as one of the first online-only publications, I’m always interested in what Electronicstalk does to develop the site. Although the site remains important, I’ve been pretty critical of some decisions – particularly charges for inclusion of images with stories.

The site promises that for companies that advertise or take the leads service, the ability to request a sales call, send an email, download a technical specification, brochure or any other relevant literature, as well as being able to click through directly to the company website will be added to their pages on Electronicstalk. I’m really not sure that this is a good idea: surely a company’s own website should be the destination for most of this material? If customers were genuinely interested, wouldn’t they be keen to go to the company’s website, rather than access a subset of material on Electronicstalk?

Don’t get me wrong – I still think Electronicstalk does a good job. In fact I’d predict that other websites will begin to offer leads packages in 2009 – it’s a good source of revenue, and the leads can be extremely valuable. But I worry that Electronicstalk is struggling to find ways to grow its revenue. It’s nice to report that the new innovations are free to all customers, but I wonder how much value they really will have. I’m sure that this year will be interesting as we watch models for increasing online revenue being tried out by different publishers and try to work out which ones give customers the most value.