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SupplyFrame Media buys FindChips.com to target ‘bottom of the funnel'

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With its acquisition this month of FindChips.com, SupplyFrame Media extended its capabilities for helping manufacturers and distributors influence the supply chain for electronics components from the design phase all the way to the point of purchase.

For more than three years, SupplyFrame Media has been delivering advertising programs that help manufacturers and distributors reach electronics engineers with advertising at the moment they are showing interest in technical information—while they are searching for electronics component datasheets.

FindChips.com, a search engine that connects electronics component purchasers with distributors, will provide a platform for reaching decision-makers further down the purchasing funnel, at the moment they are looking to source a particular part and find out what it costs.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. SupplyFrame Inc., parent of SupplyFrame Media, is privately held, as was FindChips.com.

FindChips.com was created 12 years ago by a NASA engineer for his own use, and he had built a loyal following over the years since. Steve Flagg, CEO and founder of SupplyFrame Media, said that FindChips.com wasn't designed to be a profit-making business; the engineer was mainly trying to cover costs.

“We've built this media network of research sites for engineers who are going through the design cycle, but we had a gap at the end of the cycle when people are ready to make a purchase,” Flagg said. “FindChips gives us a broader offering so that we can provide our customer base with a way to target people at the bottom of the funnel.”

Jeff Curie, VP-marketing for SupplyFrame Media, said he conducted a poll of FindChips.com users and found that 48% were purchasing professionals. “When I've done surveys of our other sites, nearly 80% of users were in engineering-related [functions] and only 5% were in purchasing,” he said.

SupplyFrame Media has partnered with 50 technical data search sites, such as Datasheetarchive.com and Datasheetdir.com, to form an ad network that reaches more than 2 million unique users every month, primarily electronics engineers involved in product concept and design.

While SupplyFrame Media operates a datasheet search website called SupplyFrame.com, Curie estimated that SupplyFrame.com by itself is responsible for less than 10% of the network's traffic. Rather than spending an enormous amount of money to make SupplyFrame.com the preeminant site for datasheet searches, the company decided to partner with sites that were already popular and ranked high in the results of Google and other major search engines, he said.

Under its previous owner, FindChips.com had grown through word-of-mouth to a user base of 100,000 unique visitors per month. In the weeks since the acquisition, SupplyFrame Media has begun to use its own ad network to promote FindChips.com. A technical support team has also been put in place to guide new users.

FindChips.com has had a sponsorship advertising model, which is in the midst of being changed, most likely to one that is performance-based. “We're in dialogue with the distribution companies to work through the business model,” Flagg said. “We've talked about CPC [cost per click] and CPA [cost per action] models.”

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