SourceTool Launches as Business Supplier Directory

Former executives from business-to-business search directory ThomasB2B.com have launched a new supplier directory at SourceTool.com, under the corporate moniker TradeComet.

The site, which is supported with contextual ads, has been in a testing phase since early fall. It currently contains 12.5 million unique business terms, representing products and services from approximately 500,000 companies. Businesses aren’t charged a fee to be listed.

SourceTool uses the United Nations’ UNSPSC global classification system, which structures commodity products by family and business segment. The company is asking marketers who want to be listed in the index to publish a file with their products listed by UNSPSC (United Nations Standard Products and Services Code). It will give higher ranking to companies that publish such a file, but will continue to index companies that don’t.

Additionally, the company is developing software for vendors that will match language queries to UNSPSC product codes, meaning they won’t need to manually assign the new product codes to each of their products.

“When that tool is available, we’ll make it free,” said Dan Savage, CEO of TradeComet and the former president of ThomasB2B.com. “You can download the tool and use it on your site. That will allow you, if you have a lot of products, to create this file without having to manually do it.”

The decision to display Google’s AdSense on Sourcetool is a shift from the model deployed by other online B2B directories. Savage said ThomasB2B.com considered such an approach when he helmed that company, but ultimately decided to stick with its profitable blind auction model, in which companies paid for top listings in the directory.

“I recommended to the board that we should start showing Google AdSense,” he said. “That was too much for the board.”

He added, “We’re not planning to [directly] sell any advertising for some time. We’re quite happy with Google and Yahoo My thinking has changed. I was worried that if Google owned the market, it would squeeze the publishers.” He now believes that won’t happen.

TradeComet is promoting SourceTool to users with an extensive CPC campaign on major search engines. The company is privately owned and funded.

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