here's the link to the new york times article:
This has been in the works since October 2003, check out this post [webmasterworld.com].
I believe that IAC/CitySearch is an Overture partner. Anybody want to discuss if this will have an impact on whose blizzard of paid results AJ will show in their serps?
Anyone know if it's even a possibility for ASKJ to dump Google with all that time left on their contract?
BBC Report [news.bbc.co.uk] - nothing new in it - but getting widespread media attention.
I wonder what Dillers game plan is. He seems to be buying random companies. HSN, Ticketmaster, Ask Jeeves, City search, match.com.
|He seems to be buying random companies. |
Diller is an aggregator of personal data. He buys companies that add to that and that are easily monetized -
travel, real estate, finance, dating, etc.
I suspect that buying a search engine is more about the data that it yields than the ability to give his sites a boost. AJs market share isnt enough to give IAC that much of a boost if they did massage the serps a little, but the data on its users is probably a large enough sampling to extrapolate web wide. Knowledge (information) is power, right?
Not random. The most lucrative.
Started another thread on this in Alternative Search Engines:
Didn't see this one, sorry about that.
I think the deal is all about integration, the one thing IAC has lacked.
I've always said that AJ/Teoma are the best little SEs without any consumer awareness, with at best just a few bucks of advertising during the run-up to the holiday season each year.
After a $2 billion purchase price, throwing what would relatively be chump change at promotion (a la all the hotels.com ads and commercials), would have a big impact on Jeeves usage.
Then, seed the top of the SERPs with IAC properties as Yahoo does with its channels, such as Shopping, Travel, Real Estate and Personals -- to name the four cats in which IAC is already strong -- and you have the start of some nice integration.
Or, how 'bout the Jeeves acquisition being just the SE portion of a straight Yahoo-like portal?
<aside>Diller and Yahoo's Terry Semel -- Is it coincidence that two Hollywood types are among the most successful web marketers?</aside>
probably sell them all and double up in 2-3 years.
"I wonder what Dillers game plan is. He seems to be buying random companies. HSN, Ticketmaster, Ask Jeeves, City search, match.com."
this is NOT random. It is very strategic.
I feel this is a great call.
Everyone should watch findwhat -- even looksmart (gasp)
Looks like it's pretty much a done deal, just saw this from BusinessWeek:
|Barry Diller's electronic-commerce company IAC/InterActiveCorp is buying Ask Jeeves Inc., the Web-search service, for $1.85 billion, the companies announced Monday. AskJeeves shares climbed 14 percent in early trading. |
The deal would put Diller's company into the highly competitive and rapidly growing business of Internet search, which is dominated by big players like Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN service.
Article here [businessweek.com]
>probably sell them all and double up in 2-3 years.
Not a chance.
Next move: He acquires a major data accumulator and merges the two to provide spot on business search results, local results by profession, etc. This is a subject - BarryDiller.com - that I've been alluding to in the WW Local Search threads. He's gone after the most profitable web search verticals (hotels, real estate, refinancing, etc), local search, and now broad search. What's missing in the formula? The true, large scale data aggregator and what you could do with that type of data IF you are willing to break from the traditional model of reseller or reseller to limited user base. (See Local Search thread for discussion of particulars).
If he doesn't acquire one of the larger aggregators and bend/reinvent their model then I'll be surprised. He's nailed every other step.
OBTW - Anything interesting in the technology that he is acquiring? Anything that might prove detrimental to the other players if IP rights are asserted?
"Not random. The most lucrative."
If I am reading their financial report correctly, Citysearch has been and continues to lose large sums of money. However, most of the other businesses are quite profitable.
Citysearch is a lab test. He's probing local search / local media as markets. CitySearch tests, amongst other subjects, how far he can go as a local media player of the non-traditional type. Don't look for the lab to be abandoned any time soon. There's too much money in local media/marketing. I suspect that he will/has learned lessons "from the lab" that include finding that centralized control of local media markets is not going to work, that each local market needs a wide swath of local control, which he can empower by being a technology source, not a focal point of control. Will be a bit like herding cats, but that's the online market because people can easily move their eyeballs with a click and a bookmark.
I find CitySearch to be one of the more interesting and challenging models for the big players: How to gain a "personal" foothold in local markets. Is CitySearch "Big Corp" staking out turf OR is CitySearch "Benevolent empowerer" of local folk?
Can locals "feel the corporation" or not? The more you do the less you gain traction IMHO. If so, then what?
[edited by: Webwork at 7:01 pm (utc) on Mar. 21, 2005]
>> See Local Search thread for discussion of particulars
Claus, it was a series of 4 or 5 threads I initiated in the last ~30 days in the Local Search threads. Won't be hard to find them.
"Citysearch is a lab test."
Thats a nice spin on things. A business is a lab test until it starts making money.
As one of the oldest and best known area guides, Citysearch is hardly a lab test. But it hasn't been able to make a profit. Quality wise and traffic wise it hasnt changed much in the last few years.
IACI is trading at 100 times earnings. Thats crazy pre-crash prices. Unless Diller can do something amazing like quadruple revenue in the next year or so it looks like another dot com stock thats going to crash.
tomkee - I see in your profile that your "interests" is simply stated as "city info". I'd invite you to weigh in and share your insights and experience in the Local Search threads as "city info, city search" is going to be a major battleground in the hunt to define and dominate verticals and geotargeted markets.
I wouldn't count Diller out for a minute in the geotargeted market. From what I've seen he extracts value better than any other single player that I've seen, and he's not afraid to take both risk and heat. If he makes a move into the aggregator market that would blend perfectly into the local/city search market.
I guess this Reuter's Article [reuters.com] is another announcement...
|IAC to Buy Ask Jeeves for $1.85 Bln |
Mon Mar 21, 2005 02:59 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday said it would buy Web search provider Ask Jeeves Inc. (ASKJ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for $1.85 billion in stock in an effort to capitalize on explosive growth in the Internet advertising and search markets.
|"Global search is the gateway to everything," said media mogul Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC. |
"It's an aggressive move by IAC," said Susquehanna analyst Marianne Wolk. "We think they'll face many challenges."
If you've been following Diller, you'll recall that most of us laughed two years ago when he was quoted that he was working on a deal with Google for a CitySearch partnership, presumably to get a leg up in the serps.
It made sense in leveraging CitySearch's vast database of reviews and providing it through Google whenever someone searched for a local restaurant. But at the time we found it humorous.
The idea of Google giving preference to a specific website is not so humorous now that Google is partnering with Amazon and sending them leads on book buyers via the toolbar. So the deal went to Ask, and Barry Diller gets to call the shots- all the shots.
Ask will leverage the local search possibilities in CitySearch data through wireless search- Barry Diller's already talking about it. For those of you living in or traveling through urban areas with a nightlife, finding a good bar or restaurant can be a pain.
|Ask will leverage the local search possibilities in CitySearch data through wireless search- Barry Diller's already talking about it. |
Google should perhaps not be faulted on the vision thing. I posted about a public radio broadcast in 2001 in which, among other things, Larry Page talked about his vision of local search and wireless...
"He also gave a fanciful example of how he envisioned that search technology might eventually be interfaced with the real world on portable computers, making neon signs obsolete."
Google founders Brin and Page on public radio
There could have been a lot of reasons why they turned down a CitySearch deal.
|For those of you living in or traveling through urban areas with a nightlife, finding a good bar or restaurant can be a pain... |
Yeah, mb, I know how it is. ;)
|Anything interesting in the technology that he is acquiring? Anything that might prove detrimental to the other players if IP rights are asserted? |
There is a travel engine he has yet to acquire that is faster than anything he has now. His big problem on the travel side is that the travel properties he has acquired to date are not all compatible with each other, and they dont view each other as partners. Its more of a sibling rivalry. Kind of like Yahoo and their collection of search engines. Ironically, expedia's biggest longterm threat is another IAC asset.
What I think many fail to recognize with Diller is that he is serious about absolutely dominating every niche he gets into, whether it be lending, real estate or travel. AJ gives him an edge with these entities that only Yahoo can rival at this point. He has already told the real estate biz that he plans on taking it over, yet few take him seriously. They just see him as a lead aggregator who wants a small piece of the pie.
He clearly cant dominate search, so the acquisition of AJ is for different reasons, and my money is on two things - the data that a search engine compiles on surfing habits, and the inside info that AJ has on search technology. Can you imagine if you could get Aj's guys to do your SEO?
If im in the travel aff business, I just started looking for a new product/service to sell, because the days are numbered. Real estate and mortgage still has a decent lifespan because he cant eliminate the service providers and it is a more localized business. That's what Citysearch was to accomplish, but it didnt work the way they figured.
|at the time we found it humorous |
MB, I for one didnt laugh. I take Diller seriously whenever he talks or even just seems to be thinking out loud.
|There could have been a lot of reasons why they turned down a CitySearch deal. |
For those of you living in or traveling through urban areas with a nightlife, finding a good bar or restaurant can be a pain...
Google has access to chefmoz.org, which is a free directory of restaurants. It was put together as a companion to dmoz.org, where the Google directory comes from...
"There could have been a lot of reasons why they turned down a CitySearch deal. "
They could have turned down the CitySearch deal because CitySearch data is not that great. Sure it is great in NYC and probably in a few other cities but in most of the other areas they pretend to cover it is pretty bad.
Barry Diller may have done plenty of great things to get to where he is now. But I think he has met his match in the dot com world. He has put together a conglomeration of companies. Getting them to work together is easier said than done. This purchase seems to be more of an act of desperation than part of any grand plan.
Here is an articel from thestreet.com
I hope this link is OK. Mods please remove if not.
This is getting a bit more confusing to me. What I first thought was integration, using Jeeves to drive traffic to the money sites. Most analysts seem to agree.
Yet, with the deal announcement yesterday, Diller "dismissed the idea that Ask Jeeves would push customers to his other companies."
Instead, each of the other properties would push traffic to Jeeves to get more people to try it.
So, what's Barry really up to?
Mods, not sure if this blog-friendly link is a no-no or not, but I can only find these quotes in this New York Times article [nytimes.com].
John Battelle had an interesting take on this. It was expounded upon by Greg Sterling. [blog.kelseygroup.com]
He speculates about the merger of TV and Search and the possiblity of this as a pre-emptive play into that arena.
Judging by Diller's aggressive and bold actions in the past and his ties to the entertainment industry, this doesn't seem too far fetched.
The move to digital TV is happening right now with Comcast and other telcos. We are seeing the integration of interactive marketing with Tevo right now. Having a search technology to leverage as your mechanism for driving relevant results would make a lot of sense. Why compete on the same playing field with G and Y when you can create a new market of your own.
I know this is a bit extreme but again, given that we are talking about Diller, I wouldn't put a "grand vision" like this past him.
At minimum it's an interesting thought.
|He speculates about the merger of TV and Search and the possiblity of this as a pre-emptive play into that arena. |
Humm... Maybe IAC plans on coming up with their own version of WebTV - with the software involved directing users to all the IAC properties (similar to the way Micro$oft operates).
I think I will buy some IAC stock tommorrow...