Netvention Offers E-Mail Address, Lead Generation Search Engine

Netvention Inc., a 2-year-old provider of online marketing data based in Montreal, is offering its first product, a search engine that combs corporate Web sites for marketing data such as names, titles and e-mail addresses. The company said its service is useful for compiling e-mail lists or as a lead generation tool.

“We take unstructured information and structure it so it's useful to vertical markets,” explained Benoit Julien, Netvention's president. “We are more concerned about getting the valuable information nuggets than just providing raw data.”

The company, which serves the business-to-business market, initially will target its service to direct marketers in North America, Julien said. The service is available in English and French.

Netvention's service is comprised of two technologies, Extractor and Prospector. The technologies allow marketers to dynamically assemble up-to-date and precisely targeted lists of business coordinates based on any market or product keywords. Each search query gives marketers targeted contact information, including company names, contact names, postal addresses, phone and fax numbers, e-mails addresses and Web site addresses.

The Extractor data extraction service can gather corporate and personal data such as name, postal address and e-mail address, as well as e-business data such as e-commerce capability, multimedia and technical features of a Web site.

The Prospector sales lead generator is a search engine that allows marketers to build targeted lists of up-to-date corporate data, which can be downloaded into any contact or sales software.

To some, Netvention's search engine may sound like the ultimate spamming tool. But the company said its services are not intended for spamming. It claims that since it culls names and addresses from public Web sites, it is legally able to collect and sell that data.

“According to the most recent legal cases, any data made available on a public Web site automatically becomes of public domain and can be collected, used and sold,” said Nicolas McDuff, Netvention's sales and marketing manager.

He added that the lists the company generates generally are very small and not very useful to a spammer, who probably is more interested in reaching large numbers of people.

“Most of the potential spammers lose interest in using our service just because the list size is too small for them,” McDuff said. “To extract e-mails using the Netvention Prospector, a marketer needs to provide keywords describing the market he is going after in order for us to generate the list. Because of the meta search processing we do prior to the extraction, allowing us to identify only the relevant companies, our lists are extremely well targeted.”

He added that Netvention's lists contain more data than just e-mail addresses, including postal addresses and telephone numbers.

“The list we extract contains lots of information about a company,” McDuff said. “E-mail addresses are only a little piece of the detailed business profile we sell. Most of our clients are aware of the spamming concerns and are reluctant to use e-mail addresses as a first means of contact. Most of them prefer to use the e-mail addresses as a tool to follow up on a postal or telemarketing campaign.”

Netvention said pricing for the service depends on a minimum annual sales commitment ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. The company said cost-per-thousand rates range from $20 to $200.

“It's a great way for people who want to do direct marketing in other countries to build a list,” he said. “Our search engine crawls all Web pages with business data and relates that data together.”

Julien pointed out that Netvention's technology eliminates redundant information automatically by comparing data culled from Web pages.

“Data is validated over and over across multiple Web pages,” he said.

Julien said Netvention also offers data generating services for marketers that do not want to build their own lists, as well as list cleaning services. The company is now in discussions with list resellers and other companies about using Netvention's services.

“We can take your 12 million records and tell you which are good, and do it very fast,” he said. “We consider ourselves [an NCOA] Web business.”

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