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Oodle Launches, Vertical Search Heats Up

By - March 29, 2005

OodleYou got Indeed and Simply Hired for jobs. Topix for local news and information. Globalspec for engineering. Technorati and Feedster for feeds/blogs. And now…Oodle, for classifieds. I met with Oodle CEO Craig Donato while at PCForum last week, and I like the concept. He’s not only crawling listings where you might expect it – local papers, national papers, craigslist – he’s also crawling eBay local and other unexpected sources.

But the main difference, Craig insists, is that Oodle is buyer focused, not seller focused. The site came from his own frustration with listings – the interface was terrible. How could he make it better?

The answer was not just crawling all those listings, but tagging them with all sorts of taxonomy-driven metadata to layer intelligent search over them all, so you could find what you wanted to find. A very neat idea if it works. Will it? Too early to tell, but test sites are up in Dallas, Philly, and Chicago.

The business model is a work in progress, for now they plan to do Google ads. But imagine the possibilities – they drive traffic back to classifieds sites, so there is a referral play there, and the ability to develop their own premium listings business lurks in the background.

Cool feature: any search can be an alert. The site is in beta with its first three cities, but they plan to roll out nationally soon.

The company is backed privately, but Craig is from Excite days, as is the Chairman, Brett Bullington, who is also an investor. I plan to keep my eye on these guys.

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2 thoughts on “Oodle Launches, Vertical Search Heats Up

  1. dewitt says:

    This is interesting stuff, although I wonder about the rights to crawl this type of data. Then again, since the links just point back to the classified source (Craigslist, Monster, etc.) it probably won’t raise the same eyebrows as if they were also publishing the contact information and bypassing the source.

    Oodle should also consider turning their search into an OpenSearch feed. If they need the revenue, they could insert a sponsored link into each result set. But more importantly, they could see a bump in distribution (key at this phase of the game).

    As a side bonus, the resultant OSRSS search feeds can be plugged into a RSS reader so that users can subscribe and read them as they please. Many people (myself included) prefer the RSS approach over email alerts. That’s all assuming Oodle is really “buyer focused,” of course.

    (And what does it mean that I twice mistyped “Oodle” as “Oogle”?)

  2. Pamela Lagahid says:

    NIce post. Congrats to Oodle for the new achievement on their company and to their vertical search