JiWire Launches

I’m sure this will be mentioned in various places, thanks to Glenn Fleischman’s involvement as editor-in-chief, but a new WiFi/broadband wireless directory and news site is launching today called JiWire. While there are a ton of news sites and directories out there (and people send me more every day, it seems), this one looks to be aiming big. While they don’t say it out loud (at least they didn’t in the “wireless blogger conference call” Glenn arranged this morning), they’re trying to create a “CNET for wireless”. Most of the management team comes from CNET, and they hinted strongly at future deals with content providers – and you can bet that one of them will be CNET. Basic thoughts: it looks like they’ve really put a lot of thought into making an offering the people can really use, and which will will include a lot of really useful information. They’re trying to “verify” every hotspot they list in their directory and include pertinent information (are there power outlets nearby?). Already, the directory looks better than most of the other ones I’ve tried. There will also be additional content and product reviews. Glenn’s involvement shows that the people involved are really interested in the “love of WiFi” and not necessarily just cashing in on a trend – so I imagine the site should remain relevant and useful. It will be interesting, however, to see how large it can grow. It is focused on a pretty specific niche to build a publication around – and while they spoke of business models of advertising, “preferred listings”, premium content and partnerships – it’s still limited by the overall market. Kevin McKenzie, the company’s CEO, helped build CNET’s Shopper.com into a success by focusing on building strong merchant relationships – but across a wide variety of product lines. Whether or not the various revenue lines talked about here can create equally as big a business remains to be seen. It’s a good start and looks like a great site. Glenn’s involvement is great and will certainly help. Whether or not the business model can survive, though, is the big question. My guess is that they may end up getting bought out at some point – possibly taking them all back to CNET.

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