Info.com: Consumer Focused Meta Search
Recently, a new meta search engine was launched under the name of Info.com. For those unaware, meta search engines pool the results of other search engines (Google, Yahoo) into a single result set. This approach to web search is an attempt to present the most relevant results as meta engines focus on filtering out extraneous listings. Otherwise, users would be flooded with millions of result pages (depending on the keyword’s popularity).
|Info.com Focuses On The Consumer|
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I spoke with Stephen Scarr, CEO of Info.com, and he described Info as not so much a search provider but rather an information provider. Stephen also indicated that Info’s approach focuses on those searching for products to buy. This idea is facilitated by Info.com’s partnership with online shopping portal, Shopping.com. The partnership was formed to “assist Info.com’s users [in making] informed purchase decisions.”
Not only does Info.com provide aggregate search results from 14 engines, they also feature advertisers from the same 14. This includes Overture, Kanoodle and Google. According to Stephen, the mentality behind featuring such a large cross section of ads is that users are twice as likely to buy from paid search listings – further emphasizing Info.com’s focus on buyers. Info receives no financial benefit from displaying these ads, save Kanoodle.
The positions for PPC results at Info.com are determined on a cost-per-click basis. Advertisers paying the most per click receive higher positions. The meta engine also allows prospective advertisers to feature their site in the paid listings via Kanoodle by signing up at Info’s advertising page. These listings are also based on CPC. According to said page, “To make your site appear on Info.com simply list your site with Kanoodle! Bid into the #1 and #2 positions for your keywords and your search listing(s) will appear on Info.com’s results.”
Other features offered by Info.com include an image search as well as a White and Yellow Pages search. Users also have access to relevant news content supplied by the Topix.net feed. The feed features 150,000 categories from 7000 sources. Users can also access local news by simply entering their zip code.
Seeing itself as an information provider for the buyer, Info.com plans on introducing feeds from ebay, as well as searches for flight information and health. The ebay feed will be keyword sensitive, returning auction information related to user queries. The spirit of Info.com’s business model is; focus on the buyer by offering relevant comparative shopping information. The following is from their about page:
“Today 30% of searches are made with a purchase or purchase enquiry in mind. In these cases, users find advertisers (sponsored results) more useful than free results. In fact search engine users are twice as likely to make a purchase from them as they are from a free listing. By aggregating all the advertisers from 14 search engines, Info.com offers more of them than any major search destination, with some 250,000. So if a user cannot find vendor information on Info.com, they are unlikely to find them anywhere else.”
Since Info.com focuses primarily on consumers, those using search for research purposes may want to consider an individual engine. While research oriented queries will yield relevant results, they probably aren’t quite as thorough. Consolidating results is a great feature for those not wanting to look through page after page of information. However, queries at Info.com will generally lack the sheer number of results for those looking to perform deep searches.
On the other hand, offering users consolidation and relevancy should be beneficial to consumers looking to hop online, shop and move on. Stephen indicates as much with his comment:
“In an over communicated and over informed era, relevant and time saving information brands will become increasingly attractive to internet users. Info.com strives to be just that by continuing to develop a simple and time saving interface that seamlessly combines different search technologies into one site.”