FindTheBest is a structured data directory or discovery tool for comparing products, services and entities in a wide array of categories such as Travel, Health, Education, Finance and Home & Garden among others. It looks very much like a “search engine” but founder Kevin O’Connor argues it’s much more efficient and effective than general search because of the wealth of structured data under the hood.
The site has evolved considerably over the course of its four years of existence. To distinguish it from conventional search it was initially called a “decision engine” (like Bing) and then a “comparison engine,” emphasizing the ability to compare structured data attributes on the site. It was also described at one point to me as an “anti-search engine.”
Now it’s being called a “research engine.”
The site’s latest iteration adds real estate to the categories it covers. With the launch of its Homes vertical search site, FindTheBest believes it can successfully compete against Trulia and Zillow, arguably the two leading real estate sites. FindTheBest says it offers more data and more categories of data than either competitor.
A quick comparison of FindTheBest, Zillow and Trulia for the same listings shows that all three have similar categories of information about the neighborhood, schools, purchase/sale histories and mortgage calculators. They all offer similar functionality (sort, filter). In addition, the core listings details and images on the sites are comparable.
FindTheBest does have some additional categories of information that the others don’t (e.g., weather, demographics, natural disaster risk assessment). However these are somewhat peripheral to the core buyer criteria (location, price, attributes, schools).
The principal meaningful difference between the sites is the ability to compare properties on FindTheBest, which Zillow and Trulia don’t offer (though Trulia previously did).
It’s likely that people will discover FindTheBest Homes and it will become one of a small set of real estate sites people use (roughly three) in their home-search process. If that turns out to be true it will be an impressive accomplishment for FindTheBest, which has a relatively small headcount compared with Trulia and especially Zillow, both of which are public companies.