Searcharazzi Alert: Interwoven to Acquire Optimost

Just a few weeks after Offermatica was picked up by Omniture, TechCrunch reports that Interwoven has agreed to buy Optimost for $52 million in cash. While we were pretty sure that AKQA would get the deal, it looks like the CMS won out. The Interwoven website is now serving up a page specifically on the deal, stating: With Optimost, we will be able to offer the most advanced solution for accelerating conversion rates and online sales as well as enhanced capabilities for providing targeted content to Website visitors. Visitors to the page can also download the a podcast on the subject from [...]


SEM Firm ReachLocal Closes Massive Funding Round

ReachLocal, an SEM firm offering simplified Internet and local search services directly and indirectly to the small business market, has closed a massive $55 million round of funding. This adds to previous rounds raised by the company. Reach is building out sales offices in cities across the U.S. and a local sales force to sell search marketing directly to small businesses. It's a challenging and audacious course, but one that could succeed if pursued intelligently and with discipline. I have a long discussion of the segment, the challenges, and the opportunity on my personal blog, Screenwer [...]


Zillow Grabs Another Big Round Of Cash

As the Wall Street Journal reported this morning, real estate and local search site Zillow announced another round of investment -- this time a whopping $30 million. That means the company has raised roughly $90 million since launching in early 2006. Among other intended uses of the money, the site will be growing its sales force, which currently stands at 20. Zillow is one of a number of "Web 2.0" real estate sites that have shaken up the landscape in the past 12 - 18 months. Zillow's Vanessa Fox (formerly of Google) will be speaking at SMX Local & Mobile. [...]


Search Traffic Influences The New York Times To Drop Subscription Fees

Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site from the New York Times says they will stop charging some news content as of midnight. The New York Times started charging $49.95 a year or $7.95 a month for access to columns and to the newspaper’s archives about two years ago. The New York Times said they had 227,000 paying subscribers, generating about $10 million in revenue. So why the change? Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, said: But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertisi [...]


Superpages Parent To Acquire InfoSpace Directory Sites

Recently Superpages has been putting out a press release a day, and today is no exception. The company just announced that it would be buying the directory assets of Infospace -- the only one explicitly named is Switchboard.com -- for $225 million (mixture of cash and debt). Infospace.com itself is a directory site and so is the recently launched FindIt, which is also the brand of one of Infospace's mobile assets. The acquisition will likely make Superpages (and related owned and operated sites) the traffic leader among Internet yellow pages/directory sites. This would seem to leave Infospac [...]


Japan Backing Device-Specific Search Tech To Compete With Google

Japan to fight Google search dominance from the Financial Times covers Japan's continuing efforts to subsidize new generation search technologies tied to gadgets and hardware, in part to be competitive against US-based search companies like Google. From the report: The Japanese project is comprised of 10 partnerships, each tasked with a specific next-generation search function. For example, the government has matched NTT Data with Toyota InfoTechnology Center and Toyota Mapmaster to create an interactive, personalised car navigation system. Other partnerships involve NEC, Hitachi and Sony Com [...]


Accoona’s IPO Backfires, Again

Web search IPO stalls on underwriter doubts from CNN Money reports that Accoona's expected $80.5 million IPO has failed due to their underwriter backing out. Maxim Group, their underwriter, backed out after completing an in-depth review of the company. The New York Times reported Edward L. Rose, the firm’s vice chairman and general counsel for Maxim, said: After completing our due diligence review, we have chosen to disassociate ourselves with the company. This is the second time this year Accoona showed interest in an IPO and had to pull back. The first was earlier this year, when att [...]


Fast Search To Fire 148 Employees

Fast Search & Transfer lets go of 148 employees from Pandia reports that Fast Search and Transfer will be letting 148 employees go this year. The employees who are being fired are reportedly being compensated for the downsizing. Fast Search & Transfer have reportedly hired 400 employees in 2006 and 2007. The company's CEO, John Markus Lervik, feels the downsizing will help the company improve their overall bottom-line. [...]


Ad Share Shifting To Internet

Henry Blodget's Silicon Alley Insider has some interesting data and analysis (Q2 2006 vs. 2007) that shows how Internet media are gaining at the expense of traditional media: TV, newspapers and radio in particular. Among traditional media, only outdoor grew in Q2. Everyone knows this intuitively and anecdotally but Blogdet breaks out some numbers. In the aggregate he says traditional media shrank by 3 percent YoY vs. online, which grew 42 percent. The total advertising pie grew 8 percent vs. last year. [...]


FAST Misses Q2 Revenues, Changes Accounting Practices

FAST Search & Transfer said that Q2 earnings were off based largely on a change in accounting practices. The company had formerly booked MOUs (memoranda of understanding) as revenue and that practice has been eliminated. We were informed but have been unable to substantiate that the company's accounting practices are now under investigation. Second quarter revenues and related presentations are available here. [...]


Accoona Files For $80.5 Million IPO

Via PaidContent.org, Accoona Files for IPO from the Associated Press reports that Accoona has filed to go public, with an estimated IPO price of $80.5 million. Accoona hopes to list their stock as "ACNA" on the NASDAQ. The AP reports Accoona's three business lines as online-lead generation, an online search engine in the U.S., Europe and China and an e-commerce consumer electronics retail business, with nearly all of its revenue coming from lead generation. In the first quarter of 2007, Accoona realized losses of $14.8 million with revenues of $37.5 million. The full SEC filings can be fou [...]


LookSmart CEO David Hills Resigns

A recent SEC filing reports that LookSmart CEO David Hill announced his resignation on July 26th, to be effective as of yesterday. LookSmart swiftly appointed Edward F. West, the current chair of its board of directors, to take over for the time being. LookSmart loses its head from the Australian IT has some more details on the loss, explaining that Hills became the CEO in October 2004. He decided to leave LookSmart to start his own online media advisory services firm. Edward West, the interim CEO, said: We are deeply appreciative of Dave's industry experience and contribution to LookSmar [...]


Searcharazzi: False Starts; iCrossing’s $62M

It was about to be one spicy Friday, as Searcharazzi received a call on Thursday from a recruiter looking to replace a top editor in the search space. The conversation went something like this: Recruiter: "Our client is looking to replace the top spot at [name of publication]." Searcharazzi: "I thought that role was filled a month or so ago by [name of person]?" Recruiter: "Didn’t last 2 weeks." Searcharazzi: "Are you sure?" Recruiter: "Yes, I got this job req a few weeks back." As it turns out, our friend the recruiter had been wrong, very wrong, and frantically called back to clar [...]


German-Backed Search Project, Theseus, Given $165 Million Grant

EU OKs German Online Search-Engine Grant from Forbes reports Theseus, a German search research project, has received a $165 million grant from the European Union. Theseus aims to develop an advanced multimedia search engine. The EU will allow German subsidy of the project through 2011. We covered news in the past about this search project as well as the related Quaero project, which is being backed by France. [...]


Local.com Acquires B2B Local Search Provider PremierGuide

Local search destination Local.com, which recently announced two local and mobile search patents, has acquired PremierGuide for approximately $2 million. PremierGuide is a white label provider of local search functionality and listings to third party publisher sites (newspapers and local TV affiliates) and has a large roster of clients. I have some additional detail on my blog. [...]


Answers.com To Buy Dictionary.com For $100 Million

Answers Corp has reached an agreement to buy Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com and Reference.com from Lexico Publishing Group, LLC for $100 million. These properties attracted 11.5 million unique monthly users in the U.S. during the month of June 2007 according to comScore. They generated revenues of $7 million, EBITDA of $2.9 million and net income of $2.8 million in 2006. For more information, see the press release. [...]


Compete: Microsoft Gaining Searches; Live Search Club Giveaway Working?

Compete is out with its latest search marketshare report for June 2007, showing that MSN/Windows Live Search has posted a dramatic rise since last month. This appears to be do to the Live Search Club promotion that's going on. Below, a look at the trend, a history of how giveaways for search have and haven't worked, as well as some revisiting to past issues with Compete's figures. First the figures. Below is the share of searches in the United States estimated to happen at each service, based on the ISP data, traffic panel data and toolbar tracking information that Compete gathers: You can [...]


FAST Buys Recommendations Engine AgentArts

Enterprise search provider FAST Search & Transfer has acquired personalization platform and recommendations engine AgentArts. The technology will be folded into FAST's various enterprise search offerings, which include a range of site search and monetization options for online publishers. The company also has a mobile search partnership with InfoSpace. FAST has positioned itself as a complete platform to help publishers of all stripes essentially compete with Google and avoid dependence on AdSense and other third-party contextual ad networks. [...]


Can Yahoo & Microsoft Ever Catch Google?

Google is not easing up in terms of search market share and acquisitions. I need not say it but Google is a formidable force that Yahoo and Microsoft are not going to overcome easily. Consider the following: Recent search engine market share figures (May 2007) show Google with 57.4%, Yahoo! with 22.9%, MSN with 8.8% and Ask.com with approximately 3.6% of the search market. These are average figures for data collected by Hitwise, NNR and comScore. Google’s last few steps, notably the purchase of YouTube.com and DoubleClick, will also prove to be scary for the #2 and #3 players in the ind [...]


Tolles Replaces Skrenta As CEO Of Topix

Chris Tolles announced that he would be taking over the roll of CEO at Topix. Rich Skrenta, the former CEO of Topix, will be a member of the board and an advisor. Why the change? Chris explains that Rich wasn't having "as much fun" as he did in the past. Chris explained that Topix needs to focus on "tweaking" and marketing aspects, all of which are not at the top of Rich's fun list. So instead, Rich and Chris decided to make this management change. Topix reached the top 20 most visited news and info sites in March 2007 according to Hitwise. [...]


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