San Francisco vs. New York? Compare Stuff on FindTheBest

October 5, 2012

1:00 pm

FindTheBest is the ultimate comparison site: you can compare cities, compare smartphones, or even compare ping pong tables. Here’s what it looks like:

Founded in 2009, FindTheBest is led by cofounder and CEO Kevin O’Connor, who also started DoubleClick (acquired by Google). He and his 65-person team try to figure out what information consumers want and track it down. They get data from government and private databases, businesses, expert ratings, and even users themselves.

This has led to over 10 million monthly visitors and serious money-making potential. O’Connor and his team have their finger on the pulse of what information people want, in real time. For example, consumers were looking for FM receivers in their smartphones last year. They were searching for mercury levels in fish, and subsidized housing. They wanted to know whether a certain World Cup player was gay. And FindTheBest can unearth hidden insights: around the Octomom hubbub, they discovered that her doctor had a high rate of multiple births.

Trends like these are incredibly useful to advertisers and product makers. That’s because FindTheBest takes a snapshot of “purchase intent”: which products consumers might buy and which features are most important.

“There’s lot of noise in data,” says O’Connor. “Really, the trick is to find out what’s the signal, what’s the really strong signal that’s coming out, what predicts consumers’ behavior.”

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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