There has been a lot of discussion about the Yahoo acquisition of Overture and its effects on the web as a whole, but only a couple of mentions of Espotting.
Does this deal signal the end of Espotting in the long term in the UK? Obviously it will take time for the Overture take over to come in to effect, but I canít see Yahoo UK continuing to make profits for Espotting/Findwhat when they own Overture. So how long do Espotting have left on Yahoo? I would guess 6 months to a year.
And if Espotting lose Yahoo, who does that leave for them? They have a good, solid, number of "channel" partners, such as Ask Jeeves, Shopping.net, Kelkoo, Lycos etc, but no major pure search partners. In fact, their next biggest pure search partners looks like Euroseek and Abrexa(!).
Espotting have been spreading themselves abroad as well, although I donít know how much market share they have overseas.
Espotting are very similar to Findwhat in this respect; they have a lot of smaller partners but no other major engines. So I think that they will survive, but what kind of impact will a Yahoo loss have on their UK traffic? Halved? Is half the traffic enough to maintain the same top bid prices?
Another question is: how much faith will Espottingís other affiliates have in their long term future? Will we see some of the small/medium partners bailing out and moving over to Overture in preparation for an Espotting decline in bid prices?
And with more competition from Webfinder (Thomson Local) who are seeking affiliates aggressively and Mirago, who are having a resurgence, will Espotting be able to hang on to all of their partners?
And was the Espotting/Findwhat merger a pre-emptive strengthening arrangement to make the partnership more purchasable for someone like MSN? "Buy us and get properties in the US, UK and the rest of the world".
Overall, I think that this is a dreadful move for the UK. Overture will now appear on Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Freeserve, Altavista, MSN, Tiscali and Lycos. That's 7 of the top 10 UK search properties. Let's pray for an MSN buyout of Espotting and Findwhat and get some competition back in the market.