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GuruNet Corp. on Friday launched on Answers.com shopping service powered by product-comparison site Shopping.com, the first move by GuruNet to diversify the offerings on its search engine.
Answers.com takes a different approach than traditional search engines, providing encyclopedic answers to queries instead of a list of web pages.
As a niche player in a market dominated by such heavyweights as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Yahoo Inc., GuruNet, based in Wesley, N.Y., is looking for new services that it can build around its unique search engine.
In March, Answers.com launched text advertising related to search results
"We feel at this point that our reference content is very strong," GuruNet spokesman Jay Bailey said. "We don't get a lot of complaints about the content, so we're confident that that's going well. The next step is diversification into these other areas."
GuruNet has not been profitable since at least 2002. In the first quarter of this year, it reported a loss of $1.5 million on revenues of $176,000, compared with a loss of $1.7 million on revenues of $20,000 for the same period a year ago.
In January, GuruNet dropped the subscription model for its product, which was sold as a desktop application for $30 a year, opting instead to try to make money in the growing Internet advertising market. The company at the time said its old business model was no longer viable, because consumers could search the web for free.
GuruNet now offers its desktop software at no charge, adding text-based ad links to generate revenue.
With the new service, people can go to a link on the homepage that lets them type in a word, such as digital cameras, and get the results through Shopping.com, which lists products, including features and prices, from multiple vendors.
GuruNet last year announced a deal with online retail giant Amazon.com, which has integrated the company's service within Amazon's A9 search engine