ON THE WEB Searching Sites

According to New Zealand search engine marketing specialist First Rate, 46 percent of people discover new websites via search engines. That may not seem that impressive at first glance but it is when compared with the relatively paltry one percent who find new sites through banner advertising, or the 1.4 percent of people who bother to surf the web having seen an ad for website on the telly. It’s statistic that confirms what all web users already know, the search engine is an integral part of the whole web experience, enabling the materialisation of huge range of information opportunities from single subject search.

www.kompass.co.nz The Kompass database is well known in business circles internationally, and the New Zealand database has over 13,000 New Zealand companies. It’s user-pays operation and to get access businesses need to subscribe, although free trial period can be organised. Once you’ve subscribed it offers excellent information, with members privy to comprehensive overviews of database entrants, including details about the key executives involved, key financial figures, activity descriptions for the company, localities of the business etc etc. Businesses don’t pay to list on the database so the coverage is very good. The Kompass website is probably the most detailed New Zealand orientated business-to-business database on the net. You can search the database by product, service, trade name, executive, keyword or by guided product search.

www.yellowpages.co.nz You can still let your fingers do the walking if it’s business contact information you’re after, but they’ll be walking over keyboard as opposed to page. The yellowpages website is everything the yellow book is, but online. However, listing in the paper version doesn’t entitle you to an online listing, so the coverage isn’t as vast. Telecom Directories has done good job on the format of the online versions of the Yellow Pages and White Pages and the sites are fast and functional. Searches can be conducted by product, service, or company name. There is monthly newsletter, YellowBiz, which offers tips, advice and success stories to would-be or actual advertisers. And the yellowpages site also links up with world directory service if you are looking for an international number www.yellowpages.co.nz/worlddirectories. Two other sites you might find useful are www.yellow.com which is the American yellow pages site and also of course www.whitepages.co.nz. All provide fast, efficient and unparalleled service.

www.companies.govt.nz Not exactly business search engine but if you’re looking for particular company name or company director the New Zealand Companies Office is likely to have it on record. The search register provides basic data about companies, incorporated societies and the like, major shareholders and also provides list of banned directors and managers.

www.carol.co.uk CAROL is an acronym for Company Annual Reports Online; annual reports of British, European and American companies. The service is free but you need to register. You can gain access to balance sheets, profit and loss statements as well as financial highlights of companies you’re looking for. Searches can be conducted by company name, by industry sector, by region and/or stock exchange. While New Zealand companies don’t feature CAROL is useful resource if you’re looking to find overseas businesses in related fields, or even looking for investment opportunities.

www.financewise.com If it’s the high world of finance you’re interested in then this could very well be the site for you as it claims to be the only dedicated financial search engine (in the wide world of the web such claims should probably be taken with grain of ram). You can search for financial information across database of over 3.5 million documents. There are three ways of undertaking search: “keyword search” looks for information relating to phrase or word; “smart search” searches for companies by name, country, type or region, and finally “sector search” searches by industry sector. The site provides other excellent services above and beyond the call of duty. There is also financial classified section for employment, online bookshop, conference search, newswires as well as special reports from range of industries. In word, if it’s about finance, see here.

These are, of course, just handful of hundreds of potentially useful databases and business search engines, but if you’re interested in finding out more about which search engine does what best then research done by American Debbie Abilock seems to be the web standard. You can see her complete summary of which web search engine does what best at www.noodletools.com, an online research resource. Look in the “free tools” and then click on “choose search engine”. Abilock breaks down what the information need might be eg “I need few good hits fast” or “I need perspectives from other countries” and she then provides search strategy for achieving that.

And of course you still can’t go past your Googles, your Yahoos, your MSNs and Alta Vistas.

Damon Birchfield is an Auckland-based freelance writer.
Email: [email protected]

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