Michael Doyle from ThomasB2B is going to talk about B2B search and a issues with B2B search. There are a couple types of B2B search, name of the company is known but not much else. What gets interesting is a supplier search and you don’t know the name of the company who supplies this part. If you do a product search in general engine, it works great. Major search engines and shopping site provide good consumer results because of defined list of product codes. It’s a relatively small list of well known brand names. B2B search is characterized by lack of common product codes/brand names and millions and trillions of parts. Some manufacturers have millions of products in there catalog. A typical person doing sourcing in the B2B space. The B2B searcher spends a good portion of her day looking to fill a critical need for a product. Time is money he says. Purchasing decisions are very important to the buyer and the selected supplier. Traditionally done with print directories and manufactures/distributors catalogs. Everyone had a proprietary classification systems to organize suppliers by the type of product made. The decision to create a product category is typically made by a human editor. He puts up an example of a Google search for twisted shank drill bits. Its shows an eBay ad (which is irrelevant), the organic listings are not relevant either as its catalog and nothing to help source the product. He puts up an example of how ThomasB2B search, and how they list companies and show how relevant the pages are and clean too.
Directories are only as good as the number of companies listed and the freshness of information. Print directories gathered information useful to print users, like phone, fax, address but many companies do not even have a website. #1 compliant of ThomasB2B is you can’t click through. The company product specification data needs to be published in indexable formats. They think there needs to be standards and tools are the solution. Product classification is important (UNSPSC started by the UN). Software tools for classifying product content and a general consensus about content/data types as well. This new index will allow companies to include themselves in a standard index if they adopt general standards.
Up next Jeff Coyle from KnowledgeStorm is a information technology directories and provides structured information to mainstream sites and magazines. The information technology directory is aggregated content from thousands of vendors. Over 2 million visits per month, with a network of 160 sites. Product and service listings as well as white papers, demos, web seminars, etc.. KnowledgeStorm looks at user behavior such as researching & staying current on technology trends. Supporting a buying process and decision. One of the challenges for them is not getting the searcher there, it’s structuring the information so people understand it and generating a lead for their client. They help develop a portfolio of marketing efforts to leverage current marketing collateral. Jeff next showcases vertical search for technology such as built in direct response to requests from our users.
Sarabjit Singh from GlobalSpec was up next. He starts with describing the evolution of the television. In 1941 the first 2 TV stations licensed, etc.. For 50 years 3 stations owned the market. Its very similar to search engines today with the mass market engines. They do a great job, but they believe a similar trend will happen, and their will be a specialized engines for specific needs. Globalspec was founded 10 years ago, and have about 150 people. He explains they looked at what people wanted on the web. They make the dark and hidden web visible by offering information in their search. He explain how their engineering search works. He says they provide deep parametric, technical part and service search. Appears they offer a good service for their clients. Submit websites to them, www.globalspec.com/submit-site
Brennen Beyer from Business.com is going to talk about what they are offering to the market. He says it’s a slow growth business, it’s a fragment audience, and they are trying to reach decision makers. Business.com lists vertical markets, they are also built on a directory structure. They do not crawl the web. He explains how the engine works, advertiser and content layout on Business.com. It’s a CPC based engine, and its all paid placement. They don’t necessary power search on other sites, but its does take up a good part of what they do. Business.com has a reach of 3.5 million users per month. He says they are here to understand the needs of users. There directory becomes powerful as it can help offer suggestions for problems such as a search for “employee performance”. The directory might suggest “performance improvement” categories. Why is it worth it build a vertical search engine? Its because it has a higher concentration of decision makers.
Mark Cordover from It.com. It.com is a vertical search engine that focuses on IT market. He says traditional marketing began in the ancient bazaar, as people where hacking their wares to people that based by. He says things have changed, its “core routers, and managed hosting” instead of beads and clothes. Search marketing provides consumer pull, not vendor push. He gives and example of a story about Madison Avenue magazine, has a sparkling water company wanting to creating an ad in a magazine to make people look at the ad. Apparently you get to the page, and its explodes in bubbles, causing you to look at the ad. Marketing on vertical search engines delivers a targeted audience. So if you put all the vertical search ideas together you get a virtual trade show. He ends with some advice they have learned. How best to present yourself in a virtual trade show. He gives an example of a great ads. “PalmSource delivers IBM Websphere Everyplace …importance of embedded java in a mobile device more than 3 million java developers can deploy applications, then the url”.