AskJeeves Spends $343 Million On Also Ran Republishers

from the but-why? dept

Not quite sure I understand the reasoning here, but now that Yahoo has realized it's search that's valuable - not being a content provider directly, AskJeeves seems to be going in the other direction. They've decided to spend $343 million on a group of also-ran sites that most people have forgotten about. The company they bought, Interactive Search Holdings, owns what's left of Excite.com and iWon.com - two of the most hyped "portals" during the boom years. These days, both are shells of their former selves, basically just republishing Associated Press articles. They also created MyWay.com, which was designed to look and act just like MyYahoo - without the ads. Not a bad idea, but it hasn't really set the world on fire. Basically, AskJeeves is getting into the portal business - something that hasn't really been a successful strategy for a lot of companies (including two that they're buying now). This seems like an awful lot of money for limited benefit.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Kevin Morris, Mar 4th, 2004 @ 11:23am

    Because it's a real business

    Umm...because they generate a huge amount of cash flow. While re-publishing doesn't light a fire like "Techdirt Wireless", the strategy makes an enormous amount of money. As a technology there's nothing sexy about it, but cash flow generation is what counts for real businesses.

     

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  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 4th, 2004 @ 11:27am

    Re: Because it's a real business

    So why spend $343 million to get a bunch of AP feeds when they could have just gone to AP and gotten them themselves?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2004 @ 12:52pm

    No Subject Given

    And look what the stock price for jeeves did today. Somebody somewhere likes the idea .... alot.

    Cash flow is good. Very good.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 4th, 2004 @ 1:32pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Give it three years. AskJeeves will regret this purchase.

     

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  5.  
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    Tupac, Mar 5th, 2004 @ 9:14am

    Re: Because it's a real business

    was great for the stock b/c a bunch of momentum players love to get lathered up with internet names.
    they have 2 main biz's
    1) stick ads on other people's websites & share the rev/click (bad when those sites demand more $$, as was overture's prob). this is what has been driving their biz (aided by the fact that their deal w/ google allows them to place those ads cheaper than avg)
    2) stick same ads on your own site & keep all the rev (most profitable). bad for ask, b/c their site traffic sucks. so they buy excite to hope their traffic will be better & place ads there.
    in the meantime, we can all dream the dream, but i think the co's future is still being driven more by the google relationship (prev 60% revs) than anything else. who knows-- they prob do regret paying so much later on

     

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  6.  
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    Sniffy McNickles., Mar 5th, 2004 @ 9:40am

    No Subject Given

    So why spend $343 million to get a bunch of AP feeds when they could have just gone to AP and gotten them themselves?

    Because they're buying what little marketshare they can in the search space. The market is consolidating, and apparently they want to pretend to be a player. I would guess that this is just an attempt to be bought by someone else, like most of the other new search ventures, but that is just a guess.

     

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