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Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs

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The future looks dim for Excite@Home, which operates the Excite search engine. The company has creditors calling in their loans, putting it into possible bankruptcy. Meanwhile, FAST Search has had its second round of layoffs this year.

Excite is significant to the searcher in two ways. First, it is one of only five major crawler-based search engines covering the web. However, it also is the smallest, well behind the index coverage provided by Google, FAST, AltaVista and Inktomi. Given this, its closure wouldn't be a huge loss to the searcher.

Excite is also significant in that it is the oldest of the major crawler-based search engines. Launched in late 1995, Excite survives while the crawlers of WebCrawler, Lycos and Infoseek no longer operate. WebCrawler and Lycos do remain as search sites, but they are powered by Excite's crawler and FAST Search, respectively.

Should Excite go, the title of oldest major crawler will fall to AltaVista. That's ironic, because AltaVista was very much the new kid on the block, when it launched in December 1995.

Excite@Home Will Survive
Internet Stock Report, Sept. 4, 2001
http://www.internetstockreport.com/column/article/0,1785,1661_876731,00.html

Don't worry, someone will want to pick up the Excite portal, won't they? This analyst believes so, but Go and NBCi didn't seem to attract buyers for their portals.

Was Excite@Home marriage doomed at the altar?
News.com, Aug. 31, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1004-201-7013071-0.html?tag=lh

Two years ago, merging @Home's broadband access to Excite's portal seemed a match made in heaven, to some. The reality turned out to be dismal. A history of how the merger happened and went wrong.

Excite could swim with the fishes soon
USA Today, Aug. 23, 2001
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20010823/3568889s.htm

Another look at the demise of Excite@Home, with more a focus on some of the revenue figures causing the trouble.

Audit Raises Hard Questions About Health of At Home
New York Times, Aug. 21, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/21/technology/ebusiness/21EXCI.html

Excite@Home's own auditors, Ernst & Young, added to the company's troubles by stating they had "substantial doubt" about the company's prospects. Excite@Home fired Ernst & Young the next day and replaced them with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Excite UK Says It Has Cash to Continue Operating
Reuters, Aug. 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010821/wr/tech_exciteathome_dc_5.html

Excite UK, a joint venture between Excite@Home and British Telecom, says it has cash to keep going for up to a year and so may survive even if Excite@Home doesn't. Excite UK and Excite Italy are the only remaining Excite branded portals in Europe.

The financial woes of Fast
Pandia, Aug. 30, 2001
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2001/50-fast.html

FAST lays off another 60 employees and loses its two directors, apparently its CEO and CFO.

Fast lays off "idiot" employees
Pandia, April 21, 2001
http://www.pandia.com/searchworld/2001-23-fast.html

This is FAST's second round of layoffs this year, but the first round included "idiots," board director Thomas Fussell was reported to have said. He later retracted any such comment.

The business of search
Upside, Aug. 28, 2001
http://www.upside.com/DigitalMedia/3b8acf7f1_yahoo.html

A look at the challenge of selling enterprise search, though a bit confused. It lumps LookSmart into the enterprise market, though it really has no enterprise solution. LookSmart does sell listings, but that's money that's likely to come from ad budgets, not IT spending.

Google is also suggested to make most of its money from by selling search to other businesses, but the company's most current public statement is that 75 percent of its revenue comes from advertising. The remaining 25 percent comes from providing search services to other companies -- and most of those services are for web-wide search, not enterprise search.

The article then talks about how tough the enterprise space is now getting, citing Inktomi's most recently quarterly financials. However, the drop in revenues from network caching software might not really be considered an enterprise software product at all. In contrast, Inktomi does have enterprise search products as part of its overall search offerings. Search produced 43 percent of Inktomi's $40 million in revenue last quarter. Search revenues were down 7 percent over the same quarter last year, much less than the 92 percent drop in networking caching revenues.

Not Just Any Portal in the Storm
BusinessWeek, Aug. 24, 2001
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/aug2001/nf20010824_028.htm

Terra Lycos is said to be weathering the current financial storm, but there's plenty of work ahead.

AskJeeves reports Q2 loss
Reuters, Aug. 2, 2001
http://news.cnet.com/investor/news/newsitem/0-9900-1028-6763693-0.html

Ask Jeeves no longer expects to reach a profit by the end of the year but feels it has gotten through the worst periods, now. The company lost $21 million last quarter, compared to $42 million for the same time period a year ago.

Search Engine Revenues
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/factfiles/revenues.html

As a reminder, a comprehensive list of articles about search engine revenues is listed on this page.


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