A Bit of Paid Stuff, For Free

It’s frustrating to search for stuff when what you really want is from publications you don’t subscribe to. Tomorrow, a new service will announce they’re “making premium, restricted and/or subscription-only Web content available to anyone, free of charge.”

The service, called Congoo, has signed up dozens of publishers who’ll offer some of their paid content for free. Users get the chance to see a limited amount of subscription material without paying. The providers get the chance to try to sell the users on subscribing to their whole shebang, as well as marketing info on usage that Congoo provides them. The company, based in Branchburg, NJ, says it has a range of publishers, including finance — FT.com, TheStreet.com — and media trade journals from VNU: Adweek, Brandweek.com, Billboard.com, Editor & Publisher, The Hollywood Reporter and Mediaweek.com.

Yahoo tried something like this with their subscription search, but that’s for people who have subscriptions to the publications, also including as FT.com, and WSJ.com.

Congoo users will have to download a toolbar. They say it works on Firefox, but we tried today and only got it to work completely on Internet Explorer. How much stuff you can see each month from each publisher depends on the publisher. One might allow 10 articles, while another allows six, and another 15. So, it’s not a completely free lunch. But, if the technology works — and Congoo is very proud of their patent — it’s access to “information that typically costs hundreds of dollars per month,” says head honcho and former health publisher Ash Nashed. Whom we guess lives somewhere around Branchburg.