eBay Restarts AdWords Campaigns With New Outlook

EBay to resume ads on Google, but rely on rivals from Reuters reports that eBay has resumed advertising through AdWords on Google but on a more limited basis than in the past. eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy said: I will tell you it will be in a much more limited way than it was before....What we found is that we were not as dependent on AdWords as some people thought. This backs Bill Tancer of Hitwise's data, where he shows that although eBay lost Google traffic, overall traffic levels stayed strong. eBay Pulls Google AdWords Ads To Protest Google Checkout Moves from us covers the backgroun [...]


Business.com Up For Sale, Bidding Starting At $300 Million

Business.com Could Hit Jackpot on Auction Block from the Wall Street Journal reports that Business.com is "on the auction block." The popular business-to-business directory is expected to make between $300 to $400 million on the sale. Who would be interested in buying Business.com? The Wall Street Journal believes that Dow Jones and New York Times might be some of the companies to make an offer. [...]


eBay Pulls Google AdWords Ads To Protest Google Checkout Moves

This week, eBay Live is happening in Boston, but the event is likely to be overshadowed by a fascinating and fast-developing controversy between the auction giant and Google. Rumors from ComparisonEngines.com and other sources last night and earlier today reported that eBay had pulled its ads off Google to protest a planned party (now cancelled) to promote Google Checkout, called "Let Freedom Ring," that was to coincide with eBay Live. Google planned the party to expose eBay sellers to its PayPal competitor. Google said it was doing so because eBay was rigidly refusing to discuss [...]


Good News, Bad News: LookSmart CFO Resigns, Company Ups Guidance

According to this SEC filing/press release (thanks Gary Price), LookSmart CFO and COO John Simonelli announced his intention to resign. LookSmart has been struggling for several years to regain respect and traction following the loss of the company's deal with Microsoft/MSN, which sent it into something of a tailspin. Since that time the company has been slowly climbing back and trying to improve the quality of its paid search network and restore profitability. Along those lines, CEO David Hills made an accompanying statement that the company will see an improved Q2 and raised guidance: Loo [...]


YP Corp. Acquires Classifieds Site LiveDeal

YP Corp., operator of directory site YP.com, has acquired classifieds destination site LiveDeal in a stock transaction worth roughly $12 million. The two sites will, in the near term, maintain separate destinations but trade and combine content. Over time, the destinations will likely tighten or merge. Classifieds is the third largest Internet ad category, capturing 18 percent of online ad spending according to the IAB, behind only display and search. Traditional U.S. directory and classifieds ad revenues were worth more than $30 billion in 2006. [...]


IAB: Search Continues To Lead Online Ad Spending

The IAB released its full-year 2006 Internet Advertising Revenue Report (here, PDF file) today. U.S. Internet ad spending was worth a total of $16.9 billion, with search accounting for 40 percent or around $6.8 billion, "up 31 percent from the $5.1 billion reported in 2005." The category distribution of online ad spending was basically the same in 2006 as it was in 2005: According to the report: Search Continues to Lead, Followed by Display, Classifieds and Referrals—Search revenue accounted for 40 percent of 2006 full year revenues, slightly lower than the 41 percent for the full year 200 [...]


Minding The Gap Between The UK & US Search Markets

A new white paper from UK-based search marketing firm Latitude Group says that search engines are missing out on $11 billion of potential revenues "if paid search penetration in the US was at UK levels." Why? "The US has a much higher proportion of in-house search marketers, who tend to be less innovative and do not operate search as effectively as search agencies, slowing the flow of funds from other media," according to the white paper, authored by Latitude Group’s chief executive officer Dylan Thwaites. Other key findings include: Search engine commissions have had a fire starter eff [...]


Reuters Buys Search Mining Tech; Former AOL Search Chief Campbell To Lead New Search Group

Via PaidContent, news that Reuters is to acquire text analytics company Clearforest, part of creating a new strategic group around search. Leading that group is Gerry Campbell, the former long-time head of AOL's search efforts: As part of its drive into this space, it has created a new strategic group within Reuters and appointed former head of search for AOL, Gerry Campbell, who will oversee the integration of ClearForest and drive this innovation. PaidContent made references to Clearforest having been working with Reuters to "boost search rankings for its business stories." To [...]


Autonomy To Reclaim Blinkx, Then Spin It Off

The relationship between enterprise search company Autonomy and video search company Blinkx has always been confusing. PaidContent.org now reports that the "weirdly secretive relationship" (I agree) is getting clearer. Autonomy is to exercise an option to take over Blinkx, then appears to be spinning some consumer-facing search technology that its owns (and I believe Blinkx was licensing) into an independent company Blinkx, that will go public in London. The Financial Times goes into more details on the deal, plus Autonomy offers a press release here. It all still seems as clear as [...]


Experian Acquires Hitwise For $240 Million

Experian has acquired Hitwise for about $240 million. Experian posted and Hitwise posted their respective press releases on the announcement. Don Robert, Chief Executive Officer of Experian, commented: "We have been successfully repositioning our Marketing Solutions business to meet our clients' needs as they continue to switch more of their advertising spend online. Hitwise, which is a rapidly growing, successful business, brings new, unique data to Experian and complements the existing data, tools and expertise that we already offer to clients in other areas such as research services and [...]


StumbleUpon Acquired By eBay: “Just Rumors,” Says Founder

The blogosphere is abuzz with rumors that eBay is acquiring StumbleUpon, but they're "just rumors," Garrett Camp, one of StumbleUpon's founders just told me on the phone. "There have been rumors before and that's what they are now," Camp said. Of course, if the company is in play, Camp would likely be bound by non-disclosure agreements, so the rumors could possibly turn out to have some merit. We'll follow the story and report any further details if and when they are confirmed. Meanwhile, it's interesting reading the speculation about why eBay, a vast auction site, would be interested in acq [...]


Seed Funder STN Labs Is Open For B’ness

This isn't search news per se, but Jake Baillie, who used to run local search engine True Local, is now helping to lead incubator/seed-round funder STN Labs. Jake left True Local in December specifically to pursue working at STN Labs, which already has an interesting portfolio of companies including local search data vendor Urban Mapping and mobile search provider go2. The company has got a sense of humor and is taking a no nonsense but simultaneously lighthearted approach (it appears) to funding. Check out their funding application, for example. [...]


Shopping Search Engine Management Changes

Since I've been absent a while (sorry Danny, Chris, and Barry), thought I should first catch everyone up on management changes at the shopping comparison engines. Here's the rundown: Shopzilla: President John Phelps and Chief Product Officer Farhad Mohit have left the company. COO Bill Glass has taken over as president. Here's the press release. Shopping.com: CMO Mike Aufricht, VP Internet Marketing & Business Intelligence Rob Goldman, CTO and Co-Founder Amir Ashkenazi, and Vice President, Global Operations and U.S. Merchant Operations Deana Bergquist have left the company. Here's a look [...]


Safa Rashtchy Leaving Piper Jaffray

Piper Jaffray financial analyst Safa Rashtchy has been covering the search space seriously for years. He was one of the first analysts I recall looking hard at the industry before it became clear to the world how much money it was generated. He's now leaving Piper Jaffray and has sent news of his departure, as of June 30, to clients and others in the email. Some key points from that: As you may have already heard, yesterday we announced that I am retiring from the sell side, after ten excellent years that I will always remember and cherish. The decision was not easy for me and, in fact, I [...]


Microsoft Announces Tellme Acquisition

Here's the press release confirming the acquisition we reported on yesterday. From the release: Tellme is a leader in voice services for the phone, including its popular mobile search services on 1-800-555-TELL. Founded in 1999, the privately held company answers millions of calls every day for information such as finding local businesses, driving directions, sports scores, stock quotes, weather, news, movie show times and more. Businesses use Tellme’s voice services and platform to provide customers with voice-access services ranging from banking to package tracking. These services are b [...]


Report: Microsoft To Buy Tellme

As previously rumored, Microsoft is apparently in talks to buy Tellme Networks, the voice services and automated directory assistance (DA) provider. TellMe has an enterprise business, which would be of value to Microsoft. But such an acquisition would immediately make Microsoft a potentially major player in the emerging ad-supported directory assistance (DA) market and speech-enabled mobile search. As I've written before the free DA model is "mobile local search for the rest of us." Tellme's voice assets and speech interface more broadly could be used by Microsoft to help the company diffe [...]


Citysearch Buys InsiderPages

VentureBeat is reporting that Citysearch/IAC is the mystery buyer of InsiderPages. A purchase price was not disclosed. The formal announcement will apparently come later today or early tomorrow [now confirmed, see below]. I would guess the purchase price wasn’t more than 2x what the investors put in (TechCrunch guesses $13 million), given that the company was being shopped from a position of weakness. IAC as a buyer is both appropriate and fascinating for many reasons. I've posted more on this on my personal blog. Postscript: It's now confirmed, press release below: WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif [...]


Powerset Licenses Xerox PARC Natural Language Tech

Both VentureBeat and the New York Times are out today with an update on Powerset, which has won the rights to natural language search technology from Xerox PARC that it hopes will make it into the new Google, when Powerset finally launches. VentureBeat also gives us news of at least one person from Yahoo now working there -- Tim Converse -- who left Yahoo in December. I know others from Yahoo are also at Powerset, as well. Last time we had news about Powerset, I did a big long rant -- Hello Natural Language Search, My Old Over-Hyped Search Friend -- about the hype and history often associat [...]


SideStep Raises $15 Million

SideStep today announced that it raised $15 million in its Series C round, led by Norwest Venture Partners. Other VCs involved include Trident Capital, Leader Ventures and Saints Capital. To date, SideStep has raised aproximately $32 million. Competitor Kayak has raised $30 million. Norwest is an investor in Turn (the new CPA ad network), which is led by Jim Barnett. Jim Barnett sits on the board of SideStep. Small world. Also, Norwest is an investor in Yatra, an India based travel search engine, so they know something about the space. So what does the profitable travel search company [...]


Search Engine ChaCha Announces $6 Million Round

Led by Amazon's Jeff Bezos' Bezos Expeditions, social search engine ChaCha announced that it had secured a $6 million funding round. ChaCha launched in Q3 last year and employs a network of live guides (college students, stay at home parents, retirees) to help answer user queries in real time in addition to providing traditional algorithmic search. Here's my most recent write up on the engine from November. Given its network of distributed guides, ChaCha is one of the more interesting recent search launches. While it started out quite slowly, the service and functionality have been getting mu [...]


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