FindWhat, Thomas To Create B2B Portal

Paid search listings player FindWhat.com will provide technology and to help create a business-to-business (B2B) portal for industrial product guide publisher Thomas Global Register, providing marketers a much-needed option for B2B paid placement search.

“This is a dream of targeting. There is a one-to-one match between what someone is looking for and the advertiser,” said Dan Savage of Thomas Global Register LLC.

Users seeking forklifts, blowers, backhoes and similar industrial products can search for over 550,000 industrial suppliers from 29 countries in 10 languages on Thomas Global Register’s online industrial product directory. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, FindWhat will provide bid technology, ad management and back-end customer support for a new Web site, ThomasB2B.com, to be created by the two companies.

The new listings service, which covers the world outside the U.S., is expected to launch in the second half of 2004. Savage said the minimum cost per click will be 25 cents.

FindWhat’s instant messaging system and do-it-yourself account setup are especially useful services for Thomas’ international clients, Savage said. When placing an ad there will be a button telling users to click for real-time assistance.

Also, “a good proportion of advertisers sign up on their own with FindWhat,” said Savage. Thomas Publishing has 600 to 700 representatives selling ads in the U.S, but hot overseas market China, for example, isn’t covered. With this system, any company with a valid credit card can buy advertising, Savage said.

Users will be able to bid in a number of languages, a significant innovation in Thomas’ eyes, Savage said. Similarly to FindWhat’s partnership with Verizon announced Dec. 3, the search listings company is acting as a private label provider to Thomas.

FindWhat contributed about $338,000 in initial capital. The two companies expect the joint venture to become profitable in late 2005.

“This is one of FindWhat’s pushes right now for people who want to create their own pay-per-click search system. This way they don’t have to write their own software from scratch,” said Kevin Lee of Did-It.com.

“What’s cool about ThomasB2B.com is that it’s a B2B portal. This is great news for the B2B marketers who really don’t have a lot of options for paid placement search,” said Lee. “There’s Business.com and some portals in niche industries, but not a lot of B2B portals. If someone types in ‘diesel engine’ on Google or Yahoo you don’t know if they’re a consumer or a business. But on ThomasB2B.com they’re probably looking for a B2B application,” Lee said.

“B2B marketers need more inventory and vertical portals that serve the B2B space,” Lee said.

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