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Diller On Ask’s Growth, Facebook, & Buying AOL
Barry Diller to Time Warner: Name Your Price for AOL from AdAge has a Q&A session with Barry Diller, the CEO of IAC, the parent company of Ask.com.
Diller was asked about the split up of IAC into five business units, his thoughts on the growth of the Internet, Facebook’s valuation, if he would like to buy AOL, and Ask.com’s growth since they bought the company.
In response to a question on the Internet’s growth, Diller said, “But more than any media sector, I think the Internet will hold up.” Later on, Diller says Facebook is much more than a “phonebook,” saying “you get an awful lot of staying around on Facebook, because of the things you’re looking at and the information you’re changing, and all of that is compelling.”
Diller is also asked about AOL, in which he says that he would love to talk to Time Warner about possibly purchasing the company. Diller said, “When and if Warner doesn’t want it, I’ll certainly be at the door.”
Finally, when asked about Ask.com, Diller replies:
We feel great. We’ve been able to grow queries second only to Google. We’ve increased retention, frequency. All the metrics for Ask are very good. Now we have a new five-year arrangement with Google on the sponsored listings that’s going to be very, very remunerative to us. Ask is going to be able to continue to innovate. To me, anyone who uses Ask — well, I can’t say anyone, but I think enough people have said other than us that we’ve got a very good search-differentiated product from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, which has all sorts of value-added ways to search that people like.
I’m very, very happy that we now are certain of a very large amount of revenue coming in every year which will allow us to build the service, build the product. The only way anyone’s going to succeed is to build the product. There’s legacy here, meaning the legacy of Google and how hard it is for people to change habits, but one by one, eventually, they do. Since Ask is cooler than anybody else, it’s starting to get viral growth, which is what you pray for.