Asahi Newspaper, the Internet portal company EC Navi[J] and major publishers like Kodansha and Shogakukan jointly launched Thursday an online encyclopedia containing 430,000 words, which is called “Kotobank[J]“. The service is provided for free, and the joint venture expects to earn USD1M in FY2009 from Overture[J] ads appeared on the result pages of Kotobank.
The revenues from ad sales are shared among the publishers which show appropriate results in response to a user’s request. The venture expects another publishers and contents holders to join the team in the future, and to increase its content volume up to 200M words in three years.
The participating publishers used to sell their paper-printed news encyclopedia products at bookstores, and annual sales volumes for all such products accounted for 3.5M copies at its peak. But recently most publishers were forced to stop publishing due to declining in its sales.
Asahi’s project manager said confidently, on behalf of the entire venture, the new site would be more reliable since its contents were written by intellectuals and experts from various industries and academic societies, in contrast to UGC-based websites such as Wikipedia and popular search engines.
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