to Acquire Family of Reference Sites

IAC-owned has agreed to acquire Lexico Publishing Group, the owner of,, and

The move will help fulfill its recent strategy to focus on reference and providing answers to questions. More than half a billion monthly worldwide searches consist of dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia queries, according to comScore.

The acquisition brings to 15.6 million monthly unique users, growing 29% year-over-year, giving the combined entity more than 145 million unduplicated users worldwide, making the ninth-largest Web property in the world. A full 88 percent of Lexico sites' traffic comes from direct navigation, where users type in "" or other site names in their browser.

"We think it fits in very nicely with what we have at," Doug Leeds, chief strategy officer at, told Search Engine Watch. "We're going to take some of the things that make great, like related search and binoculars, and bring them to"

The Lexico sites will also be redesigned to include the three-paneled Ask3D functionality for its search results, he said.

For, the move brings users closer to their next or previous destinations, which quite often is a search engine, Leeds said. The addition of Lexico's reference sites will improve users' experience as well, since more than 30 percent of all searches conducted on are in the reference category.

Terms of the all-cash transaction were not disclosed. Once the deal closes, the 16 employees of privately held Lexico are expected to join's team.

About the author

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.