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Overture to Acquire Web Search Unit of Fast Search & Transfer -- FAST

 1:34 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Overture to Acquire Web Search Unit of Fast Search & Transfer -- FAST

" Businesses using paid inclusion pay a fee to have their Web pages frequently reviewed by a search engine's Web crawler for inclusion in its index, ensuring that the most dynamic content on their Web sites is incorporated. The company said it plans to further enhance the paid inclusion products currently offered by FAST and AltaVista and intends to provide its advertisers with the benefits of consolidated reporting, billing, and a single interface for campaign management for both paid placement and paid inclusion products."

press release [corporate-ir.net]



 8:04 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

This will only be significant if OVER does something with FAST and AV. Keep the technology and put some ca$h into making it more popular.

OTOH, there's no reason MSFT can't buy Google. Although the culture thing is true, "the people" meaning the average joe, they just don't care about the Microsoft is Evil mantra and they even trust microsoft. I would say Google gets MORE users by being bought by MSFT, not take a hit at all. It would be a big win for MSFT and Google people could make a lot of money.

But I think Google would make more money by going public.

Both scenarios would probably kill the quality of Google because the IPO is as evil as MSFT and that day will open the door for a new google to take google's place.

Let's also not be naive, Google owners want money. They will do what it takes to maximize that effect. And I bet most everyone here would do the same.


 8:13 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can you set up an interactive SE relationship chart so we can play along? :)

I'm not sure M$N has anything to worry about. I see their results getting better, their crawls getting deeper and traffic from them growing everyday.
From alta vista I get people searching for way strange strings of unrelated words
"purple+halogen+psychiatrist+apple+ketch" and other weird queries.
From alltheweb... I don't always scroll down that far in the stats. I typically get more from Comet systems.


 8:28 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

brett I agree a new chart would be quite useful to help figure this all out, to many mergers taking place here, getting me dizzy.


ALSO - - Powdork

I agree with you, Altavista...

If my site targets primarily Network Hubs

I get hits (Search phrase query hits to my site) from Altavista like this...

1) Network hunnies talk to thier hubbies
2) Hubs + Hugs and Network Phones
3) Net works with new jobs

What's so weird is most hits that end up going to my site from an altavista total missed search query is where users use 4 word phrases. I think AltaVista is specializing in trying to get an algorhythym that is based on definite new 4 word combinations.

My opinion is they need a lot of work to get this correct.

All best from Cali

Ciao ciao


 9:04 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know all of this is very interesting but lets take a step back, is this really going to affect peoples traffic? Everyone I know uses Google and Yahoo some MSN, i think 99% of people dont even know who Overture or FAST is, yet alone what they do or use them. I think they can do all they want to make better results but it is all for not if no one uses these engines. Just a thought......


 9:18 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is a double jinx on any speculative Google IPO -- it sets the standard for a search engine company, and Google's valuation looks much smaller now, maybe $300M market cap instead of the $1-2B they want to see. That means Kleiner Perkins sees maybe $100M, probably close to their actual investment.


 9:22 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

dannysullivan and hightraffic10 hit the bullseye as well as egomaniac who said:
->"Although exciting, this is still no big deal IMO. Around 70-80% (or more) of all search activity takes place among Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Just because OV bought AV and FAST doesn't mean the public will pay attention or change their searching habits."

Yahoo buying inktomi was a big deal. Overture buying AV+Fast means nothing in traffic terms. I get more traffic from link partners than those 3 put together.

Overture said it could take 2 years to overhaul AV and the same is probably true for Fast. It could be years before these buyouts mean anything to us.

A lot of speculation here on Overture's intentions but these purchases don't change the game for me that much. Owning a search engine (or two) is one thing, marketing it for mass appeal and usage is another. Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN have the marketshare pretty well stitched up.


 9:27 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Zapatista i agree totally as well. I am fairly new to the game but one thing I try to always remember is not to get too excited or nervous with deals like this because the most important thing to relaize is what the people are using not techies like us.


 9:46 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Interesting quote from news source

"If I'm Google, I sit and wait and see if Overture actually can do anything with these two big Web properties it has bought," Yankee Group analyst Rob Lancaster said. "The potential upside for Google is if it can't, Overture has just killed off two of its big competitors."



 10:12 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Any bets they put av on ice and use Fast instead? Fast is so much further ahead in modern tech, I can see them using AV.


 10:22 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Interesting article here, [thestreet.com...]

"Overture is positioned to build and syndicate the best, most powerful search experience on the Internet, bar none, he said."

They are going after "adwords" and Google.
I like it.

jeremy goodrich

 10:27 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Will be interesting to see what the OAF algo looks like when they finish merging everything. :)


 10:33 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>put av on ice and use Fast instead? Fast is so much further ahead in modern tech

Looks like both teams seem fairly confident their tech won't get thrown away.

The press release talks about "...industry-leading text analysis, duplicate search listing removal, anti-spamming techniques, as well as advanced clustering approaches" as AV's strenghts

Why throw away something like Prisma?

Learning Curve

 10:34 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett, Perhaps one (AltaVista?) is intended to be a playground for developing improvements to, or a replacement to, their PPC engine. While the other (FAST?) would be the production version intended for sale with an integrated Overture PPC engine.

They could do a bit of both with both search engines, I imagine. They can keep both AltaVista and FAST active, can't they?

jeremy goodrich

 10:34 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

That duplicate must be a reference to one of alta's patents. I keep wondering, though -> since AV has that patent on spidering / indexing (lol) will they go after Google for that, as well now?


 10:39 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

<joe friday> Just the Facts Mam </joe friday>

I have been reading this post for the better part of 30 mins. For the most part its just been a great deal of speculation and very few facts. Is there some way to get rid of the speculation, it does no good, and just stick to the facts?


 10:43 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

A lot of speculation here on Overture's intentions but these purchases don't change the game for me that much. Owning a search engine (or two) is one thing, marketing it for mass appeal and usage is another. Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN have the marketshare pretty well stitched up.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the world will be a different place when we wake up tomorrow. Heck, the world wasn't any different the day after Google launched, from what I recall.

But I think what changes the game is that Overture, like Yahoo with the Ink purchase, is loading up to take on Google front and center. The game may not begin tomorrow, next week, or next month, but this is important because it means more players are entering the tournament, so to speak.

Sure, the four sources you mentioned do have marketshare stitched up now. We also said the same thing 4 years ago about Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, etc. And then along came Google....


 11:12 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>rid of the speculation, it does no good, and just stick to the facts?

Sure miles. If żou have any facts we don't know about, let's have 'em! ;)
I believe WebmasterWorld was one of (if not the) first to air this story. As usual..

We can only speculate here and bring to the table the few good ideas and presumptions we have about this. Everybody involved in these major deals are public traded companies - if we knew anything, we'd be insiders and therefore couldn't discuss it. You see what I mean?

As soon as anything new comes out, I bet you're going to read about it here. Offcial news breaks gets checked and doubled check before they're posted :)


 11:33 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Rumbas you know if I had the facts I would post them and if i didnt its for one of two reasons. One I work for said company, which is not the case.
Two I do not have the facts so I dont have the information. Just a side note if I dont know I dont post it.

I dont have the facts and having read over most of them is seem like; Wow I am surprised, OMG, I wonder..., how dare the engines do this, good find, how is google gonna top it, new name for the new merger, whos next to get bought out, whats msn gonna do, short two or three word posts, and some other not very useful posts. Of course this does get the lurkers from the back corner out and posting, but its too much, for lack of a better word, junk.

The posts that show links to related articals, those are the useful ones for those of us who are used to seeing the search engines, directories, company change like the shifting shadow. I do see what you are saying, but I get tired of reading a thread thats 150 long and only getting 20 or so good posts. Those good posts are what are helpful moreso than the ones that are at best questionable. It would be nice to see some of the posts that are short and have already stated the obvious several times whittled down to a few. Thats it.


 11:45 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Re: Any bets they put av on ice and use Fast instead?

The only feature that isn't redundent is shopping. AV portal powered by Fast.
I keep thinking about the patents owned by AV.


 11:50 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)


Nice name. Did anyone think the product produced?

Or did it, and it was so buried under pay-for-results, that no one saw it?


 11:58 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is very prominent on the serps. As a searcher I find it pretty useful. It's simple enough to get used I think.


 11:59 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

?! The link to Lycos will probably stay. Still looking for the "new" product though.


 12:23 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)


I have noticed that a lot of the hits I have from AV often have Prisma adjustments/refinements. I never worked out a percentage.

Of course, that might also just be commentary on how well/bad I have optimized my sites for AV. ;)

I have used Prisma mainly on the AV news search.

Added: I think Prisma may be the most impressive thing AV has.


 12:39 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow is all I can say to this one. Overture is buying em up. Big fish big fish swimming in the sea... Soon we will need some strong newcomers to the SE market or else it gets very stail and tainted feeling.


 1:02 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

A little piece gone unnoticed so far is this:
In addition, Overture has licensed FAST Data Search.

Boy, I guess there will be tears of joy and tears of sadness in Norway tonight.
Think about it for a moment from Fast's POV:
Selling a part of your company for $100-160 Mill. Losing the highly reputable websearch divison. Losing colleagues.
But keeping your company, and getting it on course for profit.
What a day!

Warren Buffett

 3:59 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Psst Overture, what's the point in owning search if you don't own your own browser, Opera just might be your ticket at the right price. Maybe even owning your own Operating System might be plausible/feasible $$$$!?

The Overture Browser and Overture Operating System has a nice sound to it.


 4:30 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

"The Overture Browser" - Now there's a new PPC twist!

I think the new name for this game could be "alloverfast"

('aloverfast' could be pronounced in such a way as to imply a degree of PPC desperation....)



 6:10 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is this perhaps not the latest twist in the familiar battle of the portals? Or an extension of it?

If Yahoo!'s forged an alliance of sorts with Overture [a current supplier], then Yahoo!'s acquisition of Inktomi and Overture's sucking in of Fast and AV would go a long way towards securing its market share.

In terms of search-driven traffic, Yahoo! seems to have, over the past few months, consolidated its second position behind Google. If Microsoft adopts the approach that it can always buy results and given 'who supplies whom', these takeovers look as though they might affect AOL most of all [to the benefit of Yahoo! and MSN]. Unless, of course, its subscription base is just so strong it can adopt Microsoft's approach.

Either way, of the major portals, Yahoo! would come out way ahead of the rest.

Unless Netscape / AOL have something going with Overture [also a partner]... that would stir things up a bit. Whichever way one looks at it, though, it appears to be a puzzle the answer of which lies somewhere outside the immediate ambit of 'a' buys 'b'.

But then that's just conjecture... something which is always fun when married to Search :).


 6:17 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mmm... sorry, I answered the first page of replies to this thread and am virtually echoing pleeker. The sleep's still in my eyes... I'll go off and read the rest.


 7:54 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

haven't noticed this theory being discussed at any length...what if it's down to Overture seeing the signs of an imminent dip in PPC profits and taking the chance to diversify whilst they are cash rich?

admittedly it's relatively boring in terms of the implications for the rest of the industry...but they aren't doing it to keep us entertained


 9:56 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

with all this cash floating around the search engine market, it's kinda tempting to set up my own search engine so i can sell it one day ..... anyone else interested? i've got a couple of old PCs and i can borrow £20 from my beer fund to get us started ......

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