For contractors, architects, and building owners in search of specific construction software, finding the right program can be much like Internet dating. It's easy, anonymous, and based on a computer-generated cross-reference or filter of user compatibility factors. A sort of for the construction industry, makes software selection possible in three easy steps: search, compare, and contact. But unlike popular Internet dating services, this tool won't cost you a dime upfront — until you decide to buy, that is.

Launched in July of last year, the founders of Software Advice, Big Sky, Mont., unveiled this online construction resource to help contractors find the right software for their businesses. Providing information for software selection and implementation as well as detailed software product profiles, white papers, side-by-side comparisons, and interactive community forms, the site's premise is to connect buyers and sellers. Using a sophisticated software search capability, the site recommends products based on a visitor's industry, trade, company size, and specific functional requirements.

According to Don Fornes, founder and CEO of Software Advice, only when a match is made — when his site refers a potential customer to a participating software vendor that meets its criteria — does his firm get paid. That's why the service does not recommend one company over another. The decision to inquire about a particular product is up to the end-user.

“Basically, we help someone get from deciding to look at new software — someone that's Googling electrical contracting software, for example — to a list of three to five vendors they should be talking to,” says Fornes.