Business.com was once best known for spending an all-time record $7.5 million for its domain name. Today, it has quietly become one of the web's most substantial and useful resources for business research and information.
The site is an editorially compiled directory of business resources on the web. It's organized into 26 major industry categories, ranging from accounting to transportation. The directory contains more than 400,000 listings within 25,000 industry, product and service subcategories.
And it's strictly business: The taxonomy was built by industry experts and professional librarians skilled in business research, and all listings must be deemed directly related to business or industry by Business.com editors to be included in the directory.
"Our top search queries look radically different than what you see on AOL or Google," says Jake Weinbaum, founder and chief executive officer of Business.com.
Business.com's directory was initially compiled by editors selecting the best available business-oriented resources on the web. Today the company has adopted both a paid-listing and a paid-placement model, and no longer accepts free listings, except for non-profit organizations.
The company maintains strict editorial control over its listings. "You won't see promotional language or hyperbole because it won't help the user," says CEO Weinbaum. Editors follow standardized guidelines for writing descriptions, assuring consistency across the service.
Business.com offers several options for getting listed on the site. The first step is to check to see if your site is already listed. Simply enter your URL on the "Is Your Site Listed" form on the home page, and click the "Am I Listed" button.
If your site isn't in the directory, the company charges a $99 one-time non-refundable submission fee, with a guaranteed review time of five business days. If accepted, you may also list up to four additional URLs per listing.
The submission form allows you to select the "link type" for each URL from a drop-down menu. Categories include products, services, jobs, store, technical service, contact us, and so on. This feature is unique to Business.com, and should help your customers more easily find the specific part of your site that they're looking for. As an additional benefit to webmasters, it also increases the overall link popularity of your site, according to Weinbaum.
You can suggest a category you'd like your listing to appear in by drilling down to that category and clicking the "List your Site" link that appears at the bottom of every page. Business.com CEO Weinbaum recommends simply submitting without categorizing, allowing editors to find the most appropriate location within the taxonomy of more than 25,000 categories.
Business.com insists that all listings must be relevant to a category. If you want a presence in a category that's not considered relevant to your site, you may purchase an ad for the category.
You may also list your site in more than one category if your site targets multiple industries. A separate submission fee is required for each URL. Business.com offers free submission to qualified non-profit sites.
If you are already listed, you may upgrade to a "featured listing." A Featured Listing receives top placement above Standard Listings and search results. The Featured Listing fee ranges from $25.00 to $500.00 a month, depending on the specific directory category, and the anticipated number of clickthroughs the listing is expected to receive.
Business.com provides companies with large or multiple web sites with a set of automated tools that help determine appropriate categories and expedite the listing process. Contact the company directly for more information, and be prepared to work with Business.com editors during the listing process.
"Even listings that are sold are reviewed editorially, and the listings are written by us," says CEO Weinbaum.
Business.com's primary audience is at-work users, mostly based in the United States. More than 70 percent of the site's traffic occurs Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to Weinbaum.
The site is intuitively designed and easy to use, sporting a clean and fast interface. Searchers can either drill down through categories or search for specific keywords. Both approaches generally yield fruitful results.
You'll find a vast range of business-oriented information included in the directory, ranging from links to organizations and associations to B2B trading sites (yes, they actually still exist!).
Particularly useful are listings for publicly traded companies. These also include links to stock quotes and financial information, news, and a profile of the company, all clustered together with the description of the company.
Another tip: Within each category, look for a "Reference" subcategory. Web resources included in this category are often directory or portal sites, or resources rich in information for the serious business researcher, according to Mary Ellen Bates, author of "Mining for Gold on the Internet: How to find investment and financial information on the Internet" from McGraw-Hill.
Business.com has recently secured investments from a number of key players in the business trade publication and information services industries, including Cahners Business Information, Primedia Business Magazines and Media, McGraw-Hill and The Financial Times Group. The financial and strategic relationships with these partners all but assure Business.com's future as a key player going forward in the arena of web-based business research and information services.
List Your Site at Business.com
Portal B Means Business
One of Business.com's competitors, Portal B is a focused web directory designed for business researchers who typically work in information intensive industries, such as banking, consulting, law, accounting and asset management, or large corporations.