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

     
1:34 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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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]

2:54 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I love it :)
2:58 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This also brings into focus their increase of the minimum bids. Even if a few advertisers balk at paying the higher amounts they will still keep more of the overall income.
3:02 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...advertisers with the benefits of consolidated reporting, billing, and a single interface for campaign management for both paid placement and paid inclusion products."

Also perhaps an attempt to bring PFI to a current PPC captive market. Anyone, with no SEO knowledge, can set up an overture PPC account, but you need a little bit more web experience to go for a PFI. Its my guess that overture will try hard to convert PPC current clients to PFI clients.

3:06 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now that was a very clever move on Overture's part. Fast has so much more to offer them than Alta Vista. Overture execs are obviously gearing up to really butt heads with Google.

IMHO, I think it is too little too late though. Alta Vista has been all but abandoned by the average surfer and Fast never got there to begin with. It would take an MSN , AOL or Yahoo buyout to really kick this chess match up a notch. Don't count out AOL or even Yahoo in this thing. They still have options here.

The Googleplex must be buzzing! No time to rest on your laurels GG. I hope you guys have something really interesting up your sleeves to counter what appears to be an all out attempt to dethrone you as king of the Search Engines!

Heck, who knows ... maybe Google will buy out Overture and take home the majority of pieces! Then it will just be Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL & LookSmart.

3:07 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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OH MY GOD!
3:10 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how high ppc prices will go? Is there still a $50 limit *wink*.
3:15 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There is going to be a new fee for inclusion in the pay per click SE: PPPCFI (Pay Pay Per Click For Inclusion) *wink*.
3:15 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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[inventory.overture.com...]

a few searches on words such as:

overture, fast, alltheweb, Alta Vista etc etc shows me Google is quite far ahead in the eyes of Joe Public.

Shak

3:17 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There you have another $, they can use Altavista and Fast's logfiles, so they may be able to provide even better search suggestion results.
3:21 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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As mentioned by several in this thread, "traffic acquisition" might explain part of it.

Overture's "traffic acquisition costs," or TAC, which describe the amount of revenue Overture shares with its search-page partners, rose to 62% from 59% a year ago. Overture estimated that these costs would rise in the first quarter to 63% or 64%.

[biz.yahoo.com...]

3:25 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Overture will acquire FAST's Internet business unit for $70 million in cash, as well as performance-based cash incentive payments for up to $30 million over three years.

Pandia [pandia.com] says OV will take over Fast datacenters in Sacramento, Cal. and London.

Performance based cash?

3:29 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Looks like a slept through some interesting news. Will be very interesting to see what products are on offer from Overture now that they have 2 engines that were both offering XML / PFI.

2003 is shaping up to be a lot of fun indeed.

3:32 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sounds to me like they bought Altavista for brand name and patents only knowing the search technology and algorithm were way outdated. Instead of spending years getting it up to par, they buy Fast and now they have the best of both worlds. Altavista name with decent Algo's.

I expect to see the Altavista and Fast PFI programs combined as they dump Alta junk search and create one database on Fast technology.

[edited by: JeremyL at 3:34 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2003]

3:32 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> Comparing it to google, that makes Alltheweb as www2 and www3 and AV as www. Or something along those lines... <<

That's what they imply, but it is no doubt untrue.

They COULD be gearing up for portalization, but you need market share for that to work, and they have no natural constituency. Neither AV or FAST will deliver that for them. They would need to make yet another acquisition.

One of the big downsides for me is that Overture traditionally have no respect for search relevancy or quality. Unless that has changed, and I see NO evidence that it has, they will wreck both AV and FAST in terms of quality by forcing ads in there.

This of course would have a knock on effect as well if they did take the portal route. The portal would probably be as useless as MSN for search with far too much ‘monetization’ (it’s in their DNA).

The bit in brackets is critical by the way…. these guys are money money money. Expect anything they touch to be wrecked. Mark my words!

3:35 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Whoever earlier on said that ms could buy OverFastAlta is I believe right on the money. This is exactly how ms works - hence why they haven't made their move. They are sitting back, looking for the most stuffed turkey and then aquiring it when the time is right. Look at their past web and software company aquisitions, its a pattern.

Saddly, I only see such an aquisition by ms as tougher times ahead for 'small guys' to get anywhere and succeed on the web. Everything will be *so* profit driven, pop-ups will be the least of your net worries in the years to come. And any company without a massive ad budget to feed ms or its competitors (which will need to keep up with ms to keep share prices up) - will be doomed. Sounds gloomy, but I don't think too out of line.

3:37 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Altavista still have a recognizable brand and FAST have a Superior Search Technology comparable to google ....

Integrate FAST technology with Alta and with a Big Marketing Campaign i think OV can create the next big Search Engine ...

3:42 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yuppers, especially when both MSN and Yahoo start running all Overture/Fast/AV results later in the year. ;)

G.

3:43 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't discount AV tech to easily. They have some good features over there. Throwing together the clustering from AV with the natural language capabilities from Fast could give Google a run.
And that's just two things.
Fast with regular spidering, pepped up with AV tech = better than Google.

That is, if OV allows for a constant development and improvement. And if the techies from all three companies work together.

3:45 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Mike, I'm still sitting here shaking my head.

What a game of chess this is!

3:47 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So I guess this explains why they raised the minimum bid...

This will be interesting to watch...I hope no one buys out google.

Search engine soap opera.

3:49 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>soap opera

Maybe if the opera is jr's Dallas. There's been more wheeling and dealing the last three weeks than the last year.

3:53 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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They just released Q4 and fiscal year 2002 results [fastsearch.com]

FAST Achieves 24% Revenue Growth in Q4 vs. Q3;

26% Growth for Full Year Earned Positive Adjusted EBITDA of $3.9 million in Q4;

$13.3 million for 2002

Making money all right.

4:09 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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He's number 1 for his name on Google - with paper links etc.

That sentence speaks volumes.

4:09 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What's going to happen amid all this flurry of PPC based engines buying free engines out is a government inquiry.

I doubt many people would cry if the Federal Trade Commission decided to step-up and demand free listings center page and only side panels for paid inclusions similar to what Google does already.

PPC has gotten out of hand and the verification of true clicks is harder and harder to know. Overture with their 'patent pending' click-through protection is a joke.

4:18 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...or: FAlOver
4:19 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Ouch!...interesting move on Overture's part though & certainly one which certainly adds considerable weight to them as a whole...whatever next?!?...;)

R.

4:23 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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amazing move ......
4:25 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Someone said "Now watch Overture get bought by MS," but even better watch Overture get bought by Time-Warner with or without AOL.
4:31 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Even though it's easy to make fun of AV's technology, each engine no doubt has it's positive sides. I bet AV's techies and Fast's techies are looking forward to some great talks.
4:38 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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definately room in the market now....who's going to create the next big engine? :-)

I like what people are saying., I think Overture is making HUGE plays....eliminating the players and trying to go after google....I think MS will buy google and incorporate with MSN somehow.....

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