Getting Down to

A longer, more detailed version of this article is
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Click here to learn more about becoming a member 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 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'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.

"Even listings that are sold are reviewed editorially, and the listings are written by us," says CEO Weinbaum.'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. 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's future as a key player going forward in the arena of web-based business research and information services.

List Your Site at

Portal B Means Business

One of'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.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.