Northern Light Cuts Back on Free Services
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News Archive Search Remains Free

As of January 16, 2002, Northern Light discontinued its free web search capabilities. Visitors to the site will no longer be able to search Northern Light's Index of over 350 million web pages. However, searching the site's "Special Collection," its library of more than 70 million pages of (full-text) content aggregated from over 7100 sources, will remain available to all visitors - but access to the articles returned by those searches is not free. Some sources included in the Special Collection are:

  • ABC News (transcripts)
  • Ad Age
  • Canadian Chemical News
  • Engineering News Record
  • Investext Reports
  • National Defense
  • Pharmaceutical Executive
  • Regional Newspapers
  • Women's Wear Daily

Prices for articles returned by a Northern Light Special collection search range from $1.00 to $4.00 each.

The aggregation of so many sources in a single search is certainly a convenience...but one that searchers definitely pay for. Some of the articles users must pay Northern Light to access are available elsewhere on the Internet for free (or at a lower cost). For example, a Northern Light search for "Taliban" returned a three month old story from the Las Vegas Review Journal with a $2.95 price tag (among the 48,000 results). The same story was available for free at the Review Journal's web site. Additionally, the same search returned a 10 day old story from the Boston Herald - also for $2.95. That same story was also available directly from the Boston Herald's own archive for $2.00.

"While we have made an all-out effort at the advertising-supported Web search model, we find now that we need to refine our business to focus more exclusively on the needs of business researchers and enterprise customers," said Northern Light CEO Davis Seuss in a letter posted on the site. "Rather than trying to be all things to all people, our focus will be on providing the most authoritative information available for decision-makers."


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