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SPECIAL REPORT: MAKING MONEY ON THE INTERNET

Lining Up for Listings

March 31, 1997|JACLYN EASTON

One of the toughest ways to make money on the Internet is in publishing, and especially in the crowded field of search services and directory publishing. But ComFind, based in Winnetka, is achieving success by carving a niche as an international yellow pages with the features of a search engine.

Launched with $90,000 in September 1995, ComFind has amassed a global directory of 8 million listings from 180 countries, linked to 190,000 commercial Web sites. Businesses are registering for their free listing at a rate of 1,000 a day.

Revenue is generated from the 3% of registrants who opt for a fee-based premium listing that includes priority placement in search results, bolding and other promotional considerations. These upgrades begin at $75, with the average cost $125.

Although ComFind has achieved the profitability it hoped for, it didn't happen quite the way it expected.

The first false start was assuming businesses would pay a subscription fee to be listed. It took some refining to figure out exactly what kinds of things customers would pay for.

ComFind is at http://comfind.com

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