Staying around town during the weekend and your dinner plans have fallen through? Turning to the printed page might not turn up many attractive alternatives, unless you live in a big city such as New York, London, or Paris and have access to magazines like Time Out or Pariscope. A Google search could present the opposite problem: too many events in too many places at too many times.
That is the proposition behind a new website called Daybees, which went live in Britain last month and plans to expand to the United States and other countries soon. Daybees calls itself ‘‘the world’s largest events search engine,’’ with a database of more than 1.5 million happenings of all kinds, whether Bon Jovi concerts or bake sales.
Daybees is among a growing number of ‘‘vertical search’’ engines, which aim to carve out a niche for themselves in the lucrative online search business, an area dominated by Google and coveted by other Internet giants such as Microsoft and Facebook.
In areas such as online shopping, travel, or real estate, vertical search sites are well established. But Daybees maintains it is the first site, at least in the English-speaking world, to offer such a comprehensive listing of entertainment options without being tied in to any commercial arrangements with the organizers.
While 1.5 million might sound like a lot of events, Daybees lets people fine-tune their searches for things to do by keyword, by location, or by time and date. And Daybees argues that its results are more focused than those turned up by Google.
‘‘I love Google,’’ said Gary Morris, founder and chief executive of Daybees. ‘‘I use it umpteen times a day. But if I want to find an event that’s taking place at a certain time on a certain day, 2,000 feet from my front door or wherever, it’s impossible.’’
While companies such as Ticketmaster operate online listings, these tend to be limited to events with which the companies have commercial arrangements. Daybees says it is independent, and gets no commissions — at least not yet — though it does offer links to ticket sites.
Independence comes at a price. So far Daybees, set up with an investment of about $1 million from Morris and Andrew Molasky, a partner and director, earns no revenue. Not only does it not accept commissions, it also has eschewed advertising. Morris, a Briton with a background in the television business, and Molasky said advertising was a possibility, along with partnerships with ticket-selling firms, but added that they wanted to establish the site first.
‘‘It doesn’t mean we don’t have a profit motive,’’ said Molasky, a Las Vegas real estate developer with a background in the entertainment business. ‘‘Our approach is, if you build it, it will come.’’
That approach has fed the imaginations of countless start-up founders — and dashed the dreams of almost as many.
For many start-ups, including vertical search firms, getting on the radar screen of Google, Facebook, or another Internet giant is exactly the point. That way, even if revenue proves difficult to generate, there is always the possibility of a takeover.