IDG Communications has launched SearchNOW – a search engine dedicated to the .nz space.
SearchNOW, which uses technology developed by IDG in the Netherlands, has been "crawling" the .nz space for several months, compiling a database of more than 1.5 million pages, and has been benchmarked against the world's leading search engines.
IDG's managing director Martin Taylor says the company decided to launch a New Zealand search engine "as part of solving our own need to provide better search options for our users. Search is the primary method of navigation on the Net.
"Any operator who is serious about providing the best customer experience on their site must have great search, both of their own site and - if they're really serious about helping their users - elsewhere on the Net."
Taylor says the decision to create a specifically New Zealand search engine is in line with the principles on which IDG has built a multi-billion dollar media business that operates in 80 countries: "First, that users, given an effective choice, will always prefer their information to be locally relevant, and secondly that to produce the best local information, you need local people on the ground in each market.
"We believe the search business is no different. We think we have an exceptionally good product to start with, and we'll be able to do a better job keeping it tuned and relevant to a Kiwi audience."
SearchNOW is also being offered for integration into other local websites, says Taylor.
"We've built the system so it can be easily configured and customised to fit into your own site. For a small monthly fee based on usage volumes, we'll build a search engine for you and take the hassle and cost out of running it. There's an excellent free option, too, which will be fine for most sites."
Among the features offered by SearchNOW is a family-friendly filter for content.
Taylor says SearchNOW is the first of several planned "Information ASP" applications that IDG will be launching over the next few months, "whose aim will be to help sites provide better experiences for their users and open up new revenue streams for those sites."
Paul Foster-Nesbit, formerly of bluechilli online advertising agency. has been hired as online campaign executive for SearchNOW, working with online campaign director Kerry Dodds.