From eTours To Commanding Ask.com: Jim Lanzone’s Story

I Fought the Law from the New York Times tells the story of how Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone abandoned pursuing a legal degree and learned his true passion was for internet companies.

Lanzone attended Emory University’s School of Law in Atlanta. He then worked for Justice Hugh P. Thompson at the Supreme Court of Georgia, and then had a summer job at law firm after his freshman year. But the law wasn’t his thing, he wasn’t excited with it. So he decided to go earn an M.B.A. degree, which he said made him see the world “in color.”

From there he had an internship at KnowX, which gave him the desire to start his own internet company. That company was named eTour, based in Atlanta in 1997.

eTour was a “discovery engine” that gave tours of Web sites that matched people’s interests. Lanzone helped raise $52 million in capital for the company, which he sold to Ask Jeeves in 2001.

Ask Jeeves asked Jim Lanzone to stay on to head product management. At that time the company was selling on the market at 79 cents a share, way down from the high of $196.

From there, it is all history. Ask Jeeves bought Teoma and then itself was puchased by Barry Diller’s IAC in 2005. The company was renamed to Ask.com, and then Ask’s then CEO Steve Berkowitz left for Microsoft. Jim Lanzone took the lead and became Ask.com’s CEO.

What is next? Jim says:

The next 10 years in the internet industry will make the last 10 seem almost trivial. People still underestimate how big the Internet is going to be in their lives.

Related Topics: Ask: Employees | Channel: Strategy | Stats: History

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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