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David Yancey, an established eBusiness expert and Adjunction’s founder and principal designer, explained “Our ability to integrate local-area listings into a truly national search site brings a new level of completeness and convenience to online search users. Our broader, geographically-enabled listing technology opens up Internet search to millions of smaller and local businesses who until now could not use search-based marketing cost-effectively. Their only option to date has been unexciting online Yellow Pages directories, and limited-reach local city guides.”
In another move to distance itself from the all-things-to-all-users mindset of the big search engines, directories, and “portals”, Vivante.com is the first search site to target grown-ups – busy professionals, time-stressed parents, and active seniors. “By designing the search tools for these busy consumers and business owners,” explained Jason Hamilton, the company’s lead systems architect, “Vivante can tailor the search experience to fit their specific needs and interests. Similarly, our other search site, www.Prowebguide.com, is designed specifically to serve the search needs of Internet and online business professionals. Each Adjunction site aims to be the best possible search venue for a well-defined, smaller group of Internet users.”
Examples of this audience-tailored approach in Vivante.com include a much-simplified approach to organizing hierarchies of topics - making it easier for busy users to find information, and also making it easier for website owners and businesses to know where their listing belongs for maximum visibility.
Yancey relayed how “We were struck by the increasing frustration of search users as they seek more and more product, place, service, event, consumer, and other information online. The difficulties faced by traditional search engines in finding and arraying current and relevant web pages without duplication was bad enough; the accompanying trend toward more and more commercially-paid search 'matches' made things worse, even intolerable to many of the people we surveyed.”
Like Google, Vivante.com’s free directory results come from the DMOZ database of the Open Directory Project. Hamilton explained that “We update our version of DMOZ more frequently, and, unique among DMOZ licensees, we also have the ability to show geographic matches in a great many cases.”
Is Yancey fearful of the bigger, established search players? “We think to be a major player in online search necessarily requires maximum audience share. This makes it difficult, even uneconomic, to try and be a true finding partner for a relatively small number of users, one group of users at a time.”
Yancey compares the company’s niche-oriented strategy of focusing on special interests of specific target audiences to the television industry: “The big, general audience search sites are like the TV broadcast networks, competing with each other to grab as many viewers/users as possible. Our search sites are more intimate, hopefully much friendlier, certainly more attuned to the user's primary, ongoing topical interests. Where Google does a good job of covering everything, we focus sharply on the topics that count most to our users, much like a premium-audience cable TV channel does.”
As to competition: “We are not competing with search engines. We are not even extolling our unique technology. All we care about is meeting the needs of busy, discriminating, find-it-for-me-right-now consumers and professionals. The tests of our approach is how many users come back the next time, how easily they can find the sites they are looking for, and what they do when they click-through to our advertisers’ sites. If we pass these tests, our user numbers will climb, and the other advertisers will get on board soon enough.” He adds, “It doesn’t hurt that the kinds of users we are targeting with our special-interest finding tools account for probably 85% or more of all the buying online.”
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