Techdirt Insight Community -Gerson Lehrman for the information age?

Mike Masnick of Techdirt has launched a new service called the "Techdirt Insight Community."  Mike is an active blogger but also has run a corporate intelligence service for awhile mining the web for customized news and insight tailored for your company (think competitive analysis, updates, reviews on your products, etc. – check out Jeff Nolan’s guest post on Venturebeat for more).  As I have always thought, there is a ton of information on the web and interesting models can revolve around not only information arbitrage but also labor arbitrage.  On the information arbitrage side, one company that has always intrigued me is Monitor 110, founded by long-time New York entrepreneur Jeff Stewart and run by Wall Street veteran Roger Ehrenberg.  Their thesis is that there is a ton of information on the web and if properly screened for credibitlity and delivered in real time in a way that investment professionals can use (think bloomberg like screens), then you could help investors generate better returns.  What Techdirt Insight Community reminds me of is Gerson Lehrman for the information age.  For those of you not in New York or familiar with the hedge fund industry, Gehrson Lehrman has come out of nowhere over the last 5 years to build a huge business and becoming a "must-have" for all hedge funds.  As you know, looking at leading indicators can be quite important to help make profitable investment decisions.  What Gerson Lehrman did was assemble a community of experts that hedge fund professionals could call to discuss industry outlooks, etc.  Gerson would get paid by the hedge fund and pay the professional, keeping a nice profit for itself.  It has built quite a network – 600 clients asking 11k questions per month with 150k experts on tap.  It seems like Mike is taking a page out of the Gerson book and applying it to the web, leveraging the experts out there (bloggers) and matching them up with companies that want specific insight on products, etc.  I think it is a brilliant move and another great way that bloggers can monetize their passion.

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