March 31, 2023

Web Site Answers Question of What to Do

That is the proposition behind a new Web site called Daybees, which went live in Britain last month and plans to expand to other countries, including the United States, soon. Daybees bills itself as “the world’s largest events search engine,” with a database of more than 1.5 million happenings of all kinds, whether Bon Jovi concerts or bake sales.

Daybees is one of the growing number of so-called vertical search engines, which aim to carve out a niche for themselves in the lucrative online search business, which is dominated by Google and coveted by other Internet giants like Microsoft and Facebook.

In areas like online shopping, travel or real estate, vertical search sites are well established. But Daybees says it is the first site, at least in the English-speaking world, to offer such a comprehensive listing of entertainment options without being tied in to any commercial arrangements with the organizers.

While 1.5 million might sound like a lot of events, Daybees lets people fine-tune their searches for things to do by keyword, by location or by time and date. And Daybees argues that its results are more focused than those turned up by Google.

“I love Google,” said Gary Morris, the founder and chief executive. “I use it umpteen times a day. But if I want to find an event that’s taking place at a certain time on a certain day, 2,000 feet from my front door or wherever, it’s impossible.”

“I was relying a lot on concierges and locals for information,” he added. “And what I found was that people’s knowledge of local events was not very good.”

While companies like Ticketmaster operate online listings, these tend to be limited to events with which the companies have commercial arrangements. Daybees says it is independent, and gets no commissions — at least not yet — though it does offer links to sites that sell tickets.

Independence comes at a price. So far Daybees, set up with an investment of about $1 million from Mr. Morris and Andrew Molasky, a partner and director, earns no revenue; not only does it not accept commissions, it has eschewed advertising, too. Mr. Morris and Mr. Molasky said advertising was a possibility, along with partnerships with ticket-selling firms, but added that they wanted to establish the site better first.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t have a profit motive,” said Mr. Molasky, a Las Vegas real estate developer with a background in the entertainment business. “Our approach is, if you build it, it will come.”

That approach has fueled the imaginations of countless start-up founders — and dashed the dreams of almost as many.

Vertical search is a hot area, with more and more ventures seeking to cash in on people’s desire to tailor search engines to specific needs. The growth of vertical search has been fueled by the spread of mobile Internet use, which has increased demand for customized, localized information, rather than the more extensive lists of results turned up by general search engines like Google or Microsoft’s Bing.

But Google has not stood still, fine-tuning its search engine and rolling out an ever-growing number of vertical offerings of its own, like online shopping and videos. Often, these are linked to other Google services like maps.

Analysts say that in Europe, where Google is especially strong, with more than 90 percent of the search market, compared with about three-quarters in the United States, it is particularly difficult for vertical search engines to establish themselves. Indeed, the European Commission, in its antitrust investigation of Google, is looking into whether Google favors its own services in its search results, to the detriment of would-be rivals.

“Their ability to build scale or users has to be quicker than Google’s ability to innovate and incorporate such features,” said Chris Whitelaw, chief operating officer of the British arm of iProspect, a digital marketing agency. “I think Daybees probably has a window of opportunity, but they need to use it, otherwise Google will pinch their lunch.”

For many start-ups, including vertical search firms, getting on the radar screen of Google, Facebook or another Internet giant is exactly the point. That way, even if revenue proves difficult to generate, there is always the possibility of another way to cash in — a takeover.

“For some of these companies, the business model seems to be, How can we best annoy Facebook?” said Andreas Pouros, chief operating officer of Greenlight, a search advertising agency in London.

Mr. Morris, a Briton with a background in the television business, and Mr. Molasky say their focus for now is on building the business. They developed the algorithms that drive the search engine in-house, with a small team of engineers.

The site lists some American events, and Daybees plans to have a U.S.-focused site within six months, Mr. Molasky said. The name Daybees, he said, comes from the fact that “we are all busy bees, and it’s about filling your day.”

Article source:

Bucks Blog: An Option for All That Halloween Candy

If you work at home, like me, and have children, like me, you are perhaps struggling (or will be soon if you live in the area hit by Hurricane Sandy) to stay away from their giant bags laden with Halloween candy. As always, the Milky Ways are calling my name.

So you may be interested to know about a program called “Halloween Candy Buyback.” Under the program, dentists across the country agree to take your children’s excess candy, and forward it on to “Operation Gratitude,” a nonprofit group that packs it into care packages for United States troops serving overseas.

Some dentists offer a financial incentive, like paying youngsters a dollar a pound, while others simply take the candy off your hands. You can find participating dentists by going to the Web site and typing in your ZIP code. (It’s always best to call ahead before showing up with your collection, to find out details and to confirm the deadline for dropping off the candy.)

If no dentists in your area are participating, you can still ship the candy yourself to Operation Gratitude. (No financial incentives are offered for this option, and the shipping costs are on you.) Organizers ask that you separate chocolate from nonchocolate candy, to avoid problems with melting.

Candy collected from the Halloween drive ends up in packages that arrive for the December holidays, said Rich Hernandez, who helps oversee operations for Operation Gratitude in Los Angeles. He said he expected to begin receiving hundreds of boxes of candy daily, starting next week. While many troops are coming home, there are still thousands of service men and women in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Africa and aboard aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region, he said.

What are you doing with all of that Halloween candy? Do you plan to keep it all?

Article source: