Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ZoomInfo spins off 'bizographic' platform for controlled circulation online advertising play

Business information provider ZoomInfo has spun off its advertising business units in a new company, Bizo, offering a targeted B2B advertising platform, or what it calls "bizographic" advertising.

Privately held and venture-backed ZoomInfo, Waltham, Mass., announced a new set of business segments last fall, but has now taken the additional step of spinning the unit out. Former general manager and senior vice president Russell Glass will serve as CEO of the new company, which is expected to launch later this year. [Disclosure: ZoomInfo has been a sponsor of some BriefingsDirect B2B podcasts and videocasts that I have produced.]

Bizographic advertising, as ZoomInfo explains it, provides highly targeted demographic and behavioral advertising, allowing marketers to target their online advertising based on the audience of a site instead of the content.

For example, if a company wants to reach technology decision makers for an IT product offering or high-income individuals for a platinum credit card offer, it could use bizographic advertising to target directors of IT or CEOs respectively.

The field has heated up recently as CBS intends to acquire CNET (parent company of this blog's host, ZDNet) and it's BNET division, which also slices and dices audiences by work and functional definitions for the benefit of advertising targeting. Could Bizo also be on the block?

According to ZoomInfo officials, Bizo will continue to leverage the company’s understanding of business people and companies to allow marketers to target business users based on thousands of segmenting possibilities, including combinations of title, company, industry, functional area, company size, education, location, etc. The company expects over 20 million targetable business users in its network, when it launches.

Bryan Burdick, ZoomInfo's president explained the move:

"While B2B advertising is complimentary to ZoomInfo’s business, the market has been starved for the ability to target business professionals online. Creating a new business in order to meet that need was an ideal solution for us."

I gave my readers a head's up on what I called "controlled circulation advertising" last December, referring specifically to ZoomInfo:

ZoomInfo is but scratching the surface of what can be an auspicious third (but robust) leg on the B2B web knowledge access stool. By satisfying both seekers and providers of B2B information on business needs, ZoomInfo can generate web page real estate that is sold at the high premiums we used to see in the magazine controlled circulation days. Occupational-based searches for goods, information, insights and ongoing buying activities is creating the new B2B controlled circulation model.

ZoomInfo, a business information search engine, finds information about industries, companies, people, products and services. The company’s semantic search engine continually crawls millions of company Websites, news feeds and other online sources to identify company and people information, which is then organized into profiles.

ZoomInfo currently has profiles on nearly 40 million people and over 4 million companies, and its search engine adds more than 20,000 new profiles every day.