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Prism enhances one vertical directory, debuts another

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Prism Business Media has begun its foray into directory-driven search with two new initiatives.

One is SourceESB.com, an outgrowth of the 20-year-old Electronics Source Book of components, products and services. Officially relaunched June 6, the redesigned and rebuilt site now offers search by part number, along with direct access to distributors' inventory data so that the potential purchaser can tell whether a specific part is in stock. Where the distributor has the capability, the user can link through to buy the product online.

"The key to successful vertical search is strong data," said Prescott Shibles, VP-new media at Prism."We have a strict quality control process and that's essential. Otherwise, people won't use it."

Registered users can search for free. SourceESB.com derives revenue from enhanced listings purchased by advertisers. The site is being marketed through print and banner advertising running with related Prism titles, including Power Electronics Technology and RF Design, as well as SourceESB's own e-newsletter and search engine optimization.

In the second initiative, Prism has just finished creating a buyer's guide application that can be used companywide.

"We've created a platform so that we can create vertical search applications for directories across multiple divisions and titles," Shibles explained.

"We built the platform in-house using open-source applications," Shibles said, adding that the effort was a result of almost unprecedented cooperation among the publishing groups, the IT group and the rich data group.

The new directory application was piloted with the 2006 Buyers' Guide at pffc-online.com, the Web site of PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converters). "In the first month, we cleared more revenue than we had in the previous five or six months put together," Shibles said.

Prism Business Media will roll out the technology to about 20 more industry directories this summer.

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