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NM200 Methodology

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BtoB’s NetMarketing 200 is a list of the best b-to-b Web sites in terms of marketing effectiveness. BtoB began the evaluation process for the list in June. We created a master list of 800 Web sites that comprised the sites on last year’s list, sites nominated this year and sites of companies that are leaders in their industries.

The list is limited to b-to-b companies that use their Web sites to brand—and ultimately, sell—their products or services. Therefore, it does not include b-to-b media sites, portals, search engines or e-marketplaces. It also excludes hotels, airlines, marketing services companies and advertising agencies. Companies were assigned categories in a sweeping way; for example, health care and pharmaceuticals were in the same category; petroleum, chemicals and mining were also grouped together.

Each site was given points in five main categories for a total of 100 possible points. Those categories were:

• Quality and presentation of the information. Can you tell quickly, if not immediately, what this company does? Is there information about products and services? Is there complete corporate and contact information? Is there any product specification or evaluation tool that differentiates the site?

• Ease of navigation. Is the site organized well, especially if the company is targeting numerous audiences? Is there a search engine, and is it helpful? Does the site load quickly? Is it easy to move from one section of the site to another without backtracking?

• Design. Is the site aesthetically pleasing? Is the text easy to read? Are graphics used appropriately? Does the site creatively exploit the medium with its use of audio and video?

• E-commerce. Can you place and process an order? Can you access account information? Is customer support readily available? Is pricing, delivery and return information offered?

• Extras. Does the site have a community or forum section? Are there any calculators or extra tools that enhance the user’s experience? Can visitors sign up for e-mail newsletters or e-mail alerts? Can users access real-time customer support (such as a click-to-talk or chat function)? Does the site have links to other sites with relevant supplemental information?

Judging was done by BtoB editors and contributing reporters. Sites that did not load or were unusually slow were checked on another day. If necessary, URLs were checked and corrected using Web searches for the company’s name.

Martin Musker, Matt Carmichael, Sara Montgomery, David Glines, Gina Moore, Roger Slavens, Kathleen Robson, Frank Wulfers and Mary E. Morrison contributed to this project.

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