Reed Business Launches Vertical Search Initiatives, Asks Competitors to Participate (posted 1/23)
Reed Business Information is inviting all publishers, including its competitors, to be a part of its new business-to-business vertical search portal and the new vertical functions it has added to its existing sites.
Reed is using proprietary categorization, entity extraction and taxonomy management software from Teragram, provider of multilingual natural language processing technologies. The software automatically organizes content from hundreds of Internet sites into a vertical search engine. It’s being used on Reed’s magazine sites including those for Variety, Electronic Business and Library Journal, and on its new search engine, Zibb.com, said Graeme McCracken, chief operating officer at Reed’s RB Search division.
McCracken said Reed launched the new functions in the late spring, in part, because its previous search function “wasn’t very good.” “We looked at what could be done with search and we wanted a search function that could provide a search across our content as a whole in the same way that Google does across the entire Internet,” he said. “But we wanted to add capabilities that would allow the user to get their answer faster and to disambiguate the answer they want from the answers they don’t in terms of content and context.”
Reed’s Zibb.com offers business-to-business Web users more targeted searches than broader search engines such as Yahoo and Google, similar to that of Business.com. McCracken said Reed has invited all publishers, including its competitors, to participate free of charge in its new ventures in effort to establish itself as a destination for Web users. “One of things that we realized early on is that it couldn’t just be our content,” he said. “While we have really great content, there’s so many other publisher that also have good content and we want to drive traffic across all our sites so in order to do that we have to include everyone’s content.”
McCracken said Reed went with Teragram over other providers because it allowed Reed to architect and design its functions the way it wanted to. “Teragram allowed us to get at the guts of the thing and apply the industry knowledge we have,” he said.
McCracken said Reed plans to continue its vertical search expansion with the launch of Zibb on Demand, which will allow users to view content on-demand from 250 of Reed’s Web sites, later this year. McCracken said the combined search efforts will, in theory, bring more users to Reed Business sites, which, in turn, will bring more advertisers on the sites. “Primarily, we like to concentrate on our readers and users first,” he said. “Because, if you don’t have users, you don’t have anyone to market to.”