Verity on Thursday rolled out Verity Enterprise Web Search, a software add-on to its K2 Enterprise and Ultraseek system that lets enterprise merge internal search results with results from Yahoos Web index.
But the add-on has a twist. While Verity and other enterprise search players typically earn revenue by selling software and services, Verity, in this case, will earn a share of the revenue Yahoo receives from Veritys enterprise users clicking on the sponsored links that appear alongside Web results, Verity officials told eWEEK.com.
"For us, it represents a departure from the licensed software model because we will play in pay-for-placement stream as well," said Prabhakar Raghavan, chief technology officer at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Verity.
Yahoo, also based in Sunnyvale, offers advertising through its Overture Services division. Along with sponsored search listings, it receives click-based revenue from Web sites that pay to be included in its Web index.
Verity Enterprise Web Search is the first product launched from Veritys partnership with Yahoo. Raghavan said Verity has an exclusive, one-year deal with Yahoo to use Yahoo Search for Web results.
The goal of the product is to make it easier for enterprise users to find both enterprise and Web information from a common query and search client, Raghavan said.
The partnership, so far, ties together two of three common searches—the information from such enterprise systems as content management that Verity retrieves and Web results from Yahoo, Raghavan said. A third area is the desktop search, which Verity does not yet provide.
Enterprises users increasingly are seeking a way to retrieve information from fewer interfaces, and the Verity-Yahoo partnership is part of a growing trend among vendors to merge search into one place, said Susan Feldman, a research vice president at market researcher IDC, in Framingham, Mass.
"A single point of access to all information is a very high priority for information workers and the enterprise," Feldman said. "They want to get at their stuff and anything related to it from the same interface and to not have to go to 20 different places."
Feldman called Veritys decision to earn pay-per-click revenue a smart business move and said she doubted it would upset customers as long as Verity provides enough security controls around which queries leave the enterprise.
"Its really clever," she said. "Theres big money to be made in the sponsored link market."
Verity Web Search does tie into many of the enterprise features of Veritys K2 and Ultraseek platforms, including their security features, Raghavan said.
Users also can restrict searches to only enterprise information if they are conducting sensitive queries. When they choose to include Web searches, the results either can be co-mingled with enterprise results or sorted out separately, Raghavan said.
Enterprises also can choose to have Web results dynamically classified into corporate taxonomies.
For its part, Yahoo no longer directly sells software and services to enterprise customers. The company late in 2003 shuttered its enterprise group and then earlier this year stopped offering a business-focused version of its Yahoo Messenger instant-messaging service.
Now, the company appears to be taking a partnership approach to the enterprise. In a statement, Yahoo officials said they foresee an increased need for integrated search products.
"Search technology continues to evolve, providing users with even more powerful research tools, and as content across the Web become richer, we anticipate that the demand for integrated business search solutions will continue to grow," Tim Cadogan, vice president of Yahoo Search, said in a statement.