutorial and associated exercises take about an hour to complete, although I would expect experienced researchers to be able to do it in less than that and get all the answers right! You can skip sections if you wish and you do not have to complete it in one sitting.

If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to all of us on how to differentiate between the the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on the Net.

Russia: All Regions Trade & Investment Guide 2006

The 2006 edition of the Russia: All Regions Trade and Investment Guide is now avilable. The guide covers all 89 regions giving data on markets, current economic conditions, sources of supply, infrastructure, trade opportunities, operating conditions, investment projects, and the legal and tax environment. Data is provided directly by the local administrations and governments, and reviewed and verified through government agencies. I have found this guide to be an invaluable starting point in the past when researching the trading environment in the region.

Prices range from £395 to £595 depending on whether you order the book and/or the CD ROM and whether you want them in English or Russian, or both. There is a 25% discount if you order before Friday 7th July.

Further information and order forms can be found at

Compare airport parking prices

Set up and maintained by Fubra who run and, Aiport Parking Shop compares prices across 6 of the biggest UK parking brokers for 24 UK airports. Select the airport from which you wish to fly, enter you departure and return date, and the number of passengers. It then comes up with a list of possibilities.

As I always use public transport to get to UK airports I was astounded at the variety and range of options and prices. At the upper end of the market you can treat yourself to a meet and greet deal where you drive straight up to departures, leave your car with a valet who will park it for you, and then have it waiting outside arrivals on your return.

For each entry in the results you can see if the service is on/off airport parking or meet and greet, transfer time to the terminal, frequency of transfers, any awards that the service has won, and more detailed information in an aiport car park guide. It also tells you whether or not there is a charge for credit card processing. If you decide to prebook – and apparently you can save up to half the cost by doing so – links take you direct to the car parking service web site.

On every page there are also links to the Car Hire Centre, another Fubra run site, that compares the prices of a range of car hire brokers; coverage is worldwide. Choose the airport or city where you want to pick up the car, enter the dates and you are then presented with a list sorted by price. Cheapest first of course!

Blogs and Social Media Forum Podcasts

If you don’t manage to get to the Blogs and Social Media Forum in May, VNU are now offering podcasts of the individual forum sessions for £25 + VAT each, or all 8 sessions for £150 +VAT.

The speakers included Euan Semple – ex Head of Knowledge Management, BBC; Christopher Barger – Blogger in Chief, IBM and JP Rangaswami – Global CIO, Dresdner Kleinwort Wassertein. Brief details of the forum sessions and further information are available on the VNU web site

To purchase a Podcast please contact Belinda Sprules on telephone number +44 (0)20 7316 9126, or by email