ThomasB2B.com is launching its new global online advertising network this week, featuring bid-for-position and pay-per-click pricing for advertisers wishing to reach business-to-business buyers. The Thomas Global Register Directory encompasses approximately 10,000 product categories.
"We've created an interactive marketplace that quickly matches buyers and suppliers worldwide by cutting through the clutter of traditional keyword searches for a service built specifically for the B2B space," said Dan Savage, president of ThomasB2B.com.
The ThomasB2B.com site allows users to search by keyword, resulting in the display of a list of relevant categories from which to choose.
"Categories tell the searcher, 'what you're looking for is called this'. You end up getting a meeting of buyers and sellers with a common definition of what the product is. It eliminates a lot of potential waste and click inefficiency that can occur with keywords," Savage said.
In the B2B space, category listings can be more precise than keyword targeting, which can result in non-relevant 'false positive' results, Savage said. This is especially problematic where individual words have multiple meanings, such as storage tanks and military tanks, or computer monitors and heart monitors.
"I think if Google or Overture were to start over again to build the ad model that they have, they would model it around categories rather than keywords. They used keywords because they were there -- people went to search sites and entered query strings. As bidding categories, bidding strings are quite clumsy," he said.
ThomasB2B.com is a joint venture between FindWhat.com and Thomas Global Register which began in March. The marketplace listings service uses FindWhat's private label technology for its paid listings. FindWhat's other private label clients include Verizon, Lycos and Mitsui.
Thomas Global Register provides the directory content, sales and sales support to ThomasB2B.com. Advertisers have an account management interface to create paid listings and manage campaigns. Pricing is on a pay-per-click and bid-for-position model, with automated bid management tools.
ThomasB2B.com signed up about 500 advertisers during its test period, and expects to have 5,000 by the end of the year. The target company is one that would be found in the typical industrial park, with $5 to $50 million in sales, Savage said.
"Business.com has been out there longer with their PPC model, and they're doing well," Savage said. "But they're in a much broader niche. Most of their revenue comes from computers and office products. We have a depth of content in the industrial B2B area. Companies that sell machine tools would find Business.com's classification system not very specific to their needs."
In addition, ThomasB2B's international focus is a differentiator, he said. ThomasB2B.com provides directory information on companies in 29 countries and in seven languages. The multilingual product classification system allows an advertiser to choose a category in his own language and then be able to select the equivalent category in another language.
"I can think of no better advertising opportunity for a Chinese manufacturer than to run an ad in ThomasB2B in English to reach Americans, and in German, French and Spanish to reach Europeans," Savage said.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.