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A Search Tool for Name Brands

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Looking for the official site of a major brand? VisioBrand is a comprehensive directory of major global brands, organized by category, and presented in a highly visual, easy to use format.

Why would you want to use a specialized directory to search for the official site of a brand, rather than just using your favorite search engine? In a word: Search engine clutter.

On the web, almost all major brands are victims of their own success. Many have hired affiliates to promote their sites, and some of these affiliates are so good at search engine optimization that their sites can displace the official sites of the parent company.

Brand names also appeal to spammers who use them to lure searchers to sites unrelated to the brand. It often takes a lot of persistence to cut through the clutter in search results to find official sites for major brands.

The problem is particularly bad in highly competitive categories such as travel. It's also difficult to find the official sites of celebrities or sports teams, given the huge number of fan and non-official sites that abound on the web.

Because it's a human-edited directory, VisioBrand neatly sidesteps these vexing problems that often cause search engines to stumble. It's far from comprehensive, but VisioBrand does offer a broad enough selection of brands across many popular categories to make it an appealing alternative when you're searching specifically for brand information.

The site is both searchable and browseable. I'd recommend browsing, as the search function is very slow, even on a broadband connection. And don't be deceived by what appears to be a lack of depth for many categories. Even when VisioBrand offers dozens or hundreds of listings in a category, it somewhat confusingly displays only a handful at a time. You can see more by clicking the "next brands" link at the top of each list—this link should appear at the bottom of the list as well, to avoid confusion.

One of the nicer features offered by VisioBrand is a link to "parent sites" that opens a pop-up window with links to all sites related to a particular brand. Pull up the listing for Hilton, for example, and the parent sites link will display links to other Hilton-owned properties, such as Doubletree, Embassy Suites and so on.

A major annoyance with VisioBrand is that when you click on a link to an official site of a brand, it's displayed in a frame with no link or other mechanism to remove the frame. Yet another reason to adopt the Firefox browser, which is equipped with a number of useful frame-busting tools. To remove VisioBrand's frame in Firefox, simply right click and select the "this frame" option, then display the framed brand-name website by itself, or open it in a new window or tab.

VisioBrand offers a number of services for advertisers if you're responsible for promoting a major brand.

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