The Art Of Opportunistic Linking

A couple weeks back I wrote a LinkWeek column here titled "Your Site's Manifest Linking Destiny". At the end of that column I closed with the following thoughts... What if I told you that one of the sites was created, owned, and operated by a single mother who is an African American with locations in six cities across three southern states? None of these facts change the content of the sites. They remain nearly identical. But these facts can alter the manifest linking destiny of one of the sites dramatically, in a way that can impact everything from search rank to direct click traffic, for [...]

Cuill Gets $25 Million In VC Funding

Cuill, the stealth search startup backed by former Google, AltaVista, and IBM search experts, has completed a second round of funding to the tune of $25 million. The round was led by Madrone Capital Partners and follows on a first round of $8 million from Tugboat Ventures and Greylock Partners. From the release: "We are pleased with the confidence of our investors," said Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Tom Costello. "Our team is using breakthroughs in search architecture and technological advances to create a new paradigm in search, and we now have the resources to reach the next lev [...]

AOL Acquires Sphere & Creates Search Interface For iPhone

Sphere, software that connects contextually relevant content to your content, has been purchased by AOL. The Sphere Blog confirms the acquisition, and TechCrunch suggests the purchase price was at about $25 million. Sphere initially launched as a blog search engine but then adapted into a "related content engine," with clients from the Wall Street Journal, Time, Reuters, and others. In other AOL news, AOL Search has created a unique user interface for searching on AOL via your iPhone or iPod Touch. iPhone/Touch users just need to go to and to be presented with the new user i [...]

Report: Yahoo & AOL Approaching A Deal

Yahoo, AOL Close In on Tie-Up Deal from the Wall Street Journal reports that Yahoo and AOL are close on finalizing a deal that would combine parts of both companies. The deal would bridge Timer Warner's Internet operations with Yahoo by folding the AOL unit into Yahoo. In return, Time Warner would make a cash investment of about 20% of the combined entity, valuing AOL at about $10 billion. Note From Danny: "In my talk today at SMX Sydney with Google vice president Marissa Mayer, she noted that the Yahoo deal was a way for Google to measure Yahoo’s traffic and how well it monetizes. This i [...]

SEO Company, Fathom Online, Acquired By Geary Interactive

Geary Interactive has announced acquiring Fathom Online, an SEO company. Fathom was formed in 2002 and is based in San Francisco. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Geary is a full service digital marketing agency based in San Diego. Some of Fathom's employees are now working out of the San Diego office. Andreas Roell, president and CEO of Geary Interactive, said: Search engine tactics are the most popular element of a digital marketing campaign. In order to effectively generate search demand and convert customers’ search clicks, the campaign must also include a stron [...]

Search Engine Billionaires & Yahoo’s Decker Boosts Her Salary

Forbes is out with the latest billionaires list, and Google executives are well represented. Plus, Yahoo president Susan Decker saw a 63-percent increase in her salary, with a 29-percent bonus increase from last year. Gary Price posted a link to the Forbes billionaires lists, which includes several search faces such as Bill Gates of Microsoft at number three with $58.0 billion and Steve Ballmer at number 43 with $15 billion. As for Googlers, Sergey Brin ranks at number 32 with $18.7 billion, Larry Page at number 33 with $18.6 billion, and CEO Eric Schmidt was ranked 142 with $6.6 billion. p [...]

Compete Sold For $75 Million To Taylor Nelson Sofres

Andrew Girdwood notes that was purchased by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) for $75 million. TNS's release reports that's 2007 revenue was "$14.9 million, over 50 per cent higher than in the previous year." TNS will pay in deferred cash payments throughout now and 2010, up to a maximum of $75 million. David Lowden, Chief Executive of TNS, said: This acquisition is an important move for TNS that builds on our ability to help clients understand consumer behaviour in the new and highly complex digital world. Compete has built a world-class digital intelligence capability [...]

comScore Paid Search Data & How The Sky Might Not Be Falling

Last week comScore came out with a report that showed a 7% sequential decline vs. December 2007 in paid search ad clicks. Plus, they showed an 8% drop in the number of clicks per Google searcher from December 2007. The report set shock-waves through Wall Street and caused the stock to drop and drove concerns about a recession. James Lamberti of comScore spoke about the concerns on the Searchscape panel at SMX West. He expressed that after careful analysis, the data does not directly support evidence of a recession or a weaker Google. Why Google's surprising paid click data are less surpri [...]

Yahoo! Addresses The Troops (And So Does Microsoft)

With all the furor about Microsoft's potential acquisition of Yahoo!, how do the Yahoo! employees feel about the possibility? Top Yahoo! execs addressed employees on Friday and followed it up with a company-wide email. The email emphasizes that the bid was unsolicited, that no decisions have been made, and that Microsoft's proposal is one of many options the board is considering. Jerry Yang and Roy Bostock (the new non-executive chairman, after Terry Semel's departure last week) encourage employees to keep focusing on their core business and executing current strategy. The email reads [...]

Microsoft’s Prize: Big Yahoo CPMs, Largest Display Share

On Friday comScore put out ad publisher site rankings. Unsurprisingly, Yahoo ranked as the top site with just under 19 percent of US online display advertising. MediaPost took this data and further analyzed it, finding that Yahoo enjoys the industry's highest CPM rates at $12.65, more than $4 higher than the next highest site, MSNBC. Google, by contrast, enjoys just 1 percent of online display advertising, which Microsoft fears will change if/when the DoubleClick acquisition is approved by European regulators. Microsoft has a 6.7 percent share according to comScore. comScore display ad shar [...]

Singapore Offers Cash Incentives To Build New Search Engine

Singapore launches contest for next-generation search engine from reports Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology, and Research is managing a contest to build out "a next-generation multi-media online search engine." What I find humorous about the contest is that they expect $100,000 and eight months to be enough time and money to be enough to pull off a major multimedia search engine. Singapore is not the first country to put government funds into the challenge against Google. Germany has its Project Theseus, France is doing its Project Quaero, and Japan has an effort, too. [...]

Searcharazzi: Fathom SEO Acquisition Details

The industry has been buzzing for awhile about private equity buyers that just might be interested in picking up some search firms. Here are the details on the acquisition of Fathom SEO by PromiseONE, a private equity buyer. Exclusive advisor Agile Equity gives these details * Fathom SEO sold to PromiseONE, a private equity buyer. * The buyer is actively integrating with the existing management team to sustain and accelerate a supernormal growth rate. * This is PromiseONE’s first acquisition in the digital media sector. [...]

CallGenie Buys Mobile “Ad Exchange” PhoneSpots

Voice services provider CallGenie announced the acquisition of mobile content provider and ad exchange PhoneSpots. The mostly stock transaction was valued at $5.75 million and provides a range of new client relationships and capabilities to Canada-based CallGenie. PhoneSpots has been around since 1999 and pioneered the "send to mobile" feature now in widespread use on local search sites. PhoneSpots originally partnered with European mobile operators to offer enhanced results (additional content and links) from directory assistance queries when users opted to receive them as text messages. Mo [...]

ZenithOptimedia: Online Ad Spend To Overtake Radio, Magazines In Two Years

With the exception of online, the ad industry is in a slump. Growth is in the low single digits and will only gain next year because of the US presidential election, European football, and Olympics. Accordingly, ZenithOptimedia has released an advertising forecast that reflects projected growth of a modest 4.1 percent in the US and 6.7 percent globally. It's covered by AdAge and PaidContent. Among the highlights as reported in AdAge: Global online ad spending will rise to $44.6 billion in 2008 from $36 billion today. The Internet's share of the global ad market will grow to 9.4 percent from [...]

Online Advertising Continues To Grow: Q3 Worth $5.2 Billion

Online ad revenues recorded 25 percent year-over-year growth for a $5.2 billion dollar performance in the third quarter, according to the IAB. Growth from last quarter was a less impressive 3 percent, however. The Internet is on pace to break $20 billion in ad revenues this year, compared with $16.9 billion for 2006. The first nine months of the year generated $15.2 billion in online advertising. Paid search represents a steady 41 percent of revenues. Techmeme has more discussion. [...]

LookSmart Reports Poor Earnings & Sells FindArticles To CNET

Gary Price reports that LookSmart has sold off FindArticles to CNET Networks for $20.5 million. LookSmart published a press release that details the sale is in cash, not in stock. Neil Ashe, CEO of CNET Networks, said: CNET Networks understands that access to premium content is critical for our users' online media experience. The addition of this high-quality content from leading independent publishers allows us to further improve the experience for our users. In other LookSmart news, the Silicon Alley Insider reports having third quarter earnings. Those earnings were less than impressiv [...]

Report: AOL To Acquire Quigo For $300 Million

There are rumors and reports circulating that AOL is about to add Quigo to its now pretty full roster of online ad networks and technologies, which includes Tacoda,, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and AdTech. These entities are the backbone of AOL's "Platform A" integrated online (and mobile) advertising, er, platform. AOL now claims that its has greater reach than any of its online competitors. Quigo has an impressive client roster of online publishers and has captured a number of publishers from Google with its technology and notion of "independence." There were rumors [...]

Changes At Natural Language Search Company Powerset

Big management changes are going on at Powerset, which has received much attention for its potential in using natural language processing for search. Barney Pell, who has been CEO at Powerset, posted today in his blog that he is transitioning to CTO, that Steve Newcomb, who had been COO, is leaving the company, and that Ron Kaplan, who had been CTO and Chief Science Officer, is now solely Chief Science Officer. The company is currently looking for a CEO. Several companies have been taking the natural language angle in creating the next generation search engine, but turning the potential into [...]

Local Search Site Judy’s Book To Shut Down

TechCrunch first reported (confirmed on CEO Andy Sack's blog) that local search site Judy's Book is shutting down and/or looking for a buyer. After struggling to monetize its traffic, the site shifted its business model to emphasize coupons and local deals. The firm had raised over $10 million in two investment rounds. This follows the sale of Judy's Book competitor InsiderPages to IAC's Citysearch and the failure of Some might be inclined to see this latest closure of a local site as evidence that local's not working. The truth is that it's quite complicated, with little roo [...]

Report: Microsoft & Google Compete To Own Stake In Facebook

Online Faceoff from NY Post reports Google is in a heated battle with Microsoft to own a stake in Facebook. The two companies would like to own a 5 percent and 10 percent stake in Facebook to leverage the huge opportunity of advertising revenue from the site amongst other opportunities that come with owning a stake in a company with such a large user base. Microsoft is reportedly willing to spend more than they think the company is worth to beat out Google in securing an investment in the company. We reported in the past that Microsoft May Buy 5% Stake In Facebook and that Yahoo wanted to [...]

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