The Emerging Opportunity in Vertical Search, a white paper from Oak Brook, Illinois, search engine manufacturer, SearchChannel, and Chicago-based marketing firm, Slack Barshinger, uses the vertical search sites of several publishing companies to tout the advantage of business-to-business vertical search.
Citing research from Outsell Inc., the white paper estimates that total revenue generated from b-to-b vertical search applications is growing at a rate 15 percent annually and will grow to $1 billion in 2009.
It points to white paper lists Advanstar’s DentalProducts.net, Farm Journal Media’s AgWebSearch.com, Hanley Wood’s eBuild.com, Hearst’s ICmaster.com and Business.com, as some examples of successful vertical search sites.
Todd Sims, vice president of business and corporate development for Business.com, said in an interview Monday that the time is now for publishers to invest in vertical search. "They’re the ones sitting on this amazing content and the challenge is connecting that content to a relevant set of advertisers to monetize that content," he said.
Business.com, which contains 400,000 listings within 65,000 industries and is visited by 32 million business professionals each month, currently partners with several publishers including Forbes, Businessweek and Entrepreneur, to drive users and advertisers to their Web sites. "We have a fairly large database of 6,000 b-to-b advertisers that buy cost per click advertising from us," Sims said. "And we distribute those advertisers to publishing Web sites similarly to what Google does with its Ad Words product. But unlike Google, our ads are geared toward business professionals, which is the reason many publishers like to work with us."
The white paper says that b-to-b vertical search makes the search process quicker and easier for users, saying that respondents of Outsell’s research reported a 31.9 percent failure rate when using general search engines. For example, a dental professional searching on Google for "ceramics," a common material used in dental work, will turn up millions of results, the first few pages of which revolves around pottery, the white paper says. But a dentist searching on Advanstar’s dentalproducts.net will find a more manageable and relevant yield, according to the white paper.
Other survey results cited in the white paper include:
- Corporate searchers spent about eight hours per week on search information tasks in 2001. Between November 2005 and January 2006, the same respondents said they were spending 12 hours a week on search-related tasks.
- 41.2 percent of respondents said their queries on search engines "often" return results not directly related to their queries.
- 32.5 percent of respondents said they find "too many results" are returned on general search engines. The same percentage of respondents said they go to more than one general search engine to find their queries.
- 18 percent of respondents say they leave general search engines without finding answers to their queries.