Comparison engine FindTheBest recently released a widget that can help online content creators integrate its data-driven topic comparisons into their pages. An author writing a story about the accounting profession, for instance, can add a widget that provides a single or multiple-product data view of accounting software, or a ratings chart, with customizable data fields via a widget that can be embedded from its site or an integration with WordPress.
It’s part of the service’s continuing strategy to drive deeper distribution relationships for its curated topic-search engine that recently added more social and more semantic-like capabilities in the way of crowd-sourcing and soft joins of its data sets (see story here). “We help you with suggestions,” says CEO Kevin O’Connor, co-founder of DoubleClick. “Then we add some different info-graphics” – maybe a scatter-gram of all screen sizes vs. price or screen sizes vs. battery life for smart phones, for instance, in a story about, say, Apple’s latest iPhone plans. “That lets you pull in industry wide information very quickly into interesting graphics.”
The company, which focuses on comparison of high-end products and services, launched its distribution strategy in the last quarter of last year. Sites such as VentureBeat, College News and Credit Card Advice using it to provide product and service resources appropriate to their domains that can be an important component of a monetization strategy. The attraction, O’Connor says, is that “our audience shows purchase intent. When you are comparing two trucks together there’s no stronger indication that you are someone who wants to buy a truck. You are right at the stage of making decisions, and you are generally focused on a highly-considered purchase.
That’s an attraction for dealing with publishers. They understand that they’ve got this audience and that purchase intent is the most valuable thing for an advertiser. They want more than inventory.”
Among other features FindtheBest recently also has added is one dubbed AssistMe to bring a little more interpretation intelligence to personalization. “One problem you get with filters is that they exclude things – for example, they might specify a certain screen size [for a device]and one product is right on the edge of that. You’ll just lose that with a filter. With AssistMe we weigh all the competing factors and expose you to those which best meet your requirements,” he says. So, you can specify a screen size range but also clarify that that is perhaps only moderately important to you, a factor which can be taken into account to deliver models that might have a slightly smaller screen than you noted but meet all your other most important requirements.
The service also has taken its soft joins for trying to discern all the data it has and give it some semantic meaning, as O’Connor has described it, to its Classified ads for certain products. Choose an Audi A6, for instance, and the click of a button will take you to all Audi A6 classified listings featured on its Cars for Sale comparison. Infographics are also influenced by the capability to help give users a sense of what’s good and bad in obvious ways, such as color. “We had a fair number of disconnected comparisons at first but the jigsaw pieces are starting to fall into places,” he says. “Now we have about 800 diffferent comparisons and relate information very tightly to each other, including using human intervention a lot.”
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