FindTheBest upgrades with even more visual comparisons of almost everything

FindTheBest, an information site that lets shoppers compare everything from apartments to dogs to venture capitalists, is unveiling a new design.

The new look, created by design firm KKLD, aims to cut through the sometimes cluttered and text-heavy datasets that are FindTheBest’s bread and butter.

“Like any product, you keep adding new features and new features and it winds up looking like Frankenstein over time,” said founder Kevin O’Connor in an interview at VentureBeat’s offices. The new design is aimed at making comparisons clearer, more iconic, more graphical and easier to understand at a glance.

For example, on smartphone ratings, the comparison grids include colored bars to show how many megapixels the camera has and colored clock circles to show how many hours of talk time the battery is rated for. But on college ratings, the charts show pyramids to indicate how well-rated the college is.

It’s a much more approachable representation of the data than FindTheBest’s previous text-centric tables.

The site is built on a Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP foundation (LAMP) running on Amazon Web Services. The underlying technology took two years and a $2 million investment to build. It is aimed at making it easy to create new comparisons and fill them with relevant data, and O’Connor boasts that his company can now add a new topic in about a week at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000.

The site now includes over 700 different comparisons in nine major categories. Each comparison has its own unique data structure, to facilitate comparisons and filtering that’s relevant to that particular class of products, and the data comes from public sources, researched by FindTheBest’s staff.

FindTheBest’s website now gets 3 million visitors per month, a figure that is growing by about 15 percent each month, the company says. It also syndicates subsets of its data to about 50 partner sites. The company has begun to make money from Google AdSense advertisements and from “Buy Now” buttons connected to Amazon.com and Nextag.

O’Connor claims that 15 percent of the site’s visitors go on to visit, call or e-mail one of the vendors listed in the database, a remarkable click-through rate that bodes well for the company’s future revenue prospects.

FindTheBest has raised $6.76 million to date, including a $6 million first institutional round from Kleiner Perkins in July, 2011. The company is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. and New York.

O’Connor sold his previous startup, ad network DoubleClick, to Google in 2007 for $3.1 billion.

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