But unlike simple search engines, O'Connor describes FindTheBest.com as a "comparison engine," more akin to travel deal aggregator Kayak.com. The difference, he says, is in giving users a simple interface to compare online information in a way that is comprehensive and easy-to-use, but also personally relevant.
During a briefing with Online Media Daily on Monday, O'Connor acknowledged that the site is still in a rudimentary "beta" mode, but said it will become more robust over time, as his team integrates online databases with a range of new applications making it easier and far more intuitive to compare them in context.
While a wide range of comparison engines already exist, O'Connor said FindTheBest.com will differ in several ways, including the fact that will remain completely neutral, and will never tout products or services in exchange for a "kickback." Instead, he said the business model will rely primarily on advertising adjacencies similar to the online search and directories businesses.
O'Connor said his inflection point, and reason for jumping back into a hands-on business development role, came from his personal frustration with using the Internet in recent years. O'Connor who left the business to pursue his love of surfing and skiing, said he was routinely stymied when using the Internet to research family travel options, or evaluating colleges for his children. He said search engines and the current versions of comparison engines rarely led to personally relevant insights.
O'Connor said the strategy for building a user base for FindTheBest.com will depend on search engine optimization to drive traffic to its site, and on distributing embedded links on relevant publishers' sites.