LookSmart Buys Furl -- The Search Stickiness Battles Are On
from the didn't-see-that-one-coming... dept
Well, look at that. Just yesterday, we were pointing out how Ask Jeeves was adding features to store and annotate the websites you like and asked if people wouldn't just prefer to use an independent offering like Furl, rather than be tied down to a specific search property. Whoops. Forget we said that. Furl has just announced (no news sites have it yet, but we're including the text of the email after the jump) that they've been acquired by Looksmart, the also-ran paid-search, paid-inclusion search engine provider. So, this is yet another search provider trying to increase stickiness by letting users do more with their search results. They're also offering five gigs of storage. If you hadn't realized it yet, this space is getting more interesting every day.
Dear Furl Members, Tomorrow we will be making an official announcement that Furl has been acquired. However, we wanted you to be the first to hear the news. We are joining LookSmart, a provider of Web search and research-quality articles search, in addition to other high-quality search products. This is exciting news for several reasons. First, because LookSmart acquired Furl for the same reasons you probably use it - it is a great service that works well - and LookSmart has no intention of changing the things that make it great. On the contrary, LookSmart is committed to making existing features even more powerful. To show how serious that commitment is, we are officially allocating 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage for each individual member's public archive, enough space to store tens of thousands of archived items. We are also now working on many new features, some of which you may have requested. These include a groups feature, and the ability to search across all public archives. You might be wondering whether Furl will continue to be a free service, and the answer is: "Yes!" Furl will create revenue through the display of relevant, contextual advertising on search and content pages. This revenue source enables us to continue offering Furl free of charge. It also allows us to keep investing in the service. As Furl gets better and better, it attracts more members. They in turn attract new advertisers, creating a cycle of growth that benefits our members as well as our business. Some other questions you might have: * Is my current archive safe? Will I lose any data? Your archive will not be affected. You should not lose any data in the change, but of course you can always use Furl's export tools to back your data up if you like to take extra precautions. * Will I have to install a new toolbar? No, your current Furl toolbar will continue to function as usual. * Why did Furl "sell out"? First of all, we don't really think of this as "selling out." We are now employees of LookSmart and are still working on Furl every day (we just have a lot more help). The primary reason we sold the company was that we have always believed Furl makes the most sense as part of a larger search offering. We negotiated with several large public search companies and ultimately chose LookSmart. We truly believe this acquisition is in the best interest of our members and of the long-term longevity of the service. We use Furl, too, and want it to continue to grow for many years to come. To sum it up, Furl is great the way it is. LookSmart is dedicated to making it even better. Furl meets a need that is not otherwise being filled on the Web, and the more people who use it, the more useful it is for everybody. We hope to reach even more members through LookSmart's other Web properties, so they, too, can start Furling. -- Mike Giles Founder & CEO, Furl