SearchBiz: Facebook-Twitter Talks Fail; Yahoo Loses On Kelkoo; Google To ‘Take Over TV’ & More
Here’s our lead story in 140 characters: Facebook buying Twitter=fail. Allthingsd.com says $500m stock offer too low. Twitter unsure about selling. Talks over, but FB may try again.
The longer version for those not active in microblogging: Facebook recently came up short in a serious bid to buy Twitter. Kara Swisher at allthingsd.com says Facebook initiated talks in mid-October and offered $500 million worth of Facebook stock. Twitter questioned the value of that stock, and instead wanted a cash deal. Swisher also says the Twitter folks aren’t even sure they want to sell the company at this point.
“It’s more about timing,” said one person familiar with Twitter’s motivations. “There is a strong feeling that there is still an opportunity–even with the economic downturn–to blow this thing out.”
Talks ended a couple weeks ago, but sources said Facebook may try again in the future.
Yahoo has sold the UK comparison shopping site Kelkoo to Jamplant Ltd., a UK private equity firm. According to TechCrunch, the sale is something of a financial hit for Yahoo: They bought Kelkoo in 2004 for €475 million, and the sale price now was less than €100 million. Ouch.
More trouble for Yahoo? The Stepforth blog reports that DivX is suing Yahoo for at least $25 million for allegedly canceling an advertising contract that wasn’t due to expire until the end of 2009. The ad contract involved DivX offering the Yahoo toolbar to users who download DivX software.
Technology Review tells us how Google plans to “take over TV” by applying systems and ideas from the AdWords web advertising service into its TV advertising. Just today, Google announced a new “broad match” feature when TV advertisers are looking for programs to sponsor, and the Technology Review piece says Google will soon launch demographic-based searching. (Me? I’m waiting for Google to launch something that eliminates those infernal “Saved by Zero” Toyota TV ads. Google? Anybody working on that?)
In our SearchBiz column from last Thursday, I mentioned a public debate in NYC on the “Is Google Evil?” question. Today, Saul Hansell of the New Yoek Times updates that topic with some comments from Google CEO Eric Schmidt talking about how Google itself debates that question internally: “We will fight over what it means,” Schmidt told Hansell. Hansell’s piece also links to some video clips (on YouTube, natch) from the original public debate on the issue.
Finally, and on a related note, the Times’ David Carr writes about how Google products have infiltrated most of his online activities, and wonders if he’s making a mistake by relying so heavily on Google products like Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar, etc., etc., etc. He even shared these concerns with Eric Schmidt, who explained this is all part of Google’s business model: “We want a little bit of Google in many parts of your life.”