Language English

Launched 2000
Closed 2009

Developer graduate students and professors at Brown University in Providence, RI

Country of Origin US America

2000 - 2000
2000 - 2002 Netzero
2002 - 2003 Search123
2003 - 2009 ValueClick, Inc.

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Semantic search

Used SeEn

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Our History: »Simpli was founded in 1999 by a group of graduate students and professors in the Cognitive Science and Linguistics Department at Brown University in Providence, RI. Their purpose was to improve the Internet search experience by closing the gap between the user intention as expressed in the initial search query and the results presented by the search engine. Approaching the problem from a linguistic and cognitive science perspective, the Simpli team developed an extensive proprietary knowledge base that created relationships between words and concepts and among words. The initial prototype became the basis for the Simpli technology, which was successfully deployed in 2000. In late 2000, Netzero (NASDAQ: UNTD), the free ISP based in Westlake Village, CA, acquired Simpli and deployed its technology to categorize web pages by user intent, enabling an early form of contextual targeting for banner advertising. In April 2002, Search123, a pay-per-click search engine also based in Westlake Village, CA, acquired Simpli from Netzero with the purpose of deploying a better methodology for refining queries and mapping users with the right search results. Since being acquired by ValueClick, Inc. (NASDAQ: VCLK) in May 2003, the Search123 team has been working on improving the overall search experience on Simpli by leveraging a highly scalable meta-engine platform that draws search results from the best paid and organic search engines on the Web and integrating the next generation of Simpli’s technology.« Source

Paula J. Hane (1999): »The other interesting company tackling word ambiguity,, Inc., has just announced SimpliFind, a patent-pending proprietary search technology for improving Internet search results. The technology is currently in beta testing and, according to a company representative, "the developers are working aggressively on making it available to the general public as soon as possible." The real target market, however, will probably prove to be portals and search engines that would license the technology as a front end for improving search queries. Oingo, at this time, is tied to a specific database (the ODP), while SimpliFind is designed to work on any database with any information system.

SimpliFind incorporates two main options: a simple search option with "interactive query disambiguation," and an advanced search option with multiple fields. When you enter a term into the search field in a simple search, SimpliFind retrieves a list of meanings from its database (built from WordNet) and generates a pull-down menu. Users then select the appropriate meaning or enter a new meaning. For terms not in the database, users are prompted to provide a meaning, which SimpliFind learns and uses for all subsequent visits. The advanced search provides two additional text fields for multiple query terms, designed to encourage users to enter more information. Words related to the search term and its indicated meaning are used to expand the query (such as mocha and espresso for the term java, with coffee as its meaning) and are then used to prioritize the results. Search results are then based on meanings of words and the context. has been able to expand the original WordNet lexicon, creating literally millions of word associations and meanings while at the same time refining the process for increased ease of use. Various enhancements and innovations related to the management team's expertise in linguistics, cognitive science, and computer sciences have been created to develop a highly relevant and scalable system to search for information. According to the company, it's these added capabilities that make SimpliFind so innovative and something that will only get better with time and more usage. will be discussing relationships with search engines, portals, and companies that need highly relevant search capabilities.

The company was created several years ago by chairman and CEO Jeffrey Stibel, drawing on a combination of his undergraduate and Ph.D.-level work and real-world Internet/business experience. He incorporated it as in the late spring of 1999. Currently is privately held. A round of capital was raised from various angel investors, board members, advisors, and employees, and the company is in the process of seeking additional venture capital. The Providence, Rhode Island-based company now has 20 full-time and 18 part-time employees.« Source

Greg Nottes (March 2000): » offers another technology for narrowing search terms to the proper context. It is currently available in beta for public view on its site. In an interesting user interface twist, a searcher enters a term and then the drop-down menu to the right offers the alternate choices for context.« Source


Critical points

Features & Functionality


References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

Paula J. Hane (1999): Beyond Keyword Searching—Oingo and Introduce Meaning-Based Searching URL:
Vlatko Ceric (2000): New Methods and Tools for the World Wide Web Search URL:
Bhattacharya et al. (2002): A Multi-Lingual, Meaning Based Search Engine URL:
SHARON CLEARY (2000): NetZero Plans to Acquire Simpli in Cash, Stock Deal URL:
Technical White Papers URL:

Created: 2018-07-15