On The Web, May 2004

A Search Engine For Us GlobalSpec ( Columns From: 5/1/2004 Modern Machine Shop, ,

A Search Engine For Us

GlobalSpec (www.globalspec.com) was launched in 1999 to connect buyers and sellers of industrial products and parts. Initially, the site was an online directory comparable to Thomas Register, but it has pushed the envelope way beyond that model.

The newly launched GlobalSpec site is now billed as “The Engineering Search Engine.” Through partnerships, online technical prowess and domain expertise (these guys are former engineers), the site now resembles a portal more than a directory. Visitors can peruse through massive collections of standards, patents, applications notes and materials properties to satisfy specific technical requirements.

But it’s what the site has done with its search engine that should grab your attention. GlobalSpec has launched what amounts to Google For Us—an index-driven search engine that searches the “Manufacturing Web” and provides returns only from manufacturing-related sites. In other words, it doesn’t “see” or include the consumer-based Web, which prevents us from rifling through returns about “that” grinding rather than the “centerless grinding” we were actually looking for. Go to the site and perform a few searches; you will be impressed with the collections you receive, the format and the ease-of-use.

Google, Yahoo! and MSN are about to embark on an all-out war against one another to establish which is the world’s best search engine. But they will likely overlook what GlobalSpec has done. The big boys think that algorithms and automated paid placement will provide the level of detail that folks such as machining professionals need, but the reality is that specificity and domain experience—relevance—will win the day in search.

As you become more familiar with them—and you will—please try to refrain from referring to them as GoogleSpec. It’ll be hard, but at least try.

Job Shop Site Of The Month

Quickparts.com (www.quickparts.com) was founded in 2000. It is a custom manufacturer with an advanced Web presence built to streamline the collaboration between prospective buyers and the shop. Quickparts.com does this through several methods, including proprietary software, an “instant RFQ,” a “Chat with an Engineer” utility (which allows visitors to speak real-time with an applications engineer) and e-mail utilities. This site is “all that” when it comes to demonstrating how to enable a Web site to shorten the RFQ cycle. (And in case you see its software as the message, many of the communicative elements of Quickparts.com can be emulated with off-the-shelf solutions.) The site should be required viewing for those involved in the development of their own shops’ sites.

To have your site considered for Job Shop Site Of The Month, send your URL to otw@mmsonline.com.

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