Fact City Deal Expands Search Service

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Fact City, a fact-finding engine for Web sites, this week signed a deal with reference book publisher Houghton Mifflin Co. to expand the engine's information database.


The Fact City engine enables consumers to run fact searches by entering keyword information. Major community sites such as ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and Zagats.com use the Fact City engine. The information will be available via iWon.com at the end of the month.


"The Fact City engine will allow our users to get actual answers to their questions, not just a list of thousands of Web sites," said George Nimeh, vice president of search and special projects at iWon.com.


Houghton Mifflin, Boston, will provide Fact City with information from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language; Roget's II: The New Thesaurus; The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Geography; Wall Street Words; and A Who's Who of Sports Champions.


"Because the Fact City engine provides users with immediate answers to their questions rather than offering them a list of Web sites, it keeps consumers on the affiliate portal, increasing that site's stickiness," said Mike Olfe, vice president of product marketing at Fact City, Waltham, MA. Olfe added that Fact City's affiliate partners usually sell sponsorships or ad space on Fact City results pages.


All of the results pages feature hyperlinks to the data providers offering the featured information.


"Hyperlinks to the Houghton Mifflin page, www.houghtonmifflin.com, will allow the company to direct targeted traffic that is interested in the site's resources," Olfe said. He added that hyperlinks to data providers on the ESPN and FoxSports sites have experienced up to 10 percent click-through rates.


"Through the agreement with Fact City, our material will be widely spread throughout different sites, increasing brand awareness for Houghton Mifflin," said David Jost, vice president of electronic reference publishing at Houghton Mifflin.


Fact City charges affiliate sites based on the number of results returned, Olfe said, declining to specify. He added that Fact City's data content partners are compensated on a revenue-sharing arrangement, but he would not provide specific numbers.
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