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" 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]
I'd be surprised if the "blood on the carpet" stops here. On top of the acquisition activity, Google have hinted that they are looking to release new products/services this year, and Y! / OAF had better come up with something new to justify the cash thats been thrown around recently
OVER shares are currently trading at close to their 52 week low. But hey, stock analysts don't know anything worth anything about the tech sector in general, and less about the internet-only type businesses, that they cant get from their financial statements (which are important, yes, but not the whole story, IMO)
It'll be interesting to keep an eye on the movement of OVER stock for the next couple of weeks
The thing is I see this as
a) a thing with long term implications rather than short term
b) an unfinished song. MSN funding Yahoo via INK? Can't see that.
In any case I expect a lot of changes in the portal market. We all look too much at the few big players, AOL, MSN, Yahoo...
If you combine all the searches done on the thousands of local portals worldwide you'll have an amzing trafic to milk. Take a country like Germany, with some 30 Mill or so active internet users: No1 portal is T-Online.
Now think about Korea, Japan, China etc... Giant markets. All international majors are very aware of that.
What OVER wants to be able to do is offer the "full search package" for MSN,AOL,Netscape etc. Not only the first 3 results. That gives them the option to stuff more paid results in the SERP's - maybe no 1,3,5,7,9,11 etc from over and 2,4,6,8,10 etc from Fast/AV. So no more need for supplementing with ink results.
From this POV an OVER acquisition of LS isnt so far-fetched - they still cant provide directory results...
I think it will come down to how much Overture are planning to either utilise FAST, or leave them to their own devices, and fund them to take on Google in their own right.
I don't see that as a option for Overture.
What they are going for is portals, plus ISPs, and other high visibility sites.
I believe it's true when they say ATW will remain a showcase and R&D sandbox. AV will also probably stay where it is in terms of marketshare.
What would happen if they went aggressively into competition with their partners? They don't have the time to do that. Before they had gained critical mass, in the area of Yahoo or Google, they would have long lost all partners and gone bust.
What OV plans is a full package of PPC, PFI, plus competitive websearch. Additionally they develop search independant advertizing formats.
So that's why I think directory services might fit in too.
Would they have lost AOL with such a package?
To me it looks like 3 major players in the near future (havent counted AOL in, I'm from Europe...): Yahoo with own directory and Ink SERPS, Google with - Google (and dmoz dir), and MSN with (hypothetical) AlFasTureLook. This looks bad for Google, because not only quality of results plays a role for the users choice of SE. MSN has the browser, including the search button with default MSN search and erratic typing in the URL field, which gives a lot of searches, and hotmail. Yahoo has yahoo mail plus a lot of portal functionalities which keep users there.
So the new Over... on MSN doesn't have to deliver as relevant results as Google, only nearly as relevant results - because a lot of users won't bother to go to google if the motive isnīt very strong - that is, Google search has to be a lot better than MSN search (as it is right now). It also depends of the amount of marketing/advertising of the new search.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a Microsoft acquisition of the new Overture + Looksmart. Overture is a big fish, but Microsoft has the jaw$ to swallow it whole.
And I wouldn't be surprised to see Google loose a lot of the search market in 2003-4 either.
Welcome to WW. I think you are on the right lines.
There will only be one winner in the search market, and it will be...........Microsoft. They are simply sitting on the sidelines waiting for the rest to sort themselves out. They then have two choices, eat the perceived powerful through acquisition, or put in place their own internally developed engine and kill any competition.
The man that controls the browser also controls the search facility and most of the Internet. Need to use a little imagination as to how that will play out!
The current search offerings are nothing more than "guppies" playing in a pool of MS Sharks. Let's face it, Inktomi at about $250 million, Overture at $1 billion, Google maybe worth $5 billion (post IPO) on a good day, and MS with $40 billion (and growing rapidely) in spare cash!
MS can pick these companies off anytime it wants, either to destroy competition, or make use of their technologies....either way MS is the future King.
Got to love a company that splits it stock in this environment :)
And what do we have instead? Case is gone, the stock has tanked, and TimeWarner is pissed off that they have AOL in their name!
These things have a way of going very bad very quickly *unless* the new company can offer something that the public genuinely wants, and, unless they can capture the public's good will.
In this case, it would mean providing better search results than Google, and doing that without adding a lot of aggravating nonsense (popups, banners, too many paid results, etc). Is that going to happen? I mean really, as far as the general public is concerned, can *anything* be easier and friendlier than Google? I contend that people do not want more bells and whistles, rather, they want *less*, and let's face it, Google is about as simple as searching gets.
My prediction: Google not only remains the King, it becomes even better positioned now that 2 competitors are soon to be absorbed into the cybervoid. Time will tell whether that is good or bad news, and while I'd like to be surprized, I just don't see how OAF will offer any more than what the public now happily gets for free.