We have just put online a news archive of the top news headlines and press releases selected by Loosely Coupled's editors throughout the year. This is the most complete archive of web services, SOA and BPM news material available on the Web. Organized a month-to-a-page, it presents each week's top news stories, a reminder of any weblog entries or feature articles we published that week, and a full list of the press releases added to our newsfeed during the week.
The archive brings together information from three separate data sources and also exposes them to our site-wide search engine, which means that a keyword search for a vendor's name will bring up any mentions in news headlines or press release titles during the year very useful for those occasions when you remember that a vendor made an announcement, but can't recall the precise details. This only went live yesterday and I've already used it more than once track down stories that I recalled but couldn't locate elsewhere.
All this information was already available on the Loosely Coupled website, but like most useful information, it was tucked away in hard-to-get-to and little-used nooks and crannies. Surfacing it in a more accessible format has been a long-term ambition, but like many worthy projects, it always got pushed off the end of the to-do list, despite my growing frustration at not being able to realize all of the cumulative value hidden away in this constantly-expanding mound of information buried within the entrails of the site.
What finally spurred the project into action was a sponsorship deal with web services-based business dashboard vendor CXO Systems. I'm particularly pleased that this is sponsorship in the true sense of the word rather than a euphemism for advertising. The news archive simply wouldn't have happened without CXO Systems stepping in to fund it. Yet at the same time there's no compromise of Loosely Coupled's editorial independence, because CXO Systems is sponsoring the functionality, not the content.
I've decided to adopt this model for further sponsorship arrangements. There's a long list of enhancements that we would like to make to the Loosely Coupled site, ranging from overhauling our RSS feeds and comments forum to launching an online supplier directory, rolling out a long-planned new look and deploying via a content delivery network. There are probably other things our readers would like us to do that we haven't thought of. Having a sponsor step forward to help fund these functional enhancements gives us a means of prioritizing projects at the same time as investing in developing the site. For sponsors, it generates good karma and useful publicity.
To get details of our charter packages for advertising and sponsorship, fill in the mailback registration box on our ads page. These are just a starting point for discussion if you want more of a custom arrangement. The email you'll receive includes further contact details.
Out of interest, I had a look through our traffic logs to see which news stories were the most popular links that visitors followed over the past year. Unsurprisingly, they were all links that were mentioned in a weblog posting (and therefore the interest may have been influenced by the spin I put on the story when linking to it) but it's interesting to see the eclectic mix that most aroused our readers' curiosity. The following list of the top 5 unfortunately omits two eWeek stories, whose URLs now resolve to the site's home page. I do wish people publishing on the web would respect the longevity of URLs. It's not that difficult to redirect them when doing a site redesign. Perhaps these URLs related to earlier stories or other items and would not be part of the top 5 list here. Whatever the case, the value they once had has now gone. Here then are the 5 most popular news stories visited in 2004 by readers from Loosely Coupled: