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Overture is to buy Alta Vista for $140 million.
Guess this is one of the "enhancements" we were told would happen as part of the sweetener for 10 cent minimum bids.
Out of approx. 9243 visitors over the last 104 days, I've had 63 visitors from Alta Vista. 1.63 percent. I'm ranked top 10/20 for my important keywords in AV.
Netscape and Ask Jeeves have given me more traffic than Alta Vista, but only slightly more.
Here's another anti-shocker. I've gotten more traffic from several quality, theme related links added in the last 50 days, than AV in the last 104.
More traffic from a link exchange in half the time than top 10/20 ranking in AV. (!?)
As far as I am concerned, AV is just your run of the mill web site. Over-priced and over-rated. As far as traffic importance, just an average web-site with a lot of history, a spider and a few bells and whistles.
I worry more about what Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN are up to, in that order.
Heck, I will now worry about what 20 of my best link partners are up to. I hope none of them sell out for $140 million. I'd hate to lose their traffic.
PS Someone mentioned LookSmart, Looksmart itself has given me 14 visitors. Wisenut doesn't even show up on my radar.
<added> I measure unique visitors on my home page only at that website.</added>
[edited by: Zapatista at 8:23 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2003]
Overture will be holding a conference call to discuss today's news at 5 PM Eastern/2 PM Pacific. To participate via telephone, please dial 1-888-390-3404 (passcode OVER).
To participate via the Internet, log on to www.overture.com 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to download any necessary software. A replay of the call will be available at www.overture.com shortly after the live call ends.
Overture's President and CEO Ted Meisel stressed in a conference call, "We do not believe we are creating a competitor for our partners," however the top reason given for the acquisition is 'to syndicate AltaVista’s advanced algorithmic search technology.'
The February 18 Overture press release also gives as first motivation, "The acquisition will enable Overture to offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites."
The new long-term MSN-Overture deal suggests that MSN agreed with Meisel that Overture by buying Alta Vista was not creating a competitor for Overture's partners.
Nevertheless, search was the top motivation given for the purchase.
That means, if we trust their public statements, that Overture is planning to use Alta Vista to "offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites" that does not create "a competitor for our partners."
What could that be? I'm thinking tonight that it means creating a turnkey search product (including PPC, PFI and free search) for second-tier portals (non-"competitors"), and any ISP or destination site. Sort of a one-stop shop to compete with the all-in-one Google/Adwords for smaller traffic generating sites.
The second motivation was given in their press release as, "Additionally, AltaVista's Web site will allow Overture to test and refine new products and services in a live setting."
Combine that statement with Meisel's February 6 statement (from the link in Zoron's post) that Overture had "underinvested" in future growth.
Overture could use Alta Vista to test small new products or, perhaps, even major rewrites of it's PPC engine. Already - to me - Overture's backend seems antiquated compared to AdWords.
Overture has "underinvested" in product development and has fallen behind, in my opinion. Indeed, the next generation of products could push the current Overture towards obvious obsolesence.
But they couldn't make a major switch within their current system, Overture is just too vast to make large changes. A new product would need massive live testing and refinement, first.
Anyway, you can expect Alta Vista to be the testing ground for new Overture products.
There may be international reasons as well. International growth is a top priority of Overture according to the February 6 conference call. However, since Overture did not mentioned that as a justification for the Alta Vista purchase (according to the press accounts above or the press release), I'm going to set it aside for now.
AV Spain, France & Italy use Espotting now - so as a side bonus of the deal, Overture/AltaVista will have a toe in those markets & consumer traffic from day one when they launch there (they are in France already). Not masses of traffic though, I suspect.
Useful for putting on marketing materials too - esp. when the reader isn't savy enough to look into AV's market share.
This piece by NetImperative [netimperative.com...] suggests the pressure to grow that stems from being a public company pushed them to make the move.
...buuuut I thought I said pretty clearly, that it seemed mostly likely AV purchase was for updating their search (potential in lieu of editoral reviewers) and creating new turnkey products for use in the US and abroad. I think the conference call only confirmed that.
also, that buying OVER stock now is a bargain hunters dream. Once general investors realize that OVER isn't trying to develop AV to its "former glory", it'll rocket back. IE: once the stock rebounds...you just AV for free. ;)
The whole "updating their search" argument wasn't convincing to me at first - it certainly didn't justify the price - until I thought about Overture's antiquated system and how difficult it would be for them to transition to a better system.
"Updating" to me meant tweaking and improving their current system. Now, I suspect Overture really intends to "re-engineer" which better justifies the price.
On new "turnkey" products, last week I really didn't understand why that was important. "Turnkey" always sounds like sales b.s. and my brain ignores it.
But after mulling it over for a few days, it makes sense that Overture would want to have a product for the smaller-than-Yahoo-and-MSN sites that wasn't dependent on the site buying separately the free listings and then having to integrate the two search results.
Those sites would, no doubt, appreciate a simpler all-in-one solution, like Google/AdWords or a future Overture/Alta Vista.
They did a small piece on OV buying AV and Fast. It says that OV share price immediately dropped by 20% when the AV announcement was made and another 12% when the FAST one was made. It also states that M$ was rumored to have been eyeing AV and FAST.
Anywho, just though I'd put it out there. I found it interesting. These are some BIG drops.