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Ask.com takes over Interactive Search
MyWay, IWon, Excite, etc...

 1:29 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Online search engine Ask Jeeves is paying $343 million for a family of popular Web sites that includes Excite.com and iWon.com, bulking up the company as it vies to wrest market share away from industry leaders Google and Yahoo.

Ask Jeeves will double in size with the acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings, ...

Very good move on Ask's part. Interactive, too.



 1:35 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

An interesting move there by Ask Jeeves.

Looks like iWon and Myway.com will be changing to Teoma results then.

Just as importantly to Ask Jeeves, the Interactive Search properties processed 700 million search requests during the fourth quarter, slightly more than the 680 million search queries handled by Ask Jeeves.

Based on those figures, Ask Jeeves' share of the search market should climb to about 7%, estimated Steve Berkowitz, the company's chief executive officer.

Maybe not as high as 7% IMO but certainly getting near that level.


 1:42 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would suggest that Ask Jeeves already has approximately 7% market share in the UK, but these acquisitions won't make as big a difference over here as in the US.


 4:04 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

...but these acquisitions won't make as big a difference over here as in the US.

AJ couldn't grow their market share beyond 2.5-3.5% so they decided to buy their way in. Good move.

I wonder how the Excite, etc. demographic will like Teoma? My gut feeling is it'll be a good match in that the ISH users probably won't flee.

"Together, Ask Jeeves and Interactive Search Holdings will have
substantially more traffic and advertising inventory, which we believe
will increase our value to advertisers and partners," added Bill
Daugherty, co-CEO and founder of Interactive Search Holdings.

Yes and no. While Jeeve's demographic is a very desirable one, who are using Iwon.com and Excite? Do they buy or are they just looking?

I need more information please! ;)


 4:21 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow - first the phasing out of PFI, now this.

While there is still a ways to go to catch-up, Ask definately seems on an up-trend for utility and respect, while Yahoo and Google are on a downward trend.

Stock market likes the news to with price up about 30% now.

Congrats to the kids in the 5-1-0.


 4:33 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excite and iWon demographics [excitenetwork.com]:

  • iWon delivers a mainstream audience of Adults 25-54 (62%) that skew female.
  • Excite offers... Adults 18-49 (60%) that skew male.

The Excite numbers are pretty broad (Gen X and Y plus Boomer males). Information please! ;)

The iWon numbers resemble AJ's traditional user base.

One exciting aspect of the portal purchases is the opportunity for User Targeting [excitenetwork.com] that is close to the Yahoo! model. Advertisers can target based on what section of the portal the user is in (financial, beauty, etc), or by self-disclosed user information.



 6:02 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

The scuttlebutt is that Ask is very strong with women and kids in their demos.

What's cool for Ask on this is they now have a news play with MyWay and iWon.


 6:06 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

cool. I'm in Teoma.


 6:24 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting reading, bet the people at SES New York are sucking it all in.

However there was some interesting demographics in the reading.

Interactive = Jan monthly users = 23.8M ---- 4th quarter Searches processed = 700 million
Ask network = Jan monthly users = 15.6M ---- 4th quarter Searches processed = 680 million

Infers that Asks network of sites has a more stickier appeal and recurring audience.

Most of the ads, ironically, are delivered to Ask Jeeves sites by Google, which shares in the revenue.

This has to be the next big move, hence the acquisition and/or in house breeding of a CPC/PPC program so that they can drop G Adwords, and consequently not contribute to G fortunes. And build there own network wide program spanning Excite, Iwon, Ask and other sites.

"The foundation of a great business on the Web is search,"

lets see how it works out!

MB, -> AJ couldn't grow their market share beyond 2.5-3.5%

This is a growing figure, though pciking at straws, they have been growing their search audience and market share by big percentages year on year, though compared too the biggies, nothing for them to worry about.


 6:46 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>though picking at straws

Agreed. Traffic figures can be sliced and diced any which way to represent whatever you care to represent.

Their year over year "queries" have improved 2003 over 2002 by 38%, and unique users increased by 20%. Yet according to their own cited figures, AJ still maintained a 3.1% market share.

So... depending on how you pick at the straws, their overall market share has either remained steady or grown by a modest percentage of a percentage point.

From their recent SEC Filing [irconnect.com]:
Traffic, as measured by queries on our proprietary sites, increased 38% in 2003 compared to 2002... Our increase in queries was caused by increases in both unique users and user frequency, each of which increased by approximately 20% in 2003 compared to 2002... Our market shares according to research data from ComScore Networks, represented 3.1% (as of November 2003) of U.S. searches.

Also, since iWon was already a search distribution partner, there may not be too much of a change for their current user base.

One thing I don't know is if their 20% increase numbers are counting the iWon traffic (iWon is already a search distribution partner). If so, then their 3% total market share growth claim may be inflated.

Ok, just throwing that out there as food for thought.


 7:02 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ask.com sure has had a surge of changes within the past 24-48 hours. I think this is an interesting change to the search engine world and I can't wait to see how Google and Yahoo respond.


 10:05 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Also, since iWon was already a search distribution partner, there may not be too much of a change for their current user base.

Hi MB,

Looks like iWon is using Google right now. Although, Ask appears on the Excite meta search and as a tab (but not default) on the others.

It will be interesting to how the lineup of engines on these portals changes or if they will go to 100% Ask.


 10:29 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Ask.com sure has had a surge of changes within the past 24-48 hours."

Maybe next they might even crawl the Internet.


 10:55 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're right, Brad. I meant to say Excite. AJ licenses their technology to Excite.


 2:27 am on Mar 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Search is a damn exciting industry at the moment!


 7:55 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

steveb says:
Maybe next they might even crawl the Internet.


HAVE they done an update in 2004?


 2:44 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

not that i have seen, i can still find orphans in the db from 3rd quarter 2K3. No other SE displays them in serps, but i do not delete, as you never know AJ and its recent acquisition may make it become somewhat of a serious player - no more ****ing and moaning at the lack of traffic - well have to see!


 3:09 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>HAVE they done an update in 2004?

Yes, about two weeks ago. But as Caine mentioned, a lot of the new data is from an old snapshot. Stale data. That's why you'll find pages in Ask Jeeves that no longer exist.

This is Ask Jeeve's typical way of presenting the web. If you ask Paul Gardi about this (and I have), he'll encourage you to PFI for freshness...

I suspect that the problem is the computational muscle needed to analyze the internet's link structures is beyond their ability to accomplish it efficiently. If AJ had the technology they'd be able to roll out a new snapshot more often than twice a year.

This is the fundamental flaw about Teoma/AJ that the stock pushers and the media overlook: AJ's snapshot of the web is old and stale [webmasterworld.com].


 3:48 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)


fair comment mate, big increases for AJ, though in a user base that is also increasing!


 9:26 am on Mar 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe they might be planning to change their name to 'Talk to Jeeves, Inc.' and open a web portal with all those fancy products worth $343m?


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