Find.com, a search engine designed for business professionals, was launched in beta this week by partners FIND/SVP, Empire Media and TripleHop Technologies.
The site delivers search results from three different types of sources. Results from business sites that charge for their content, such as Gallup and Frost & Sullivan, appear at the top of the search results pages. Users can then buy the content. Results from a list of 3,000 business sites appear in the free organic listings, along with results from a variety of search engines.
"This is in line with the trend toward specialization we've seen over the last 6 to 12 months," said Peter Hershberg, managing partner of Reprise Media, a search marketing firm. "We've had quite a bit of success with alternative or vertical search engines because they reach such a specific audience."
Find.com also has implemented an innovative navigational scheme that's reminiscent of that used by clustering firm Vivisimo.
"In the upper-left-hand corner is a graphic you can use to organize results by topic and source, putting them into an organizational structure that makes the most sense for the user," Hershberg said.
Results can also be organized using tabs perched directly above the search box. Clicking on the "Research" tab causes only search results from the premium business sites, those charging for their content, to be displayed. "News" displays only news stories, "Directory" produces a searchable listing of sites by category from the open directory, and "Web" produces results from all three sources.
Established research and consulting firm FIND/SVP picked the paid subscription sites used for premium content, as well as the 3,000 business sites used for the free listings. These sites, along with a number of search engines, are indexed by TripleHop Technologies. The third partner in the Find.com enterprise is Empire Media. This company will organize the advertising sales on the site, both sales done directly by Find.com itself and sales from third-party sales organizations. Empire will also do outbound marketing, advertising Find.com via channels including print and online.
Empire and FIND/SVP each own 47.5 percent of the business, with TripleHop taking the balance.
In developing Find.com, the partners relied on the results of a FIND/SVP study that 52 percent of business professionals are only "somewhat confident" that standard search results come from credible sources. The Internet study surveyed a random sample of about 300 professionals in April and May.
"Users can trust the results they find on Find.com because they come from trustworthy sources," said Chris Travers, CEO of Empire Media. "You can feel confident putting the information in a business plan, using it in a presentation to a client or showing it to your CEO."
There are two components to the site's revenue model, Travers said. When a user clicks on one of the premium listings displayed at the top of the search results, an intermediary Find.com page appears through which the content can be purchased. Find.com gets a cut of the revenue.
The site will also use advertising in multiple forms. Currently, sponsored listings from Clicksor are displayed on the right-hand side of the page. However, the site will soon sell its own sponsored links using technology vendor Zedo, Travers said. "We will work with them to deploy keyword-based advertising," he said. The company will also work with two or three other keyword and contextual advertising groups, which Travers would not name. He did say that IndustryBrains "will be adding contextual advertising for us."
Also, Empire has a co-registration business, and is now investigating the possibility of using co-registration on Find.com, Travers said. He said the company has seen interest from advertisers but would not name any specific advertisers who might be coming on board.
"Their premium research is interesting because it's occupying the same space where we're used to seeing sponsored listings," said Hershberg, who felt this was a good idea.
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