Thomas Debuts Online Industrial Search Engine adds search capabilities intended to help industrial buyers find products more quickly and easily adds search capabilities intended to help industrial buyers find products more quickly and easily

New York — August 24, 2004 — Thomas Industrial Network, an online provider of Internet sourcing and marketing solutions for industrial buyers and sellers, has launched its new Web site,, offering features intended to help industrial buyers find the exact products and companies they need quickly and easily.

"The future of business sourcing and search will be owned by and dominated by specialized Web-based sites that are designed, created and managed by sophisticated subject matter experts," said Eileen Markowitz, president of Thomas Industrial Network, adding, "The launch of is a major step in that direction."

As Thomas sees it, the landscape of search is poised for evolution. Research by Thomas Industrial Network suggests that today's dominant search strategies, which provide extremely general results sets, will lose ground against more specialized search providers who supply very precise results. Thomas believes that its, based on the specialized industrial databases of Thomas Register and Thomas Regional, will meet this need for greater precision.

The industrial marketplace is a prime example of buyer demand for content-specific, Web-based information. The demand for detailed product specifications, parts, drawings and company descriptions on the Internet creates the need for an extraordinary amount of information organized and categorized in a manner that is both logical and easy to find for the potential buyer.

During 2003 and 2004 Thomas conducted online research to identify the top needs of industrial buyers. The buyer surveys revealed that 51 percent of responding industrial buyers wanted the ability to search locally; 50 percent wanted to refine their search by manufacturer, distributor or service company; 68 percent wanted to find links to supplier Web sites; 68 percent wanted to find product catalogs; and 55 percent wanted a consistent format for supplier information.

That said, Thomas emphasized that the design of was based on fulfilling the needs of both industrial buyers and sellers. Features and functionality that Thomas is highlighting include:

  • Local search — allows industrial buyers to find the right suppliers, distributors and service companies they need, whether that's across town or across the country.

  • Industrial focus — the editorial content is entirely industrialm including manufacturers, distributors and service providers.

  • In-depth content, industrial-specific, detailed technical information, with more than 20 million CAD drawings, access to over 650,000 distributors, manufacturers and service companies classified in over 67,000 product and service categories.

  • Customization — the ability to modify search results, save profiles, and e-mail potential suppliers.

  • Industrial product news, customizable by category.

  • Integrated search technology platform that connects buyers to the relevant and deep industrial information they seek online.
"Industrial buyers benefit from the integration of these features into a single destination site for industrial sourcing and specifying, where they can find exactly what they want, who can supply it, and initiate contact," Thomas said in a statement.

In an interview, Monica Lavin, executive director for Web initiatives at Thomas Industrial Networks, noted that the search criteria included in the allow buyers and engineers to identify, for example, minority-, women- or veteran-owned businesses, companies with specific certifications (such as ISO), or potential suppliers that are serving specific geographic regions. Other features to increase the user-friendliness of the online catalog include a listing of recent searches and the ability to save searches.

"We're providing users with a variety of tools to let them browse and drill deep into our content," Lavin said.

Thomas said that sellers benefit from the new site because they can be discovered by large numbers of qualified industrial buyers quickly and easily, and they can present the information needed to facilitate a sale. "Sellers are matched to prospective customers at the critical moment these companies are making a buying decision," Thomas said in the statement.

Thomas, of course, has been famous for years for its industrial catalogs. But now the company has devoted significant effort to shifting its emphasis to the Web. "We are an Internet company," Lavin said, noting that 80 percent of the company's revenue is now coming from its online operation. Lavin, added, though, that the company will continue publishing its print catalogs as long as demand for the books continues.