InfoSpace Looks for Revenue Boost from Search Clustering

InfoSpace’s Search & Directory business has agreed to use Vivisimo’s Clustering Engine on its Web metasearch properties, Dogpile, WebCrawler and MetaCrawler. Bellevue, Wash.-based InfoSpace has spent nearly a year upgrading its search properties.

The five-year-old Vivisimo, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., offers technology that clusters search results on the fly into folders labeled by category. The folders appear to the right of the list of results. “It’s like categorizing books on the shelves in a bookstore,” said Raul Valdez-Perez, president and co-founder of Vivisimo.

“Because our metasearch technology allows users to search more of the Web, we know we must also offer innovative tools to help them quickly sift through the wide range of results we deliver and find information that is most relevant to them,” said Leslie Grandy, vice president of product management, Search & Directory, at InfoSpace.

Vivisimo’s technology is part of a trend that’s got search players looking for better ways of displaying results pages, as search grows more complex and results become more relevant.

Vivisimo provides its technology to enterprises, government agencies and search services, and also operates its own search site as a showcase for the technology. The company says that combining its technology with paid listings from Overture Systems creates “doubly targeted” ads. “The targeting is based not only on the original query, but on the folder the user clicked on,” said director of marketing Saman Haqqi. “The novelty is how to integrate them intelligently as the user navigates through the folders.”

Vivisimo’s traffic analysis of its own and customers’ sites showed that users click on 30 to 100 percent more paid listings when presented with search results organized into hierarchical folders using its clustering technology. This conclusion is the result of “before and after” trials at Web search sites that include paid listings. Page views per search session increased by 100 to 150 percent, boosting pay-per-click revenue.

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