Jake Winebaum, founder and CEO at Business.com, a vertical search engine, is having a very good year. All metrics are up: ad revenue, audience size, advertiser base and network base.
Business.com provides access to business products, services, companies, news and other information. According to MediaMetrix, its network reaches 35 million users monthly. The site itself has another 3.5 million in monthly traffic and boasts more than 6,000 advertisers.
Although the company is privately held and does not reveal revenue figures, Winebaum said "revenues are up substantially." He added, "It’s grown as we’ve grown our audience and as we’ve grown our advertiser base."
He said the 5-year-old company has been profitable for the past two years. The majority of its revenue comes from paid search and sponsored listings on the Web site and its network publishing partner sites.
Business.com continues to focus on user needs, which Winebaum said is central to the site’s evolution. "We’ve been really focused on growing the site itself," he said.
It added a people search function in January and a job search capability last year. "We want to create the right experience depending on the type of business information you’re looking for," Winebaum said. While he declined to provide specifics, he said, "We’ll evolve significantly in the coming year."
Meanwhile, the company announced this year that it has added two partners to its fast-growing network: Forbes.com and GlobalSpec, a specialized search engine for the engineering community. They joined about 25 business and trade publishers, including BusinessWeek, CNET Networks and the Financial Times.
Winebaum said that as Business.com becomes more specialized it continues to peacefully co-exist alongside Google and Yahoo!.
"I don’t think specialized search in any way replaces general search," he told BtoB earlier this year. "In the same way cable networks complement the major networks, we are serving a specific audience alongside the large search engines." In fact, Business.com partners with Google to expand its directory where appropriate. "When someone is searching for something not displayed in our directory, we’ll display Google results," he said.
Winebaum said everyone wins with vertical search. "We focus every day on the needs of businesspeople," he added. "By focusing on those needs, we serve the users, the advertisers and our network partners really well."