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Publisher site helps locate logistics

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One sign that trade publishers are starting to become more comfortable with the Internet is that they are exploring new ways to draw visitors and generate revenue on their Web sites. Case in point: Keller International Publishing's Supply Chain Brain, the Web site for its Global Logistics and Supply Chain Strategies and Supply Chain eBusiness magazines, has a search engine specially modified for the global logistics market.

Called MindProbe, the search engine roams through 28 industry Web sites selected by the editorial staff of Keller's supply chain media division. Sites include those of the Council of Logistics Management and AMR Research, as well as KPMG Consulting's Web pages devoted to supply chain logistics. Eventually, Keller wants the search engine to access about 50 Web sites, said Brad Berger, group president of supply chain media.

"If someone wants information about a specific segment of supply chain business practice or any number of areas of transport technology, the viewer can search for that information and only get matches on a preselected amount of sites that cover this field and, we feel, have a significant amount of content,'' Berger said.

MindProbe limits the search to global logistics-oriented Web sites. "We wanted to be a real source of information in this field, whether through the magazine or the Web site,'' Berger said. "This accomplishes that.''

Attracting visitors

The advantage MindProbe offers to site visitors is that their searches don't turn up hundreds of thousands of pages as they would on general interest search engines. For instance, the word "tanker'' turned up 190,000 sites on Google.com. The same word turned up just 241 pages on MindProbe.

For marketers, MindProbe offers a specific tool that could potentially attract customers and targets, Berger said.

"For now, it is one way to attract more and more visitors to our site on a regular basis,'' said Berger, who believes that potential will be worth more to advertisers. "We're just starting to sell advertising, but we'll be charging more for MindProbe than other areas of the site.''

Currently, every advertiser in Keller's supply chain media division magazines receives a link on the MindProbe page, although these links are separate from the actual search engine mechanism. These marketers are not, however, necessarily included in the search engines because Keller is keen to preserve the editorial integrity of MindProbe, Berger said.

GCN Publishing developed the search engine for Supply Chain Brain and more are in the works. "This will be on some other Keller sites,'' said Sean Fulton, VP-technology for GCN.

Vertical industry search engines will also likely begin to appear on other trade publication sites. "It's becoming more common,'' said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch.com. "A portal that's offering industry-specific searches may be able to attract more people to the site.''

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