IQ News: Lycos, mySimon Tout New User Guides

Search powerhouse Lycos and shopping bot mySimon both inked deals with Active Research which they hope will not only provide added value and much coveted stickiness to their sites, but provide yet another source of detailed market research data for them to mine.
Active Research, San Francisco, is a provider of Web-based market research and automated search services that, from a consumer standpoint, provide content on products through its Active Buyer’s Guide, located at the dot-com URL of the same name or as a private label back-end option on other sites. From a research standpoint, the Guide helps gather data on consumer behavior, which is then sold to marketers.
The Guide takes users through a series of questions that help them narrow choices. (Everything from DVDs to vacuums are listed.) Manufacturers provide detailed descriptions of products and the site then offers links to retailers. The site even searches auction mainstay eBay to find what items up for bid might match user criteria.
The Lycos deal, the early stages of which took effect a few months ago, will be announced officially today. Rather than provide consumer electronic data or appliance run-downs, Lycos has commissioned Active Research to create lifestyle guides that allow users to determine things like the perfectly matched pet or the ideal city to move to.
According to Lycos product manager Mike Genstil, the search giant wanted to try out the guides before announcing and expanding any deals. Attracted to what Genstil calls the Guide’s “traction,” Lycos is now planning to add more. In the works: a date finder to help romantics plan the perfect night out, an option to narrow your search for the perfect national park in which to vacation and a guide to choose an online broker.
MySimon in late August will begin utilizing the Guide in a more traditional manner, to help consumers decide exactly what to buy before sending the mySimon shopping bot scurrying across the Web for deals. This marks the first in a series of new features for the site.
“Being an unbiased shopping site is very important to mySimon,” said Josh Goldman, mySimon President and CEO. “It’s something we take very seriously. The Active Buyer’s Guide fits in with our vision, because it helps shoppers determine what they want without being self-serving.”
Both Santa Clara, Calif.-based mySimon and Waltham, Mass.-based Lycos will share ad revenue with Active Research, which will offer the data it gathers to each respective site.
“Lycos represents the real flexibility of our approach,” said Active Research CEO Tom DuBois, adding that the combination of the 2-year-old Active Research and “mySimon really represents the next generation of shopping.”