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Reed Business launches ‘Zibb’ vertical search

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To the left of the search box on Reed Business Information’s EDN Web site, the curious word Zibb now appears, with the phrase “Strictly Electronics” below it.

Zibb.com, a freestanding destination for global b-to-b search, made its debut in beta form on the site of EDN, Reed’s premier title in electronics. The plan is to roll out Zibb.com as a freestanding, international b-to-b search brand over the next several months, said Scott Falzone, VP-search at Reed. All Reed’s Web sites, which cover 40-plus vertical markets worldwide, will act together as an affiliate network, he said.

Among b-to-b media online executives, Zibb.com would be considered a true vertical search engine because it not only returns results from Reed’s Web sites, databases and advertisers but also from the publisher’s competitors, other suppliers, blogs and anywhere else on the Web relevant business information may reside.

“We want users of Zibb.com to be able to find the best answers to their queries faster. We indexed north of 1 billion pages and identified 300 million pages as relevant across our verticals,” Falzone said.

Within a few weeks, Zibb.com will be incorporated as the search engine for the rest of the Reed Electronics Group, including Electronic Business, Electronic News and Test & Measurement World, Falzone said.

Reed’s construction titles will incorporate Zibb search next, and the rest of the b-to-b titles will add Zibb “in a batch,” Falzone said. “We’re scaling up our ability to integrate Zibb.com so that we can bring the additional titles on more quickly.” He declined to say how long it will take to complete the project.

The name Zibb.com, which is subtitled “Strictly Business” on its freestanding home page, is derived from a Dutch portal site within Reed, zibb.nl. “We needed a brand name that we could use globally,” Falzone said.

On the technical side, Zibb.com was internally developed with the help of numerous vendors, Falzone said, adding that Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), an enterprise search technology developer based in Oslo, Norway, was the primary vendor.

“The value proposition of Zibb.com is the unique manner in which we classify and cluster content using a proprietary taxonomy that is built on top of Reed’s rich history of editorial competency, which we’re leveraging in automatic search and retrieval,” Falzone explained.

Kellysearch, a Reed division that provides product information on 2 million suppliers of b-to-b products and services across the globe, provides the search results for companies and products in all the markets where it overlaps Reed’s editorial products, including engineering, construction, furniture and textiles, and hospitality.

The revenue for Zibb.com will come primarily from advertising, Falzone said. “We’re selling branding advertising ourselves and we have CPC [cost-per-click] through a partnership with Google.” Through Kellysearch, supplier companies will continue to have the ability to pay to upgrade to premium listings, but none of the relevant sites will pay to have its content searched, he said.

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