DirectoryM Changes Name to nSphere, Highlights Data-Aggregating Focus
Boston-based DirectoryM hasn’t been living up to its name for a few years now, and the company is re-branding itself today with the name nSphere.
Its aim is “connecting databases and making them available to users searching for information online,” says chief operating officer Jean-Eric Penicaud. The company’s technology pulls information from about 10,000 databases and 1,700 media sites and compiles it in a single Web page that can be hosted on sites such as financial advice publisher Kiplinger or New Lifestyles, a publisher of information on senior citizen residence and care options.
For example, if you were to search the Web for information on retirement planning in Boston, you could find a page on Kiplinger powered by nSphere’s engine that includes the data and expert articles produced by the publication, as well as listings for financial services firms in the area. The company isn’t out to replace search engines like Google, but instead organize the information that could show up at multiple sites as a result of a search on specific topics, particularly those with a hyper-local focus.
Average users may not know to search Kiplinger directly as a source on this content, but the information nSphere gathers helps it more precisely match search terms and show up on search engine results pages, Penicaud says. NSphere also enlists experts such as subject enthusiasts or local correspondents to provide information to be featured on a subject’s nSphere results. Its revenue comes from the local advertisements that its content partners provide, so nSphere doesn’t have its own advertising sales team.
Because it’s in the back-end business, the company has largely been able to operate with the name that more accurately reflects its old focus of providing online directories. Its new branding is designed to represent its aim of organizing spheres of data, especially as the company aims to grow and acquire new partners, Penicaud says. “We want to reflect what we do all day,” he says.
The company’s founders re-acquired the startup from its VC investors in 2007, in order to better shape it into a business focused on organizing data and information on the Web, rather than remaining a source of online directories, says Penicaud. It officially relaunched in 2008.