So Long Direct Hit, Hello Teoma

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Say your goodbyes to the Direct Hit search engine. Direct Hit is no longer the favored child of parent company Ask Jeeves, now that the company's new baby, Teoma, is growing up.

Ask Jeeves has begun using Teoma results in place of information that previously came from Direct Hit. In addition, Ask Jeeves said last month that while the Teoma site would continue to operate on its own, the Direct Hit web site would be closed later this year.

Teoma launched to the public early last year and drew positive reviews for its relevancy. Ask Jeeves took notice and acquired the service in September 2001. Since then, Ask Jeeves has been upgrading Teoma, so that it could take over from Direct Hit.

Direct Hit is the "popularity" search engine that, along with Google, was one of the "hot" search properties of 1999. Ask Jeeves acquired Direct Hit in early 2000 but failed to develop the search engine properly. Consequently, while Google's popularity continued to grow, Direct Hit's fame wore off.

Direct Hit's results are available in several major ways. They continue to power many of the main results you'll find at HotBot. They remain an option available to users at MSN Search and Lycos. They are also "syndicated" to a variety of web sites looking for a search solution, such as About.com and AT&T. Ask Jeeves makes money off this syndication by sharing in ads sold on the results pages or from licensing fees.

Users can also get Direct Hit results by visiting the Direct Hit site itself, but that option is soon to expire. The Teoma web site is expected to come out of its "beta" status sometime between April and June of this year. When that happens, the Direct Hit site will be merged with Teoma.com. DirectHit results are likely to be offered as another search option on Teoma.com, in the form of a link or button, Ask Jeeves says.

"Direct Hit as a site will not stay," said Steve Berkowitz, president of web properties at Ask Jeeves. "Teoma is going to be the replacement for that site."

Teoma search results will not automatically replace Direct Hit results as an option for current Ask Jeeves partners to use. The Direct Hit database will be maintained exclusively for the use of Ask Jeeves partners. However, Teoma will also be offered as a new option to those partners.

This means that syndication partners currently taking Direct Hit results might choose Teoma results, when they are offered. It could also mean that Teoma results could be picked up by major partners such as MSN or HotBot.

I think you're likely to see partners go this route. Teoma's results are still getting considerable press buzz, so I think you can expect Ask Jeeves partners wanting them as a way to gain some attention to their own sites.

A longer, more detailed version of this article is
available to Search Engine Watch members.
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Ask Jeeves Assimilates Teoma
SearchDay, Jan. 10, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0110-aj.html

More about how Ask Jeeves has integrated Teoma results into the flagship Ask Jeeves search site.

Ask Jeeves Wraps Its Arms Around Octopus
SiliconVallay.internet.com, Jan. 14, 2002
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article/0,2198,3531_954091,00.html

Ask Jeeves has acquired Octopus and plans to use the technology from that former site and company in its enterprise software solutions.