Consumers looking to make decisions may like FindTheBest.com – a new semi-search portal that positions itself as a decision engine in an age where online shoppers are inundated with information. For a site that seems to hold a grudge against the marketing that underlies traditional search portals, FindTheBest could offer some opportunities to savvy businesses.
Founder Kevin O’Conner, the brain behind Google’s DoubleClick explains that he launched FindTheBest.com to “organize the internet” and better help consumers filter the results so they can make decisions. He claims the site will provide “unbiased, objective, comparable information” without the “hidden marketing schemes” – if that’s possible.
O’Conner told Search Engine Land the site currently gathers information from sources including government databases and sites found by internal researchers. It will ultimately ask users to provide content. As the site gets fleshed out, this could be a Yelp-style consumer review page that would potentially offer businesses word-of-web recommendations.
For now, businesses listed on the site can still have the chance to get their brand names known – and visiting enterprises found via local business directories is a growing trend among on-the-go consumers.
The site currently offers nine categories, ranging from business to recreation, each of which comes with multiple subcategories to streamline results. Users select a category and then have search-like options to look for individual brands, specify their locations, set desired price ranges and fill in other appropriate metrics. For instance, searching in the “Camera Lenses” category under Arts & Entertainment allows users to set preferences for focal lengths, while the “Aquarium & Sea Life Centres” category gives consumers the chance to limit results based on the number of species available for viewing at public aquaria around the world.
Once a search is complete, users get a chart of relevant results to choose from. The search for “Green Restaurants” in Boston, for example, produces 30 results. By offering complex search results in a viewer-friendly format, the site seems to touch on Google and Metaweb’s goal of offering content at the top of search result pages that provides more direct answers to queries.
The FindTheBest result charts include relevant business names, store addresses and links to ecommerce websites. This sets the site apart from another information engine – WolframAlpha. Wolfram positions itself as a “knowledge” engine, and it similarly offers straightforward results about industries or businesses, complete with URLs. But it lacks the comparison features offered to consumers through FindTheBest’s categorized searches, and it also doesn’t include the links to business websites that marketers will like.
Clicking a chart result opens a new tab with a questions – yet another search-friendly feature. The Q&A format is getting big right now, with Ask.com and Facebook both launching community answer services. The current FindTheBest question-and-answers page leaves something to be desired as it doesn’t allow users to input or answer queries, but it will be worth seeing how it evolves.
O’Conner says the site is still developing, yet it already holds some marketing value as a discovery portal. The comparison charts can easily be loaded on to third party sites and user blogs, and the more links to a business via the decision-engine, the more likely consumers will decide to do business.