Search Engine Revenues


This page lists articles from Search Engine Watch and around the web relating to revenues earned by search engines and other financial issues.

NOTE: Article links often change, especially the older an article is. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline. Also, some very old articles flagged “no longer online” might indeed be online — but the former URL no longer resolves, and it’s not worth the time investment for me to try and personally track down these down versus spending time producing new content.

Jump to articles from:
Sept. 2004 Onward
Jan-Aug 2004200320022001
200019981997 & Earlier

Articles From Jan-Aug 2004

Search Engine Executive Roundtable, Part 2
SearchDay, Aug. 26, 2004

How do the search engines view search marketing firms? What are the growth drivers of the industry? And Is the search ‘bubble’ going to pop soon? Danny Sullivan continues his discussion with four top search executives. Also links to Part 1.

Google Changes Estimated Share Price To Below $100
Search Engine Watch Forums, Aug. 18, 2004

Google advises potential investors that the estimated price per share is now $85-$95 — and fewer shares will be sold.

Here’s What I Would Pay for Google, Aug. 11, 2004

Numerous people have asked me how much I would pay for a share of Google. First of all, I don’t buy search stocks to avoid conflicts of interest. Secondly, if I did, I honestly have no idea. Half the time, it seems like no one really knows what a company is worth period. Lots of people seem to want to compare Google to Yahoo, since they are both search-oriented companies that sell listings. But Yahoo isn’t exactly the same as Google. In addition, things like the number of shares outstanding, share splits and so on all seems to be lost in the muddle of comparison. But I did find this article a nice walkthrough of trying to get some type of valuation. Could be completely off, but at least the process is interesting.

Paid search growth may slow
Reuters, Aug. 8, 2004

Paid search spending isn’t going to grow as rapidly as in the past, says a new report from Jupiter Research. Nevertheless, the same report estimates that paid search will double from $2.6 billion spent this year to $5.5 billion by 2009. Meanwhile, an analyst in the story fails to understand that Google already earns beyond paid search — since its contextual ads aren’t search! But the concern that some will want Google to diversify outside of paid advertising overall is valid.

Online Ad Spending Poised to Surpass Magazines, Yellow Pages
MediaPost, July 28, 2004

Online ad spend will meet print ad spend in 2007, then surpass it in 2008, Jupiter Research estimates. The prime driver? Search, and more money being paid for existing inventory, rather than in growth:

Google’s IPO Pricing
Search Engine Watch Forums, July 26, 2004

Google announces details about its auction style IPO and expected starting prices of stocks

Report Says Search Needs More Inventory
Search Engine Watch, July 21, 2004

A new report suggests that a lack of supply may drive prices so far up that it slows the growth of search advertising.

Growing a Successful Search Marketing Business
SearchDay, July 13, 2004

Building a search marketing company holds the promise of both meaningful profits and a lot of fun — but it takes hard work and some savvy business sense to be truly successful. This version of the article for Search Engine Watch members offers additional tips and strategies for search marketing professionals, including how to deal with undesirable clients, dealing with ad agencies, and crucial staff positions to consider.

Ask Jeeves searches for profits, gets results
San Francisco Chronicle, July 19, 2004

Profile on Ask Jeeves working to secure and grow its position among the majors of search. I still think the strategy of running multiple web properties will be tough to pull off. Others haven’t had great success with it. One property tends to end up as the favored child. With Excite, the WebCrawler and Magellan properties ended up getting neglected. Lycos left HotBot to fester for ages. But there’s no doubt the acquisition of ISH has helped Ask immediately gain a larger share. Some more discussion on this over here: Following the Ratings – Ask Jeeves Moving Up. And more coverage of Ask developments also here, Ask Jeeves CEO: Technology Matters in Web Search,

Seasonality Descends on Searches
Wall St. Journal, July 9, 2004,,SB108933011309259323,00.html

Yahoo says paid listing revenue and query volume showed no major rise from the previous quarter, causing financial analysts to fear the paid search boom is over. Yahoo says it’s a seasonal thing. Apparently, it hasn’t been noticed as strongly in the past because of other factors that have pushed growth up. More coverage also here.

Forging Yahoo’s Future
Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2004,,SB108804182688246225,00.html

Interview with Yahoo CEO and chairman Terry Semel, touching on the need to own its own search technology and avoiding countering the “do no evil” mantra of Google with his own “what’s good for consumers” thought.

Nightmare on Madison Avenue
Fortune, June 14, 2004,15114,650390,00.html

Search marketing, arguably the hottest form of internet advertising, isn’t mentioned once in this long write-up on the challenges traditional ad agencies face given an onslaught of new media outlets and tighter cost watching. But search will certainly play its part in pulling the big TV ad spend away into new areas of advertising.

Google making overseas ad push to boost revenue
San Jose Mercury News, June 8, 2004

A look at the battle by Google and others to grow revenues by focusing on markets outside the US. Interesting news about Google investing in a local Chinese search engine, as a means to finally book profits earned in China. Like the quote from the Chinese internet expert saying many Chinese internet users still don’t know of Google. So explain again why China found it necessary to block Google back in 2002? More on the Google investment in Baidu is also here:

Owning the Standard for Search Engines
TheStreet, May 26, 2004

One of the most frightening things in writing about search has been to watch some financial analysts wade in and offer advice that simply leaves you thinking they know nothing about search. It’s frightening, because in areas I don’t know, the same people may sound knowledgeable to me.

Here’s a good example. The argument is that Google may establish a search “standard” in the way that Microsoft has IE as a standard browser, eBay is a standard for those who want to auction or VHS is a standard for video tape. Following this logic, it’s argued that Google’s search algorithm may be some type of standard that produces results that other search engines somehow can’t match.

Hey, the search algorithms aren’t that different. And advertisers don’t care who has the “leading” search technology. They’ll go to any site that has a large number of quality prospects. Google by no means is the only “standard” here. And designing pages just for Google? Heck, it’s hard enough to get many web sites to consider basic tips for search engine optimization period. The “tipping point” for having a standard is a few years away? A standard for what? Web search? Local search? Personalized search? Accurately predicting when and where to mix these and other databases together?

Recent Domain Name Registrations That Include the Word “Google” (May 2004)
ResourceShelf, May 25, 2004

More cashing in on Google’s brand almost entirely by companies other than Google registering domain names using the word Google. Highlights include names such as,,, and No doubt Google’s lawyers may go after some of these names eventually — perhaps that’s what those who registered are hoping for.

Search Engines Are Powering Ad Revenue
LA Times, May 24, 2004

Most readers know how how paid listings have propelled search engines into money-makers. But this story has a nice look back at how GoTo, now Overture, made this all possible. Some quibbles, though. Google realized its users wanted a blend of paid and unpaid results? More like Google realized they needed ads to make money and added these at the end of 1999, an early date that’s often forgotten. AdWords came in 2000 and later migrated into a cost-per-click based program: Meanwhile, an ad agency tells us advertisers tried paid search ads because the dotcom downturn made them more willing to gamble on it. Please. Search engine optimization — traffic from free listings — had long been in demand because of the recognized quality traffic it could bring. Search engine advertising provided that same quality traffic along with guaranteed placement. It was a no brainer for people to do.

Atlas DMT Launches Search, Renames GoToast
ClickZ, May 24, 2004

GoToast becomes Atlas OnePoint and integrates search tracking into its overall ad tracking system.

Microsoft turns its might to growing field of search
AP, May 17, 2004

Profile of Microsoft’s intent to win in search against Google and Yahoo. A few specifics, mostly stuff you’ve probably read in other stories like this before.

Former Overture MD joins WSPS as chief executive
DMBulletin, May 17, 2004

Former Overture managing director and president Nick Hynes has taken up a new position as CEO of search engine marketing firm WSPS.

In Google’s Shadow, Ask Jeeves Grows, May 17, 2004

Profile on how Ask Jeeves thinks it will survive and thrive despite the search battle between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft happening around it.

Yahoo to boost search
San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2004

Yahoo tells analysts to expect great things in search, saying it has 50 different search projects in the works though gave few details.

Return To The Sad Days Of More Than A Search Engine?
SearchDay, May 14, 2004

Yahoo says it is “more than a search engine” in the same week Google adds a new portal feature. Are the sad days of search being a neglected child about to return?

Google Isn’t Keeping Quiet After IPO Filing
Washington Post, May 20, 2004

Normally, companies that are about to go public often keep announcements at a minimum because of a legal “quiet period.” Not so with Google. Communication and outreach from the company has been largely normal, though the occasional “we can’t talk during the quiet period” responses are creeping in. Let’s hope that doesn’t get used as an excuse to dodge legitimate questions, in the way former search player RealNames did:

Google Cover Story
BusinessWeek, May 3, 2004

Wide-ranging look at the challenges Google faces from competitors. Much of this will already be known to regular readers of this newsletter, but the article provides a good refresher. The Search Scrum graphic is terrible in giving Google the “edge” when it comes to advertisers, because Google has more than twice those of Yahoo. According to what numbers? Why Google’s own. Both Yahoo and Google have tons of advertisers and more important, most search advertisers do them both because reach is unduplicated. Story also has links to Q&As with Google cofounder Larry Page (good questions, but no revealing answers) and CEO Eric Schmidt.

Google IPO To Happen, Files For Public Offering
SearchDay, April 29, 2004

As many expected, Google filed to go public today. In this story, a breakdown of facts and figures from the financial information the company has now published for the first time.

Search Has Found Itself
Washington Post, April 28, 2004

You’ve seen this story before about the growth in revenues for paid search ads. But often forgotten are the search marketing firms that are also growing. Case in point, the mention of search marketing firm WebSourced looking to earn $15 million in revenue this year.

Digital Impact Plans Search Marketing Service, April 28, 2004

Email marketing company Digital Impact sees a future in search — and plans to add search marketing services later this year.

IAB Reports Ad Revenue Up 21 Percent Due To Sharp Increases In Search, Rich Media
MediaPost, April 22, 2004

Internet ad revenue rose 21 percent in 2003 to $7.3 billion, according to new figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Keyword search was said to lead growth, making up $2.6 billion or a third of the total. Unclear is whether contextual ads — which are not search — are counted as part of this.

Microsoft: Built From Scratch, The Interface Migrates to the Web
Searchblog, April 21, 2004

Fresh from a visit to Microsoft, John Battelle feels that Microsoft’s late jump into search means they can fly high unfettered by past ideas and that MSN will be the company’s way to preserve the operating system dominance it currently enjoys, in a time when desktops may become disconnected from the actual hardware we use (for more on that, see Welcome To The Google Desktop)

The Search Engine Wars
NPR, April 12-16, 2004

Good, five-part radio series that you can listen to online explaining how we got to the current interest in search.

SEC Probe Halts Mamma’s March, April 6, 2004

Mamma’s stock has been hot — so hot that the US Security and Exchange Commission has started an informal inquiry into its rise.

The Secret Source Of Google’s Power Weblog, April 4, 2004

Rich Skrenta, a cofounder of the Open Directory and new news site Topix, ponders whether the giant network of cheap computers Google has built might translate into an entirely new computing platform.

Marchex is Seattle’s first Internet IPO in 4 years
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, March 31, 2004

Marchex raised $26 million by going public in March (one rumor I heard was that the company name stands for March exit). The company was founded by former Go2Net/InfoSpace executives. It owns Enhance Interactive, the recently renamed ah-ha paid listings service. Enhance also provides paid inclusion listings to various InfoSpace web sites, such as Dogpile. Marchex also owns search engine marketing firm TrafficLeader, which resells paid inclusion and paid placement listings, as well as provides other services. (permalink)

Baidu president takes on Google
Shenzhen Daily, March 29, 2004

Profile of Robin Le, president of, a major Chinese search engine, and how the service hopes to succeed against Google and other competitors.

The Grownup at Google
Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2004,,SB108051189603067300-H9jeoNjlad3oJ2mbXyIaK6Gm5,00.html

Q&A with Google chair and CEO Eric Schmidt, on formalizing Google without killing creativity and spirit, the “do no evil” philosophy, hiring, making decisions in cooperation with Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, working independently of them and not needing to IPO in order to raise cash.

Microsoft Concedes Misstep in Search Market
eWeek, March 25, 2004,1759,1554638,00.asp

Earlier this year, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates confessed that his company was behind in search and vowed to catch up with Google (and though not said, also Yahoo). Now CEO Steve Ballmer says the company should have done more earlier, as well. He also expects to have the crawler-portion complete within 12 months, but it will take longer to develop a paid listings service. IE — expect to see Yahoo’s crawler-based results disappear first, then Overture’s paid listings further down the line. (permalink) Files for $75M IPO, March 26, 2004 — formerly DealTime — has filed for a public offering that might raise $75 million. (permalink)

Google Facing Public Filing as it Grows
CBS, March 23, 2004

Revisiting the issue that Google may have to share details of its finances regardless of whether it goes public, because of the number of stockholders and amount of assets it has. Barron’s Online raised this back in October. wins name game
Globe & Mail, March 22, 2004

Mamma changes its name to reflect its search focus and sees the company’s value go up 200 percent. But analysts warn too much hype is driving up the company’s shares. (permalink)

AOL got Google warrants in 2002 -filing
Forbes, March 18, 2004

Flash back to 2002, and there were some people surprised that AOL dumped Overture and Inktomi in place of Google. Overture suggested Google was taking a loss and also dismissed the idea that having good editorial results for partners was necessary (something it flip-flopped on a year later, when buying AltaVista and AllTheWeb).

Now it appears that AOL gained the right to purchase 1.9 million preferred shares of Google for $22 million. John Battelle estimates selling these might bring in $200 million.

I’m sure the stock warrants sweetened the deal and gave what Google cofounder Sergey Brin described at the time as “competitive monetization.”

Feds slap cuffs on Google stock scammer
The Register, March 12, 2004

Google hasn’t announced IPO plans, but that didn’t stop someone from allegedly selling “friends and family” stock options in Google. The man claimed to have such options to sell and made over $500,000 before being arrested by the FBI.

LookSmart’s First Quarter Expectations Rise
ClickZ, March 11, 2004

LookSmart raises revenue projections for the first quarter of this year to $21-$23 million, up from $16-18 million. Listing sales are growing, layoffs have helped and a new agreement with MSN to use LookSmart’s listings “at its discretion” have helped.

Search upstarts storm Google’s gates, March 11, 2004

There’s gold in them thar search hills, so go search young company! Nice recap of the many smaller search players out there, all hoping to cash in on search.

Who Wants to be Bought Out?
About Web Search Guide, March 11, 2004

Neglected in the rush to cash in on search has been the role of search engine marketing companies. But attention is now being focused on them as potential acquisitions by ad agencies and others realizing they need a way into search advertising that they long neglected. Thoughts on what may come from Jennifer Laycock, feeling inspired after attending a track on the subject at the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in New York.

A question to ask Jeeves
CNN Money, March 10, 2004

Who wins from the Ask Jeeves purchase of Interactive Search Holdings? Certainly ISH, which made $150 million in cash for an original $10 million investment. Whether the purchase will be a stopgap to keep Ask Jeeves on the search radar screen or a harbinger of future growth remains to be seen.

Search engines: Real profits, real stocks
MSN Money, March 10, 2004

Fast rising stock prices make search seem like a return to the dotcom bubble of 1999. But analysts say the fact that many search companies have actual revenues, rather than simply potential, puts the stocks on surer footings.

WebSourced parent raises $2.75M
Triangle Business Journal, March 10, 2004

The parent company of search engine marketing firm WebSourced raises money through a stock sale in order to retire debt and raise capital.

Busy Week For
ClickZ, March 5, 2004

Mamma plans to acquire an email marketing/popup-under firm, adds new advertising features and sees its stock skyrocket after announcing a fourth quarter profit.

MAMA fires up 1999 mentality
CBS MarketWatch, March 3, 2004

A close look at some of’s financials, in an effort to decide, hot stock or daytrader dream? Answer? Hard to say either way, it seems.

Commentary: Google’s soft spot
Forrester Research, March 2, 2004

I started a long point-by-point analysis of this commentary, because I disagree with many of its statements and conclusions. I may come back to that in the next newsletter, if I have time to do a proper edit of my comments. But in short: Microsoft already has desktop search integration, and that hasn’t kept people from going to Google or Yahoo. Who will “win” here isn’t certain. Google isn’t a portal, and that’s been its strength. But if it needs to be a portal, it seems short-sighted to assume it can’t compete with Yahoo. And the idea that Google will win the ad network battle is weak. Google has a near split with Overture now. As long as the audiences remain unduplicated, I’d expect Overture will continue to remain important.

Sullivan: No One Will Win Search War
ClickZ, March 2, 2004

In my keynote at the recent Search Engine Strategies show, I discussed how I don’t feel there will be any single “winner” in the search wars. Instead, I believe that we’ll have major search engines in the way we have major television networks, and despite gains and losses, they’ll all survive. I also feel we’ll have a variety of small, independent players surviving in the way we have cable television channels that thrive.

I also urged that if Yahoo is going to embark on a new chapter in paid inclusion, it get off on the right foot by providing some type of simple disclosure of such links.

Finally, I predicted that instead of purchasing keywords, we’ll eventually buy concepts that relate to an audience we want — such as someone looking to buy a sofa. We’ll pay a price based on the perceived value of that lead, not based on the exact words that lead uses to find us. Another take on the keynote is here.

Google’s Page ‘dismayed’ by IPO speculation
Reuters, Feb. 27, 2004,39020369,39147420,00.htm

Google cofounder Larry Page speaks about the Google IPO — to remind that what’s being reported as fact is not being confirmed by Google and to express disquiet over many of the things speculated.

Yahoo keeping close tabs on social networking-CEO
Reuters, Feb. 26, 2004

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel says his company is watching social networking services like Friendster (and presumably Google’s Orkut) closely but doesn’t yet see the business model in them.

Google gurus join Forbes billionaire club
Reuters, Feb. 26, 2004

Forbes officially declares Google’s cofounders to be billionaires.

Microsoft commercial-search chief departs, Feb. 25, 2004

A blow to all those who subscribe to the Microsoft will bowl over Google and Yahoo in the search game theory. Just weeks after gaining Paul Ryan, the former chief technology officer at Overture, Ryan’s quietly departed. This follows on New York Times report that Microsoft lost a key vice president involved with building its crawler technology to Google. Want to fill either of the two openings? Microsoft Search is still hiring, and interestingly apparently for many of the same jobs when this page was posted last year. Google, well-staffed already, continues to hire plenty as well. And Yahoo has 255 spots open at the moment, including one job to be a directory editor/surfer for Yahoo Canada.

Startups seek new ways to search the Net
AP, Feb. 24, 2004

Search is hot, so new companies are entering the space and hoping to find a niche between Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.

DoubleClick Plans Search-Bid Tool, Feb. 24, 2004

DoubleClick purchased Aquantive/ATLAS in December. Now it plans to release its own bid management tool later this year.

The Search Engine That Isn’t a Verb, Yet
New York Times, Feb. 22, 2004

Profile on Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and his company’s efforts to regain the crown of search king that it once held.

The Google Guys
ABC News, Feb. 20, 2004

Short profile on Google’s cofounders.

Google and Newspapers
Editor & Publisher, Feb. 17, 2004

Wide-ranging interview with Google cofounder Sergey Brin, focusing on issues relating to newspapers, such as whether Google plans to compete for classified ads money (Answer: no).

Has Paid Search Peaked?
eMarketer, Feb. 12, 2004

Despite the headline, this article’s charts show search spending continuing to rise — as I would well expect it to. Some more bar charts for those who want numbers on the growth of search engine marketing. This write-up has some more details from the report.

Googlescape: Are we headed for Bubble II?, Feb. 13, 2004

Forrester’s CEO George Colony says Google’s not worth $15 billion, but $6 billion might be seen as reasonable. Elsewhere, he argues that Google is vulnerable because search has “no barriers to entry.” The proof of this is how AltaVista almost immediately lost its traffic to Google, Colony writes. Yep, over six months in 2001, Google sucked in AltaVista traffic — as well as traffic from others. See what I’ve long called the Google-AltaVista “X” because of the way the traffic lines cross via the December 2000-May 2001 Media Metrix ratings page listed here.

If there’s no barrier to search, then why didn’t all the other search engines around at this time do well? Because there IS a serious technological barrier to building a system that can index the web, provide relevant results and handle large amounts of searches. If it was so easy, why does Microsoft itself not expect to have a system going until the end of this year, at the earliest? That’s almost two years after it began efforts to build its own crawler. Again, the answer is that it’s not so easy.

The search barrier indeed exists. Anyone new will have a tough time breaking through it. And should they do so, they’ll only succeed if the others out there are clearly worse than the newcomer. AltaVista would not have lost traffic to Google if it hadn’t neglected search. Don’t expect Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Ask Jeeves — the major technology players in the space — to repeat that mistake.

FindWhat Posts Quarterly Profit, Feb. 9, 2004

FindWhat posts a profit of $3.5 million for the quarter and is on track to nearly break the $100 million mark in annual revenue for the year. An agreement to merge with Espotting is also back on.

Microsoft not ready to battle with Google
Seattle Times, Feb. 9, 2004

I’ve written before that Microsoft versus Google and Yahoo is not the same as Microsoft versus Netscape. Here’s another view that agrees with what I’ve said, that in search, its not necessarily another Microsoft walkover. But the threat of Microsoft coming up with a great, integrated search utility remains.

LookSmart Beats Street, But Lowers 2004, Feb. 6, 2004

LookSmart projects a loss for 2004.

Google CEO: “An IPO is not on my agenda”, Jan. 29, 2004,39024667,39118043,00.htm

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says there’s no IPO “on my agenda right now.” Rumors are that investment banks are saying to wait in hopes of an even bigger offering in the future.

Audit results move Google closer to IPO
New York Times, Jan. 27, 2004

Unnamed people close to Google say it has cleared an audit, a necessary step if the company plans to go public.

Yahoo Calls It Quits in Denmark, Jan. 26, 2004

Yahoo is closing down operations in Scandinavia. Seems more than 70 percent of people in that region use rather than local Yahoos anyway.

LookSmart CEO Out, Jan. 21, 2004

LookSmart’s looking for a new CEO. LookSmart Australia’s CEO has taken over temporarily. He’s got some free time on his hands, since LookSmart Australia is being sold to a local yellow pages firm there:,4057,8452263%5E15306,00.html

Google Fans Fill Web With Buzz Over IPO
Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2004

Will Google change after it goes public? Speculation and thoughts.

Google’s House of Cards
ClickZ, Jan. 5, 2004

Advertisers and publishers are upset at Google due to falling ROI on ads and lost rankings from free listings. Advertisers also continue to want AdSense offered as a separate purchase and at a lower cost. Is this Google’s House of Cards, where large revenues may suddenly disappear. Could be. It could also be an opportunity for the company to finally do what advertisers want and win back some lost friends by rolling out a separate program.

By the way, I’d counter that Google is indeed in danger of losing its sterling reputation with users. Twice over the holiday break, I’ve picked up popular magazines discussing how Google is losing its relevancy. Some of the arguments were incorrect, but readers may not understand this. Instead, the word of mouth going around is that Google has lost its shine — and upset advertisers and web site publishers will only add fuel to looking for proof of this.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs to Manage Google IPO
Bloomberg, Jan. 5, 2004

Google’s still not confirming anything, but bankers are leaking the news that Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group are to handle its rumored IPO.

FindWhat Adds New Division, New Tool, Jan. 5, 2004

FindWhat completes its purchase of Miva, a maker of ecommerce and shopping cart software. The company also rolls out “IntelliMap,” a broad matching tool that groups similar words, misspellings and punctuations together under a single term.

Jupiter: Tough Year Ahead for Paid Inclusion, Jan. 2, 2003

Paid inclusion revenues will dip in 2004, according to Jupiter Research, due to the dropping of LookSmart by MSN. Revenues are expected to rise in subsequent years, but by how much depends on how well paid inclusion is embraced by Yahoo and MSN.

Articles From 2003

Some See Google Dutch Auction in 2004
Reuters, Dec. 21, 2003

Will Google do a “Dutch Auction,” which is less lucrative for bankers and their special friends? Adopts New Moniker, Dec. 18, 2003

Second-tier paid listings provider changes its name to Enhance Interactive.

How Search Engines Make Money
SearchDay, Dec. 16, 2003

Too often, web entrepreneurs today think of search as a one-way business, focusing solely on how to make money off of the search engines without understanding how search engines also need to make money in order to survive and thrive.

Search And Destroy
Time, Dec. 15, 2003,9171,1101031222-561499,00.html

Newsletter readers have already seen this type of story before, and you can expect more of them as major news weekly and other publications educate their respective readerships about the coming Google IPO and the competition the company faces in the form of Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon. There’s a passing reference of Google claiming to now have 4 billion pages indexed. Perhaps this is the sum of the pages they claim to have indexed on the home page plus those in the supplemental index, a figure for which Google’s never disclosed.

Internet start-up plans first local IPO in years
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, Dec. 12, 2003

Marchex has filed to go public. Marchex? The company founded by former Go2Net/InfoSpace executives owns Enhance Interactive, the recently renamed ah-ha paid listings service. Enhance also provides paid inclusion listings to various InfoSpace web sites, such as Dogpile. Marchex also owns search engine marketing firm TrafficLeader, which resells paid inclusion and paid placement listings, as well as provides other services.

Google to Start Research and Development in India
Reuters, Dec. 11, 2003

Google plans to open its first non-US research center in Bangalore, India.

Can Google Grow Up?
Fortune, Dec. 8, 2003,15114,548765,00.html

A look inside Google, posing questions about whether the company will continue to succeed. Google is called arrogant, apparently by those who try to negotiate deals with it. Growth has left employees and partners confused about directions. Contract employees without stock options, making up 30 percent of Google workers the story says, have resentment against those who do. And who is in charge, the founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, or CEO Eric Schmidt?

Google better look out, the story warns, because Microsoft is going to “push” it off tens of millions of PCs. Keep in mind that Google is not preinstalled on the vast majority of PCs out there, so this isn’t a new threat. And if Microsoft does manage to find a way to prevent users from actively seeking out Google, as they do now, then Yahoo faces the same challenge.

As for Yahoo, it already competes head-to-head with Google and has done so since it bought Inktomi last year. The partnership with Google was effectively over then, but most likely for contractual reasons, Yahoo has continued to park the $235 million investment it made in Inktomi on the sidelines while it continues to use Google. When Yahoo finally shifts fully to Inktomi, it won’t be a surprise or shock to Google.

As for what happens if a “good enough” search engine is in the hands of a Google rival — Yahoo and MSN have already have “good enough” search engines. Google’s survived that just fine, so far.

None of this is to downplay the fact that Google has challenges ahead, including much stronger and dedicated competition that it ever has had before. However, some perspective on that competition is also important to keep in mind. This is a weak time for Google? Yahoo’s still trying to absorb Overture, which itself just absorbed two other companies — and Inktomi continues to linger. As for MSN, it’s still hiring for the “army of brainiacs” the article says it already has for web search. Google’s competition is going to be tough, no doubt. But right now, that competition faces disarray of its own.

The article looks at how Schmidt focused Google on earning money, though AdWords actually predates him. Schmidt joined in early 2001. Google started running “text banners” at the end of 1999, then opened its self-serve AdWords program in late 2000 — not February 2002, as the story says. Instead, that date is when AdWords opened a new CPC-based product that ran alongside the preexisting CPM-based AdWords. Today, CPM has been entirely replaced by CPC — and the shift is likely what made even more money flow in.

The article has some good figures on number of employees and revenues, though public sources for the revenue figures aren’t cited. Google itself has never released these. It also covers concern that AOL is said to have about Google’s growth.

Finally, this story leads off recounting how I shot softball questions past Sergey Brin earlier this year at the San Jose Search Engine Strategies conference. I did not ask, “How did Google become such an icon?,” as the story says — but the fault here is mine, given that our own SearchDay coverage of the interview suggests this. What I actually asked was, “Did you envision that kind of success,” describing the growth Google’s seen since it has grown in 1998. That’s something entirely different.

Other questions included, “How will an IPO change Google?,” “How do you respond to critics you say you are too powerful?,” “Will you ever do paid inclusion?” and “Where do you go next to improve relevancy as link analysis begins to look less and less useful?” Those aren’t exact quotes, but they capture the fact that it wasn’t all softball questions, at least to me. But Fortune writer Fred Vogelstein tells me he really mean this to capture that the spirit of the interview was friendly and casual, rather than aggressive. That’s absolutely true.

Sex sites fire up Internet search engines’ profit
New York Times, Dec. 3, 2003

Brief look at how search engines make money by carrying porn listings.

These Sites Are a Shopper’s Dream
BusinessWeek, Nov. 25, 2003

You can tell that the holiday shopping season is approaching because of all the stories about shopping search engines that are beginning to appear. This one looks at shopping search engines from a business perspective, in terms of how much they earn.

Pre-IPO Google Dossier: An Experiment in Opinion Mining
K-Praxis, Nov. 17, 2003

A wide-ranging look at various opinions that have been expressed about Google. Unfortunately, while sources are noted generally at the beginning, some individual statements are not attributed. In some cases, this would have been helpful for those wanting to do follow-up research.

The Gold In Google’s IPO Goes To…
BusinessWeek, Nov. 17, 2003

Sure, Google will make a lot of money when it goes public. But how much will those with big stakes in the company make. This article provides a look at what slice of Google various people own. The founders each are said to have at least 15 percent each. That means they could be looking at being worth up to $3 billion a piece. The companies that backed Google with early investment money might see a 20,000 percent return. Competitor Yahoo has a small stake in Google — but small is relative. That stake could be worth up to $300 million, more than what Yahoo’s expected to make in profit this year.

Gates: No Talk To Buy Google
USA Today, Nov. 17, 2003

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says his company has never talked with Google about buying that company.

Growth in Google’s revenue engine seen slowing
Reuters, Nov. 16, 2003

Last year, there was lots of speculation on how much money Google earns. Now the focus has shifted to how revenue growth may slow. All of this despite the fact that the company has never published any revenue figures at all. Despite the headline, this is really about the fact that the paid listings market is likely to slow in terms of growth. I have no doubt it will, but no one can say how much. The introduction of new products, the almost certain rise in cost-per-click, the expansion of paid listing distribution — all are factors that may keep growth strong.

Keyword Search Emerges As Dominant Online Ad Format
MediaDailyNews, Nov. 12, 2003

I remember not that long ago when online advertising spend reports would come out, I’d ask those issuing them what portion was related to search engine marketing. The silence, as they say, was deafening. It wasn’t that spend didn’t happen. Instead, it was that no one bothered to count.

Want to revisit those bad old days of search being ignored? Then re-read my article from August 2001, Search Engine Marketing Finally Getting Respect.

The good news is, they’re counting now. The just released IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report found that “keyword search,” which apparently means spending on paid placement and probably paid inclusion listings, made up 31 percent of all internet advertising spending in the second quarter of this year, up from 9 percent for the same period last year. It’s not clear if money spent to gain organic or “free” search engine listings is counted in this. I suspect not — and arguably, that type of spend might be counted as a PR effort.

Not only the search spend a record, but it also positions search engine marketing as the dominant online advertising format. Banners, the second most popular form, made up 22 percent of spending. Rich media, which were once seen as the hot future for online ads, came in many positions later at 6 percent. You can read the report yourself here.

Microsoft’s Internet Search Push Worries Google, Yahoo
Dow Jones, Nov. 10. 2003

Some nice color here of Microsoft making the decision to get serious about search back in February, with the sign-off going up to Bill Gates.

Ask Jeeves chief says new exec team ready for future
Contra Costa Times, Nov. 9, 2003

Q&A with Ask Jeeves president and future CEO Steve Berkowitz, covering staying profitable, growing the company, trying to gain market share from the big four: Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN, examining search behavior to provide better search results and other topics.

eBay’s Whitman: Google Is Not a Threat
Reuters, Nov. 3, 2003

eBay’s CEO Meg Whitman dismisses that Google is a threat to eBay. Nor would I see Google’s Froogle shopping search engine as a threat to eBay, since Froogle provides no functionality for merchants that lack online stores. That’s eBay’s strength. However, her faith that Google’s focus on “search” means it wouldn’t get into online auctions may be misguided. Google got into blogging earlier this year, and that has nothing to do with search. Google might easily unveil a system to let companies list products for sale, perhaps through a Google version of Yahoo Merchant Solutions. That might very well be a threat to eBay.

Amazon: Sales up from book search, Oct. 30, 2003

Amazon says its new “Search Inside The Book” feature has boosted sales.

In What’s Google Really Worth
BusinessWeek, Oct. 30, 2003

Alex Salkever deconstructs the notion that Google might be worth up to $25 billion. Coming up with that figure by using eBay and Yahoo are benchmarks is probably misguided, given that those companies have business models so much different than that of Google, he says. In contrast, looking at pre-Yahoo-owned Overture is much more instructive. Doing so, as well as a look at enterprise search company Verity, puts Google’s potential valuation much lower.

LookSmart: Determinedly Second-Tier, Exploring Options, Oct. 29, 2003

LookSmart is still pondering the best way forward in the wake of news that its distribution with MSN will end this January.

Ask Jeeves scraps it out with search engine giants
Red Herring, Oct. 29, 2003

Ask Jeeves is the minnow swimming among the big fish of Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. But the company’s thinks it can thrive and survive, despite being dependent on Google’s ads.

Analyzing Search Engines as Investments
SearchDay, Oct. 29, 2003

Search has become increasingly popular, but do the common stocks of search engines make a good investment? High-tech investment analysts share a glimpse of the techniques they see to value publicly traded search firms, and which companies appear to be succeeding.

AOL’s Happy Secret
New York Times, Oct. 28, 2003

Google’s apparently making oodles of cash for AOL, but the company is also reorganizing its own in-house advertising efforts.

The State of the Search Engine Industry
SearchDay, Oct. 22, 2003

Noted search engine experts and analysts explored the major themes and trends driving the current and future state of the industry in a lively, wide-ranging forum at the Search Engine Strategies conference.

FindWhat Surges After Third-Quarter Beat, Oct. 21, 2003

FindWhat reports $2.8 in net income last quarter. The company said it will no longer report some stats such as revenue per click. It said that the merger with Espotting is still being worked out but could still fail to happen. FindWhat also disclosed that two unnamed distribution partners each accounted for more than 10 percent of FindWhat’s income. You can bet one of those is probably InfoSpace, which operates several popular meta search sites that carry FindWhat results, including Dogpile.

Internet Search Engine Advertising Shows Major Gains
AdAge, Oct. 13, 2003

Readers of this newsletter know the power of search engine marketing, so there’s not a lot new in this article written for the more traditional media buyers who read AdAge. But do check out some of the stats, which are good. Ford’s online arm is spending 25 percent of its budget on search engine marketing. Edmunds reports a 30 to 40 percent return on its buys. United Airlines wants search to make up 25 to 50 percent of its online marketing budget. And the costs of buying are going up.

Waiting For the Big One: Why a Google IPO appears likely by April, at the latest
Barron’s Online, Oct. 13, 2003,,SB106583046445910900,00.html

Google may have to go public simply because it has too many employees. If I recall correctly, this is one of the main reasons that Microsoft was eventually forced to go public. Latest rumors are that Google makes more than $100 million in profit off up to $1 billion in revenue.

Battered LookSmart says it can look smarter
TheAge, Oct. 11, 2003

LookSmart founder Evan Thornley says LookSmart will announce its plans to survive the loss of MSN in a few weeks.

Yahoo keeps up profit streak, Oct. 8, 2003

Yahoo has its sixth consecutive profitable quarter, earning $65 million in net profit on $357 million in revenue. Yahoo is also to stop breaking out sponsored search revenues in future quarters, saying it’s no longer a distinct business line. Indeed, I would say it is — and not breaking out figures will make it harder for everyone to measure the health of Yahoo’s paid listings operations.

Google CEO speaks out on future of search, Oct. 7, 2003

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says personalization is growing as an important part of how Google will aim to deliver good results to its users. And that’s it — no further specifics.

iProspect Selected to Inc. 500 List of the Fastest Growing Companies in America
iProspect Press Release, Oct. 7, 2003

I don’t often run links to press releases, but this is notable. Search engine marketing firm iProspect has been named by Inc. Magazine as the 47th fastest growing company its Inc. 500 list. The list ranks privately held companies according to sales growth. Watch the list, because I’m sure in the coming years, you’ll see many more SEM firms move up for similar recognition as the market grows.

Is Google worth as much as Yahoo?
CBS MarketWatch, Sept. 30, 2003{DCCC9C0A-8F8D-4E0A-9B5F-A67E7DBC9871}

Latest valuation of Google? How about $17 to $19 billion, say sources who make that estimate off prices Google is using when it acquires smaller companies. But actually achieving that valuation when it goes public will be difficult, says CBS MarketWatch’s Bambi Francisco.

The Coming Search Engine War, Part 2
ClickZ, Sept. 29, 2003

Everyone’s coming after Google. How can it fend off competitors? Keep up with any new features offered by others and constantly rebuild its service as the “next” great thing. Sure. But the argument that “better” isn’t as good as being “what’s next” doesn’t hold up, in my view. The search engine space is littered with companies that promised to be the next best thing but which didn’t deliver the goods.

Google won droves of AltaVista users because it offered better results. But isn’t that because it was perceived as the “next generation” of search? Perhaps — but it was also better. After all, Direct Hit also emerged at the same time as Google. It was also a “next generation” service. Yet Direct Hit never gained Google-like traffic and no longer exists today. Why? Because its results clearly were not better.

WiseNut and Teoma both emerged as the “new kids” of search in 2001. WiseNut is nowhere near a threat to any major search engine. For that matter, neither is Teoma, in terms of traffic — but at least Teoma has some small following. Teoma will argue that it is the “next generation” of search, but I’d say the gains its made compared to contemporary WiseNut are due to it being better.

No doubt that as Microsoft, Yahoo and others try to win the hearts of searchers, you’ll keep hearing about how they are the “next generation” in various ways — just as Google will keep rolling out changes to its own service. But such words will mean nothing unless backed up by performance. To date, no search engine has won long-term users through marketing spend and pitches. Just ask Northern Light, which spent millions on television ads only to disappear. Want more? Drop by sometime and I’ll show you some funny commercials that HotBot, Lycos and Excite all made to attract users — none of which kept those users in the long term.

The big winners we have today, Google and Yahoo, built their audiences on the back of strong word of mouth for having great technology or methods to deliver search results. The same is true for the minor winner of Ask Jeeves. The other big winners, AOL and MSN, won their audiences not through marketing but because their browsers (the AOL software; Internet Explorer) drive large numbers of users to their services.

Amazon Plans Search Service to Drive Sales
Dow Jones, Sept. 25, 2003

Amazon’s entering search — lookout Google and Yahoo Maybe. Search is multifaceted, and what Amazon is planning may not go head-to-head with what Google or Yahoo focus on. In particular, Amazon has quite a bit of knowledge on how to make a ecommerce search solution for merchants. Want to sell products and services on your own web site? Then why not try Amazon’s proven, tested software that comes out of its long experience in being an ecommerce merchant.

Google offers nothing like this. It does have enterprise search software — the Google Search Appliance — but it’s definitely not an ecommerce shopping cart solution. Similarly, Amazon’s A9 seems to be aiming to make software that will help merchants sell to shoppers, not to let employees search the corporate web site.

I can also read the article another way, which makes it sound like Amazon may be planning some type of shopping search software that consumers might run. If so, that would go much more against Google and Yahoo. And if so, it will be Amazon’s second run at this. Alexa zBubbles rolled out in late 1999. To my knowledge, it died a quiet death. There’s also a longer Wall St. Journal article on the subject, available to those with WSJ subscriptions.

Dealtime Relaunches as
SearchDay, Sept. 22, 2003

Shopping search and product review site Dealtime officially changed its name today to, marking another milestone in the fascinating journey of a storied domain name

Yahoo sees sponsored searches doubling
Reuters, Sept. 19, 2003

Yahoo expects to earn $5 billion from paid search in 2006, up from $2 billion estimated for this year.

Buy Jeeves? No, sir.
CNN, Sept. 16, 2003

Ask Jeeves has seen its stock price skyrocket — but is it really worth that much? For various good reasons, probably not, this column concludes.

Google co-founder: No rush for IPO, Aug. 20, 2003

Covers a variety of questions I put to Google cofounder Sergey Brin during a “conversational keynote” at Search Engine Strategies. No — Google has no plans to purchase Microsoft. For other reports on the interview, see, Google Wild About Commoditizing Search from, , and Inside Search Engine Strategies, San Jose – Day Three: A Chat With Sergey Brin from Search Engine Guide,

Chinese Homegrown Search Engine Eyes Overseas IPO
Reuters, Aug. 20, 2003

Beijing 3721, which powers search results for Internet Explorer users in China, is considering a public listing. More accurately, it seems to power a version of keyword navigation akin to the former RealNames, helping those in China enter Chinese characters into the IE address bar to reach web sites.

Gunning for search engines
USA Today, Aug. 19, 2003

Review of the three-way race shaping up in the search space between Google, Yahoo and MSN.

24/7 Real Media Re-brands Search Unit, Aug. 13, 2003

Back in August 2000, 24/7 purchased search engine optimization company Website Results, which later became infamous in a Salon article that examined dubious business practices before the company was sold. Now Website Results gets a new name: 24/7 Search.

Observers drool for Google IPO, but it’s unlikely until 2004
San Jose Mercury News, July 31, 2003

Why won’t Google go public this year? It promised not to in April, for one thing. It gains many advantages from staying private, for another. More members of the Google board of directors would also be needed.

At Jupiter: Search by the Numbers
up2speed, July 31, 2003

Jupiter Research says paid search will generate $4.3 billion in 2008. That’s lower than the $7 billion figure released earlier this year by US Bancorp Piper Jaffray. Kevin Lee looks briefly at differences in the numbers, including the role paid inclusion plays.

Search Powers Online Ad Revival
CyberAtlas, July 30, 2003,,5941_2242141,00.html

Jupiter Research estimates that paid search listings will total $1.6 billion by the end of this year, making up 25 percent of total online advertising spending. Two years ago, it made up only 10 percent of spending.

Overture counts cost of partner deals
NetImperative, July 24, 2003

Overture’s net income was down from $17.5 million in the second quarter last year to $7.6 million for the same period this year. Overall revenue was up 74 percent, however. The drop in profits was due to Overture having to share more with its partners.

Can Google save America Online?, July 24, 2003

Paid listings have stood out in a bright spot for revenues with Yahoo and MSN but revenue from AOL’s deal with Google didn’t get a mention in recent financial reports. AOL doesn’t break out figures, but one financial analyst guesses AOL will make $28 million off of Google this year and that by 2007, Google (or presumably paid listings from someone) will make up 33 percent of AOL ad sales.

Amazon’s new online plan: a little more of an open book
New York Times, July 21, 2003

Amazon’s trying to make it possible to search the full-text of tens of thousands of books. Not quite certain where this article comes up with the idea that Google is “cutting in front” of Amazon when shoppers want to buy things. In fact, I’d say it’s the opposite. If you don’t know Amazon has a particular product, you’ll probably search at Google (or other search engines) just as people always have. But if you know Amazon has something — say you want a particular book — you’re likely to go right to Amazon.

Yahoo Move Alters Paid Inclusion Industry, July 15, 2003

In contrast to this article, I think paid inclusion is going to be in decline. Paid inclusion emerged because companies like Inktomi and LookSmart needed a way to offer their partners revenue. Google, in contrast, has never had a compelling reason to offer it. It already makes money directly for itself by selling paid placement. If it wants more money, rather than doing paid inclusion, it can simply expand the presence and amount of paid placement links. Now Yahoo owns three different companies that have paid inclusion programs. Like Google, I think Yahoo will find it easier simply to focus on the paid placement side of things.

Google moving in Mtn. View
San Jose Mercury News, July 12, 2003

The Googleplex, Google’s headquarters, is moving — but only a few miles away, to more room in buildings owned by Silicon Graphics.

CompUSA Taps Range Online for Search Marketing
DMNews, July 2, 2003

Financial analysts depend largely on published revenues from Overture and other search engines to gauge the size of the search engine marketing space. Unfortunately, that leaves off money earned by third-party search engine marketing firms. Those still dismissing some of these firms as being in a “cottage industry” should think again. For example, Range Online Media projects $30 million in revenue, for this year. That’s a lot of cottages, honey.

Overture: A Tricky Next Movement
BusinessWeek, June 23, 2003

Overture isn’t expecting the record earnings it had in the past, as the company spends to build out an editorial product to better compete with Google. Many analysts think the company will succeed in the transition it needs to make and maintain partnerships with Yahoo and MSN. Interesting stat that paid listings now make up 33 percent of $6.6 billion in online ad spending. Also note that Overture is on the BusinessWeek “Info Tech 100” list. Overture’s more an ad company than a tech company, and so is Google, in many ways. Technology is vital to what both companies do, but the products they have are much more related to media and advertising than technology.

Schoolfriends make dotcom fortune
Evening Standard, June 20, 2003

Sebastian Bishop and Daniel Ishag started Espotting in their living room and now have sold it for $160 million to FindWhat. A bit more about the pair.

EBay vs. Google: They compete more than we know
CBS MarketWatch, June 17, 2003{983DBE9C-4D4A-4789-9591-8F9BF4658751}&siteid=mktw

If you have products to sell, eBay or search engines such as Google are natural places to consider. Both have huge audiences that are explicitly saying they want your product.

Interestingly, I’ve found people tend to do either one or the other. For example, my neighbor is our local eBay guru, purchasing all types of products at garage sales (OK, he calls them car boot sales), then makes a bundle getting a good price on eBay.

I love talking with him, because I learn all sorts of things about “eBay optimization.” But does he know anything about search engines? Nope — and yet this could be another venue for him. This great article explores how there are these two different venues, the eBay marketplace and search engines — though only Google gets named among the other important search engine choices.

Is eBay Google’s competitor for advertisers? In a way, sure. But eBay lends itself especially to people like my neighbor, who don’t want to operate web sites. In contrast, to succeed with Google and search engines in general, you’ll need a more concrete location in cyberspace.

Betting On The Butler Again
Forbes, June 12, 2003

Ask Jeeves, once the hot stock, is hot again. But what makes the Ask Jeeves stock price only dollars away from Overture, which generates far more revenue than Ask? Well, as this article correctly points out, Ask Jeeves still has a fairly popular search destination site. To some degree, it “owns” visitors unlike Overture, which essentially rents them through partnerships with MSN, Yahoo and others. Ignored by this article is that to maintain that popularity, Ask Jeeves needs good search technology. Fortunately, Ask Jeeves does have this going for it, with the Teoma search engine that it owns. The article does address that Ask Jeeves is making money from a sweetheart deal to carry Google’s paid listings. However, it seems blind to the fact that ultimately, Google competes with Ask Jeeves. Google could decide in the future that since it “owns” the advertisers, it doesn’t want to give as much money to Ask — or any at all.

What’s it Going to Take to Beat Google?
SearchDay, June 12, 2003

These days, the most popular tech parlor game after guessing Google’s IPO date is speculating what it will take knock the company off its throne as web search champ.

Google IPO could be new era’s role model
CBS MarketWatch, June 3, 2003{8BBA3847-6451-4C62-B112-DB6007DEDA57}&siteid=mktw

When Google eventually goes public, will it be able to do it “right” in terms of eliminating “friends-and-family” shares and “lockups?” Such moves might show that Wall Street has reformed in the wake of the internet bubble collapse.

What’s Next: Do One Thing Right
Inc, June 1, 2003

Story starts out suggesting that Google is successful because it does search and only search, as opposed to Excite, which years before went beyond search and into being a portal. Flip-flop things, with Google coming first and Excite coming second, and Google might very well have done the same thing. Nor does the story acknowledge that delivering contextual ads and blogging services, as Google now does, is definitely NOT search. In addition, the story suggests that Google succeeded with paid listings because it clearly labeled these. If anything, Google succeeded because Overture (the former GoTo) revived the notion of paid listings that got shot down when first experimented with by Open Text during 1996. Importantly, Overture stuck with paid listings and paved for other search engines, including Google, to use them. In addition, the web audience was more ready for these. It gets forgotten that when Open Text first tried paid listings, these were apparently clearly labeled but vocal critics at the time did not care. Finally, the story concludes that Google is so well-known that companies like Yahoo and AOL have to buy its services for their users. This overlooks the fact that Yahoo had decided the opposite. It is search — not Google’s search — that’s so important that Yahoo has decided it needs to develop search technology in-house rather than rely on Google.

Putting Online Ads in Context
Business 2.0, June 2003,1640,49475,00.html

Contextual ads from Google and soon Overture may do more than help large publishers. They offer the ability for small players to potentially survive and thrive with revenue.

The third era starts here
The Guardian, May 29, 2003,3605,965532,00.html

Isn’t Google cool for offering an API? Or is this simply a wise company that sees a possible revenue stream? A look at how APIs for Google and Amazon are being used and possible potentials for these web services.

Overture Partnership Key for Yahoo, May 16, 2003

How important is Overture (and thus, paid listings) to Yahoo? Overture’s listings generated nearly one-fifth of Yahoo’s overall revenue in the first quarter of 2003.

In Search Of Profits, May 8, 2003

I like the spin some try to place in this article of contextual ad links as some new way to “search.” Contextual links have nothing to do with search at all. People don’t need contextual links as a way to search better. Instead, contextual ads reside in content, which may (or may not) answer their questions. The only reason search gets involved is because the major search players have loads of advertisers that want more inventory. Contextual links offer a way to get these advertisers before a wider audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for content owners, readers or advertisers — but neither is it a “search thing.” Best part of the story is the nice chart showing estimated search revenues from 15 major companies, as compiled by US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Overture to trim staff, integrate units
Reuters, May 8, 2003

Overture is cutting 100 jobs, mainly people in sales and finance that came to the company through its recent acquisitions of AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

Paid Inclusion Hot, LookSmart Not, May 6, 2003

LookSmart has lowered forecasts for its yearly profits by almost half, to $13 million, down from the $22 to $25 million it had previously estimated. Reason? Need to spend more on product development.

And You Thought the Web Ad Market Was Dead
BusinessWeek, May 5, 2003

The battle for paid listings in Europe is heating up. Actually, it was already heating up over a year ago (see Europe’s Paid Placement Warriors). However, Overture’s now fighting hard to push back against the early lead Espotting gained in 2001. For 2003, Espotting’s set to earn $100 million in sales but the company almost sounds like a write-off according to this article, with Overture “having nabbed most of Europe’s major players.” Unfortunately, the article fails to back this up, relying instead on proof of this from Overture itself. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt Espotting will have to battle harder in 2003 than ever before. Overture has deeper pockets to help it sweeten deals while Google needs no partners at all to compete — it already has a range of popular web sites throughout Europe, its own.

Google CEO Has No Near Term Plans for IPO
Reuters, May 5, 2003

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a technology conference that the company has no plans to IPO now nor would he offer speculation as to what would prompt Google to do so. He also said Google would offer blog-specific searching soon, though Google later told me in a follow-up that this is not planned for the near future. Expects $10M Profit in 2003, May 1, 2003

FindWhat expects to make a $10 million profit this year. Google’s purchase of Applied Semantics — one of FindWhat’s top five partners — will hurt the company, but it expects to do better in its deal in providing technology for internal paid listings program that Terra Lycos operates. Also interesting is the suggestion that Terra Lycos may give its own listings a more prominent position in the near future. To do this, Overture listings might be pushed into a secondary spot. Terra Lycos did just renew with Overture for three years, but the agreement probably gives Terra Lycos great flexibility on where Overture listings are located.

China’s Internet Cos Are Creating Alternatives to Google
Dow Jones, April 30, 2003

Let me see if I understand right. Google may face “fierce competition” when it decides to enter the Chinese market, according to one of the new home-grown firms that has sprung up recently to provide search services to that country. This is the same Google that the Chinese government banned, only to back off partially after popular outcry? Methinks Google’s already got a loyal following in China, despite the fact that in Chinese, apparently its name sounds like “dog dog.”

Google Finds a Good Analyst
Fortune, April 29, 2003,15114,447870,00.html

Google has hired former CSFB analyst Lise Buyer to be its “director of business optimization.” Buyers job is to watch that the rapidly expanding company is not making business mistakes, along the way. But is another duty going to be preparing Google for an IPO, Fortune wonders.

Overture’s sour notes
CNN Money, April 28, 2003

Overture has dropped its earnings forecast for the year. Traffic costs and technology investments have eaten into its profit margin, both exacerbated by the increased competition from Google.

Overture Gets Squeezed, April 24, 2003

A lowered earnings forecast and Google’s acquisition of a former important Overture partner caused several Wall Street analysts to downgrade their recommendations of Overture.

Ask Jeeves Sees Growing Profits, April 23, 2003

Ask Jeeves exceeds its first quarter revenue forecasts and makes a $7.7 million profit. The company expects to earn total revenues of $102 million over the course of the year.

China Web alliance takes on Google
South China Morning Post, April 16, 2003

I’ve probably read five different versions of the “Chinese search engine” alliance story and still have yet to fully understand what exactly is going on. This story is the best I’ve seen so far, but it’s far from clear. As best I can tell, the China Search search engine was started last September and is backed by the Chinese government. Now a variety of Chinese portal sites, including the popular portal, seem to have agreed to use this government-approved search engine. And users in China are expected to use the search engine since they can’t rely on accessing services like Google and AltaVista — which have been blocked in the past by the Chinese authorities.

Yahoo’s Koogle leaving board, April 15, 2003

One of Yahoo’s original board members Tim Koogle has resigned.

Wall St. Frets At Google IPO Stall
New York Post, March 31, 2003

I like the investment banker quoted at the top of this story saying the technology sector really needs Google to go public. Of course, there’s no compelling reason for Google itself to go public right now. There’s no indication that it needs the money, and anyone at Google watching how Overture’s stock gets ping-ponged about can’t be looking forward to the same happening to Google. At some point, Google will need to IPO to help its investors recoup their money. But it doesn’t need to rush into it now, just because Wall Street would like it.

Overture Fleshes Out International Plans, April 14, 2003

Overture plans to launch in seven new regions this year. South Korea has happened, Italy follows by the middle of this year, then launches to follow in Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Also notes new estimate that the paid search market should generate $2.1 billion this year, rising to $7 billion by 2007, according to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

In Searching the Web, Google Finds Riches
New York Times, April 13, 2003

Reports from insiders say Google’s revenue will rise from $300 million in 2002 to $750 million or more this year. The company now has 800 people employed. The story suggests that Microsoft might try to challenge Google by adding search capabilities to the Windows operating system. Microsoft effectively did that years ago, making its own search engine the default choice within Internet Explorer. That has helped make MSN Search one of the most popular search engines on the web — but Google has thrived, in spite of it. Story recaps more of the growth of Google and competition in the market, all likely a familiar story already to readers of this newsletter.

Yahoo Revises Estimates Upward, Reports Profit, April 9, 2003

Yahoo reports a first quarter profit of nearly $50 million and predicts yearly revenue will be up to $1.3 billion. Paid listings have been a key factor in the growth.

A Beacon of Hope for MSN
BusinessWeek, April 7, 2003

MSN is gaining audience and making money in Europe

Overture Jumps as Yahoo Grabs Cash
The Street, April 4, 2003

Is Yahoo assembling cash to buy Overture? No one is saying, but cash-rich Overture certainly doesn’t need to be “rescued” with a buyout, write George Mannes.

Search Engines Are Picking Up Steam
BusinessWeek, March 24, 2003

Another look at how search engine marketing is growing. It was 23 percent of the $6 billion spent on internet advertising last year. It’s expect to rise to 43 percent this year, or total at least $2 billion. The story also explores how competition between search engines — and owning search technology — is heating up.

Yahoo’s original investor leaves board
San Jose Mercury News, March 12, 2003

Venture capitalist Michael Moritz was an original investor in Yahoo and his company was an original investor in Google. Moritz has also been a board member with both companies, but now he has resigned from Yahoo’s board. Moritz himself gave no reason for leaving. Now that the Yahoo-Google partnership is deteriorating into competition mode, some speculate Moritz may have decided Google will be the winning team.

Markets cheer Terra’s giant loss
BBC, Feb. 26, 2003

Investors are happy Terra Lycos posted a $2 billion loss for 2002? Yes, because most of that was due to a revaluation of the company, which investors hope will mean the company can now better develop going forward or perhaps go private.

Google goes public
Red Herring, Feb. 14, 2003

Google doesn’t need to go public, but the tech industry would be happy if it did, since that might inspire confidence in the sector.

Yahoo Promises More Search Moves, Feb. 12, 2003

Yahoo has a big day for financial analysts and talks more about the importance of search. Note that the October 2002 search overhaul mentioned in this article didn’t make Yahoo into routinely the first or second most-used search engine. It has been that way for months, if not years. Yahoo also expects to roll out paid listings into non-web search areas of its site. The company reiterated that it felt buying Inktomi’s crawler technology made sense but that outsourcing paid listings to Overture also remains the right choice, for now. In the future, however, Yahoo might change, if it determines that’s in its best interests.

Overture Plunges as Costs Rise, Feb. 6, 2003

Overture sees its stock price drop after announcing that costs will rise and profits will be lower, due to investments to improve advertiser tools, international expansion and the need to share 63 to 64 percent of its revenue with distribution partners. Previously, the company had put the range at 61 to 63 percent. Turns Up a Strong Fourth Quarter, Feb. 4, 2003

FindWhat’s earnings are up, but its operating margin is expected to drop during 2003. Blame expansion costs, the need to share more with distribution partners and litigation costs for a pesky little patent case involving Overture.

Dot-Coms Turning Into Money Makers, Jan. 31, 2003

Paid search revenue totaled an estimated $1.5 billion last year, and the popularity is behind the rise in revenue for players such as LookSmart and Ask Jeeves. hooks the US
Western Australia Business News, Jan. 30, 2003

ineedhits, an Australian-based SEM firm and primary paid inclusion reseller for Ask Jeeves, reports $5.3 in revenue last year (unclear if this is US or Australian dollars) and projects $9.5 million for this year.

Santa Was Good to DealTime, Jan. 16, 2003

Why has Google launched its shopping search engine Froogle? The privately-held shopping search engine DealTime provides a good answer: earnings potential. DealTime reports record revenues of $11 million last quarter,

Inktomi narrows Q1 net loss
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, Jan. 16, 2003

Inktomi reported revenue of $14 million for the last quarter, with a net loss of $1.4 million.

Overture Sees Revenues Up, Along With Acquisition Costs, Jan. 14, 2003

Overture announces earnings on February 6 and says it expects fourth quarter revenue to be $200 million, above the $190 million it estimated. However, profit will be down from its original estimates, due to a legal settlement and higher costs to retain its network partners. Overture lost a dispute recently with a former affiliate partner Internet Fuel, which was awarded $8.7 million. Overture apparently cut off Internet Fuel as an affiliate before its contract had ended because advertisers were unhappy with the quality of traffic from that source. Overture also says that the cost of acquiring traffic from partners will now be 62 percent of revenue, up from 59 percent last quarter. The blame is placed on the biggest partners wanting more money.

Yahoo Posts Profits on Marketing, Fees Growth, Jan. 15, 2003

Yahoo posts a $46 million profit for the last quarter, primarily due to a 31 percent rise in income from “advertising and paid search revenues,” the bulk of which is paid listing fees that come from Overture. Listings and fees now make up 31 percent of Yahoo’s overall revenue.

Creeping Costs Put Overture Under the Gun, Jan. 14, 2003

Another look at the increasing amounts of what Overture has to pay to its traffic partners. Yahoo is estimated to get 70 percent of all revenue earned by Overture’s paid listings on its site.

Worst And Best Picks: Google To IPO?
Forbes, Jan. 6, 2003

Buried at the end of this worst/best picks list for 2003 from Forbes is a statement that Google is set to go public in the first quarter of 2003 and that it earned $100 million in profit for 2002. However, no attribution of either statement is provided.

Articles From 2002

The search goes on
The Guardian, Nov. 25, 2002,7558,846735,00.html

Overview of the highs AltaVista once had, the lows its since encountered and how it hopes its recent relaunch will make it a dominant force, once again.

The Next Dot-Com Miracle?
The Motley Fool, Oct. 9, 2002

Now that everyone on Wall Street seems to loves Overture, this author from the Motley Fool’s web site is betting that challengers will hurt the company’s prospects.

Inktomi cuts 20 percent of work force, Oct. 8, 2002

Inktomi tightens its belt again by laying off more workers, apparently from the enterprise search side of the business. The company remains with 300 employees.

Merrill Lynch Faces Suit From LookSmart Holders
Dow Jones, Oct. 8, 2002

LookSmart investors unhappy with the company’s performance are targeting Merrill Lynch in a class action lawsuit, saying the firm failed to disclose a conflict of interest when issuing “buy” recommendations.

Google may charge for internet search

Daily Telegraph, October 4, 2002

Once again it slips out that Google might consider charging for search, this time to perhaps to provide a custom enterprise news search option. Google proactively tells me there’s no particular push in this direction, and that the idea is being played up in this story far more than they are thinking about it. That wouldn’t be surprising. I believe it was last year that a similar “Google to charge for search” story showed up via, and plans have yet to materialize. Don’t discount the notion, of course. Google absolutely is thinking about such ideas — but Google is thinking of many other ways to earn money, as well.

Meanwhile, my favorite part of this article is the analyst who declares that Google needs to do paid search because “the internet advertising model has been shown not to work.” Hmm — apparently paid listings don’t fit into his idea of what the internet advertising model encompasses. That’s too bad, because paid listings are not only working but they are bringing in plenty of money for Google and Overture.

Another unnamed analyst promises a “shake out” in search with only Google and Overture remaining standing. Gee — assuming we buy into this, I can see Google standing — but Overture? Overture gets about 95 percent of its traffic from partner search sites, not its own. Other search sites have to exist for Overture to survive, so perhaps that shake out will be a little less dramatic than this analyst is predicting. Crack reporting from my daily newspaper — maybe I’ll have to start taking The Times.

The Search for the Fastest Engine

Fast Company, Oct. 2002

Profile of FAST and its challenge against Google. For the record, I don’t recall saying that FAST has a architecture more scalable than its competitors. What I would have said is that this is what FAST claims — and it’s also what Google and Inktomi also claim.

Google launches European ad service
Reuters, Sept. 30, 2002,,t269-s2123018,00.html

Europeans and anyone around the world have already been able to buy ads on Google for ages. The only thing new here to my understanding is that Google now accepts payment in local currencies such as UK pounds and Euros.

Terry Semel Thinks Yahoo Should Grow Up Already
Fortune, Sept. 30, 2002

Thanks to Terry Semel, Yahoo is serious about earning money. However, Semel did not roll out Yahoo Express, as this article claims. That happened back in February 1999 and made mandatory for commercial sites in November 2000. The only change since Semel arrived was to change the fee into an annual charge, which happened last January.

Inktomi’s troubles hit headquarters
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 16, 2002

Inktomi may have to pay $114 million by the end of August to buy the headquarters it is currently leasing. It’s got the money, but spending it would leave cash reserves low.

In Truth, Verity “Is Looking Strong”
BusinessWeek, Aug. 5, 2002

Short summary of how enterprise search software company Verity is doing well.

Yahoo earnings again in black, July 11, 2002

Finally an official announcement on the status between Google and Yahoo. Google will continue to provide backend results to Yahoo until September. Oh, and Yahoo made a profit.

Exodus follows major shakeup of LookSmart leadership

San Francisco Chronicle, June 25, 2002

LookSmart CEO Evan Thornley is stepping down as of October 1, while three of the company’s seven board of directors members resigned last month. The directors that left were apparently upset that Thornley will be staying on in his other position as chairman and over the company’s direction. In particular, one director apparently wanted LookSmart to focus on something other than search listings. Certainly the company would be wise to diversify, but it seems hard to understand how LookSmart could abandon the only product it has and survive in the short term. Interestingly, the dispute does not appear to involve the recent controversy over LookSmart forcing thousands of existing advertisers into a new cost-per-click listing program. Or, if it did involve that, this was never called out at the press conference about the shakeup.

Waiting for Google, June 18, 2002

Everyone’s waiting for the Google IPO, but the company isn’t giving any signs of when it will happen, nor is it in a rush to face the pressures of being a publicly-held company.

Search-engine wars
Multiex Investor, May 25, 2002

Major financial analyst firms comment on the prospects for Overture and Inktomi given recent customer losses to Google. Overture is seen as still strong while Inktomi is placed in a weaker position.

Fast in trouble
Pandia, May 25, 2002

Brief article covering FAST potential loss of income from a major revenue source, Dutch internet service provider KPNQwest, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.

PORTFOLIO: Steve Kirsch

San Jose Mercury News, May 19, 2002

Former Infoseek chairman Steve Kirsch cites among his biggest blunders not buying Yahoo in 1995 for $20 million or selling 6 million shares of Infoseek stock in early 1999 for $100 per share. Don’t feel too bad, though — Kirsch is still worth about $50 million.

Yahoo to Pipe Premium

Silicon Alley News, May 16, 2002,1471,8471_1135771,00.html

Archived articles from the New York Times are to be offered within Yahoo News on a cost-per-view basis.

E-Mails Open Window on Wall St.
Washington Post, April 12, 2002

Interesting article explaining allegations of how Merrill Lynch was apparently bullish on Overture when it was to gain banking fees from the company but not so hot when the company sought a stock sale through Merrill Lynch competitor Credit Suisse First Boston.

Lycos France axes jobs again, April 12, 2002

Brief on Lycos France cutting 71 jobs or nearly half of its staff.

PFP search engines boost offer to beat off growing competition

New Media Age, April 11, 2002

Short look at how third-party tools to analyze paid listing performance is prompting Overture and Espotting to develop their own, in-house solutions.

Google’s Toughest Search Is for a Business Model
New York Times, April 8, 2002

Looks at Google’s prospects to take on Overture, with an interesting quote from MSN saying they do see Google as a competitor. See the nice breakout graph showing visitors to versus Google-powered results at Yahoo.

Yahoo sneaks in yet more spam

MSNBC, March 29, 2002

Yahoo updated its privacy policy and changed user preferences to accept its email marketing offers at the same time.

Espotting: ‘we are looking to Asia for the future’, March 26, 2002

Q&A with European paid listing provider Espotting’s cofounder Sebastian Bishop. Note that it is written by an Espotting employee, but it’s still an interesting read.

Plum AOL Deal Looks Like Overture’s Tell, March 19, 2002

Overture is still negotiating with AOL to carry its paid listings, and the waiting is making some investors nervous. But Overture says even if the AOL deal was not extended, it still expects rising revenues this year and next.

Paid Listings Search Engines Top Estimates, Feb. 13, 2002,,12_974551,00.html

Overture posts fourth-quarter revenue of $101.2 million, up 40 percent from the previous quarter, and net earnings of $20.8 million, up from $9 million in the previous quarter. posted a fourth-quarter profit of $1.6 million, up from $650,000, in the previous quarter. Also touches on good news from LookSmart, DoubleClick and Yahoo.

Life After Free: Search Engines Seek Cold, Hard Cash
Ecommerce Times, Feb. 11, 2002

Looks at ways search engines are seeking to earn money.

Ask Jeeves Shares Fall 46 Percent
AP, Feb. 8, 2002

Ask Jeeves had a pro forma loss of $3.5 million last quarter and warned that it expects a pro forma net loss of about $10 million for its current quarter.

Talking Search Technology: Eric Schmidt

Boston Globe, Feb. 4, 2002

Q&A with Google’s chairman and CEO, about how the company is positioning itself with search products.

LookSmart Trims Losses, Feb. 1, 2002

LookSmart reports a net loss of just over $11 million for its last quarter, compared to a net loss of $23 million for the same period a year before. But paid clicks are up 23 percent from the previous quarter, and the company said the last quarter was profitable on an EBITDA and cash operating basis.

Google Hires a Grown-Up

Business 2.0, Feb. 2002,1640,36736,FF.html

Google hires a new general manager of business units, who’s tasked with building revenues and diversifying the company’s products.

LookSmart narrows losses
AAP, Jan. 31, 2002

Another story on LookSmart’s earnings.

Yahoo gains after earnings, exec’s resignation, Jan. 17, 2002

Yahoo’s still losing money but less than was expected. The company had a net loss in the fourth quarter of $8.7 million, compared to $97.8 million, for the same period a year ago. President and chief operating officer Jeff Mallett is also resigning.

Inktomi Posts Marginal Gains
ASP News, Jan. 16, 2002,,3411_956761,00.html

Inktomi books a net loss of $7.7 million, last quarter.

Lycos UK pins its hopes on advertising and mobile services, Jan. 29, 2002

Q&A on how Lycos UK hopes to generate revenues.

FAST and Fresh
ClickZ, Jan. 16, 2002

Profile of FAST, the company behind

Mr. Semel’s Internet Search
New York Times, Jan. 7, 2002

Reviews changes to Yahoo since Terry Semel took over as CEO and pegs him as a driving force behind the company finally pushing to make more money out of its listings. But it’s completely wrong to say that “Yahoo is the last major search engine to devise a way to charge companies to be listed in search results.” If anything, it was the first, debuting an express submission option back in early 1999, long before others had similar programs. Zero in on the pie chart breaking down Yahoo’s revenue. Paid search results and classified ads make up a significant 22 percent slice. Expect that to grow, now that paid placement listings are being carried and the annual listing fee is being charged.

Articles From 2001 Spared from Extinction
SearchDay, Nov. 29, 2001

A U.S. Bankruptcy court has approved InfoSpace’s $10 million bid for certain Excite@Home assets, including domain names, trademarks and user traffic associated with the Web site.

The Cheering Fades for Yahoo
Yahoo, Nov. 12, 2001

With advertising making up 80 percent of Yahoo’s revenue, the company is struggling to find alternatives. This article looks at the challenges in Yahoo’s three main areas: to charge consumers for services, to offer products to corporations and to reinvigorate marketers about advertising. I actually think they will be successful in convincing some people to pay for services. Regarding advertising, it’s amazing to see that the introduction of an animated ad on Yahoo’s home page is cited as a “turning point.” Overture has just turned a profit, yet Yahoo remains seemingly ignorant of the value its own search results page could command. Want to get a paid listing on Yahoo’s results page? Forget it — you won’t find any easy self-serve credit card based option, as you see with Overture or even Google. If Google can successfully balance paid listings and editorial content, then so could Yahoo.

Ask Jeeves reports Q3 loss, sales decline
Reuters, Oct. 31, 2001

Ask Jeeves lost $27.5 million compared to $38.5 million for the same time the previous year. However, on a pro forma basis, the loss was $7 million, compared to $12.6 million a year ago. The company has about $80 million in cash, which is expected to last until it becomes profitable.

Ask Jeeves About Its Dismal Quarter, Oct. 31, 2001,2198,3531_914281,00.html

Ask Jeeves is also dissolving its joint venture with Univision Communications to produce Ask Jeeves en Espaqol.

Northern Light Gains Cash, Clout, Oct. 31, 2001,1928,2001_914051,00.html

Northern Light turns six years old and gets a nice gift, $20 million in investment. By the way, from a briefing I had with the company last month, it said that about 65 percent of its revenue now comes from providing enterprise search solutions to companies, 20 percent from content sales (purchases of “Special Collection” documents) and 15 percent from advertising on the web site. Is Northern Light profitable? “We don’t disclose our financials. That’s one of the advantages of being a private company. I will say that the company is making sufficient progress on the financial front,” said David Seuss, Northern Light’s CEO.

Overture pulls off Web miracle
Wall St. Journal, Oct. 26, 2001

Overture had a net income of $9 million, compared to a loss of $46.1 million for the same time the previous year. As for Overture’s listings not being as “comprehensive” as Google’s, that reference is to Google’s editorial listings and has no relevance to Overture. Overture isn’t really a search engine but rather a paid listings distribution network. Given this, it doesn’t need to have comprehensive editorial listings — its partners do. And as for the paid listings, Overture almost certainly has a much greater inventory than Google. As for Yahoo adopting Overture’s paid listings model, that shouldn’t hurt Overture at all. Overture can distribute across a variety of sites. In contrast, if Yahoo implements paid listings, they will almost certainly be restricted to the Yahoo site. Given this, Yahoo and Overture would be complementary buys, not exclusionary ones, just as people might (and do) purchase to be on Overture and Google.

LookSmart reports Q3 loss and lower revenues
Reuters, Oct. 25, 2001

LookSmart has a loss of $10.2 million, compared to $12.9 million from the same time a year ago.

LookSmart Reports Third Quarter 2001 Results
LookSmart Press Release, Oct. 25, 2001

Listings sales at LookSmart generated $9.1 million last quarter compared to only $3.3 million for the same quarter last year. Listings continue to be LookSmart’s main revenue stream, now. In comparison, advertising earned $5.2 million in revenue, compared to $19 million, for the same time periods. The company says it has $43 million in cash on hand and that despite the loss, it is now cash-flow positive.

Small search site finds profit
Reuters, Oct. 24, 2001,,t269-s2097892,00.html

Overture-competitor FindWhat had a profit of $651,000 last quarter, compared to a loss of $2.3 million, for the same time last year.

The Keyword at Google: Growth
BusinessWeek, Oct. 23, 2001

Harder look at Google’s success, well worth a read. Points out that in the site search and intranet enterprise market, the company has far to go. However, the company can deliver much more than a “handful” of ads on its pages, however. Indeed, for popular terms such as “cipro,” Google will deliver up to eight paid listings versus 10 editorial listings. That’s a 44 percent ad break; albeit one that’s not typical, for most terms. Also points out that Google did not win out against Inktomi to power some results for MSN and AOL.

InfoSpace Posts Loss, to Cut 200 Jobs
Reuters, Oct. 23, 2001

InfoSpace, which owns Dogpile and MetaCrawler, reported a pro forma loss of $9.6 million for last quarter, compared to a profit of $11.6 million for the previous year’s quarter.

Inktomi says news business, cost cuts key in Q4
Reuters, Oct. 18, 2001

Inktomi has a pro forma loss $16.5 million for its last quarter, compared to $21.4 million for the same quarter the previous year.

Yahoo considers more layoffs, Oct. 10, 2001

Yahoo met analyst expectations, with a net loss of $24.1 million, down from last year’s pro forma profit of $81.1 million. The company is considering further layoffs and restructuring.

Lycos Asia axes 60% of staff
BBC, Oct. 11, 2001

Deep cuts at Lycos Asia. While the 11 current sites serving the Asian area will remain operating, the focus will be on Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Who wants to buy Excite?, Oct. 8, 2001

What wants to buy Excite@Home’s portal business? Probably no one, it seems.

Inktomi holds to Q4 view, cuts jobs, sees charges
Reuters, Oct. 1, 2001

Inktomi has cut another 150 employees.

Excite@Home Goes Bankrupt; AltaVista Cuts Staff
The Search Engine Report, Oct. 2, 2001

Two of the web’s oldest search engines had more bad financial news, with Excite@Home filing for bankruptcy last Friday and AltaVista also announcing a new round of layoffs last month.

I’m Feeling Lucky
Wired, Oct. 2001

Compares and contrasts the success with advertising that Google and Overture (GoTo) have been having. Despite what the article says, my understanding is that both of Google’s ad programs operate on a CPM basis.

Ad Market Woes Push into E-commerce Waters
AtNewYork, Sept. 26, 2001,1471,8471_892401,00.html

Facing its own financial woes, closes about half its 750 web sites.

Terra Lycos reiterates lowered outlook
Reuters, Sept. 26, 2001

Don’t expect a profit from Terra Lycos for at least a year, due to the downturn in advertising. And Applied Semantics Make “DomainSense”, Sept. 20, 2001,,5321_888041,00.html

The folks at Applied Semantics, formerly known as Oingo, are applying their technology to help’s customers come up with alternative domain name options.

We’re In The Money, Says Google
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 4, 2001

Google’s profitable and has been so on an operating basis for the past two quarters, the company says. Along with being profitable, the company also has a new chief executive officer, Dr. Eric Schmidt.

Excite May Be Out; FAST Has Further Layoffs
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 4, 2001

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. Also touches on finances with Inktomi, Ask Jeeves and Terra Lycos.

Search Engine Marketing Finally Getting Respect
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 2, 2001

Has a rundown on current finanicals for several major search engines, at the end.

AltaVista: In search of a turning point, July 31, 2001

A look at the rise and decline of AltaVista, with some estimates on how much the company may be earning and losing, along with future directions. Spins Off Auction Business, July 30, 2001,,12_856401,00.html

GoTo is staying focused on paid listing by selling off its auction service.

Yahoo rises as Semel touts gains, July 12, 2001

Yahoo reports a net income of $8.7 million for last quarter, beating analyst expectations of no net income. The company had a net loss of $48.5 million, when restructuring and acquisition-related charges are included.

Hey Everybody, Yahoo’s On!
The Standard, July 12, 2001,1902,27859,00.html

By lowering its earning projections, Yahoo has made a $45 million quarterly loss seem like a success.

Google’s Successful Search
BusinessWeek, July 10, 2001

Review of Google’s business side, how the company is surviving and thriving in a market where other Internet companies — including some of its competitors — are struggling. And hey — a new IPO prediction, this time for 2002 (though no one from Google is cited as saying this). Also, Google doesn’t handle all of Yahoo’s search queries, only those that aren’t matched by Yahoo’s own human-compiled listings. Finally, just as Tara Calishain of noted in her review of the article, in no way should Google be seen as going down the portal path by offering address lookups or stock quotes. True portal features in the past were designed to make people “stick” within the site. In contrast, Google’s features mesh perfectly with its search mission of passing people through its site.

Search engines still searching for profitability
Upside, July 9, 2001

Detailed recap of how search engines have shifted to integrating paid listings and other means of making money, including enterprise search. Lots of quotes and comments from major search players, and check out the part about Google leaving its first $100,000 in investment money in a desk drawer for a month because the yet-to-be-born company had no checking account. Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz is incorrect when quoted as saying Yahoo has always outsourced its search technology. Yahoo has always had its own search technology — human editors and internal software to sort through those human-compiled listings. Yahoo has only outsourced for the crawler-based results that kick in if there are no matches from its own listings. chief steps down

The Guardian, July 9, 2001,7369,518844,00.html

Moreover cofounder and chief executive Nick Denton is stepping down, to let the company grow under a former DoubleClick and Oracle executive, Susan Atherton. “The truth is I’m a media guy who has adapted pretty well to running a business but Susan’s got 15 years experience,” said Denton.

Google: No IPO Imminent
The Search Engine Report, July 2, 2001

Google strongly denies reported plans that it wants to go public by the end of the year

Intelliseek Gains $1.4 Million From CIA-Backed Firm
Washington Post, June 25, 2001

The US Central Intelligence Agency thinks that invisible web search firm Intelliseek’s technology might come in handy in tracking down information, so its venture capital firm has made a large investment in the company.

Excite Next To Go?
The Search Engine Update, May 2, 2001

Excite@Home may be the next to depart the portal playing field, given the signals it has been sending out recently.

Semel: The new Yahoo on the block, April 17, 2001

Yahoo hires a new CEO, Terry Semel, formerly of Warner Bros.

Slowdown catches up to Ereo
Denver Post, April 13, 2001,1002,33%7E20736,00.html

Image search company Ereo, whose star seemed bright after signing a deal with Excite, has cut 75 percent of its staff due to lack of funding.

Excite Europe says approached by potential buyers
Reuters, April 12, 2001

Excite’s European operation is being approached by possible buyers.

Yahoo’s turn: Cuts 400 jobs, April 11, 2001

Yahoo gets struck by dotcom malaise, laying off 12 percent of its staff, or about 420 people.

Is Google ogling Yahoo’s crown?, April 10, 2001

Is Google likely to encounter problems as it rises in popularity compared to some sites that it powers? Google says no — its 130 customers don’t see it as competition. And while its going to continue adding features, don’t expect free email or other portal-like sticky features. Also, details that half of Google’s revenue comes from licensing, the other from advertising on its site.

Hasta La Vista to AltaVista?
Industry Standard Europe, April 6, 2001,1902,23409,00.html

Will CMGI be selling off AltaVista? Some sources say it’s likely, while the official word is no.

Your Ego Just Took a Blow

Wired, April 4, 2001,1367,42744,00.html

EoExchange has closed its, Daily Diffs and EoMonitor sites, all of which offered different types of monitoring services.

Inktomi Scours the Net for Profits
Business Week, April 4, 2001

Interview with Inktomi’s CEO on the company drop in earnings. Inktomi dropped its earning expectations earlier this month, blaming a downturn in demand for its caching product. That’s caused the company to layoff 25 percent of its staff, or 250 people. What’s interesting here is that for the longest time, Inktomi almost downplayed its search products, because some analysts saw these as a weakness for the company. For instance, when Inktomi lost the Yahoo account last year to Google, a loud response from Inktomi was, “Hey, we do more than search!” Now, search products might be the company’s saving grace. Search revenues were up 65 percent last quarter when compared to the previous year. That was about US $21 million — and not too far off the $36 million Inktomi expects caching to earn for its second quarter. Inktomi announces its quarterly earning today, so expect more news stories and analysis to come.

FindWhat Revenues up But Q4 Losses Widen

AtNewYork, April 3, 2001,1471,8491_732471,00.html

FindWhat’s loss widens but the company remains optimistic.

Moreover Tackles Indexing News on the Web

Information Today, April 2001

Long Q&A with Moreover CEO Nick Denton, about the news search service and plans to extend the company’s technology in new directions.

Novell’s Schmidt joins Google at critical time, March 26, 2001

Schmidt is expected to add a firm business hand to Google, which also continues to predict it will be profitable later this year. Good information here on Google’s business activities. For the first time that I’ve seen, Google discloses some actual figures as to how much it earns from its deal with Yahoo: around several million dollars per quarter. Google’s income is also split roughly between search licensing, as with Yahoo, and advertisement sales on the Google site itself.

GoTo Going the Distance, Despite Industry-Wide Turmoil, March 22, 2001,,12_720651,00.html

GoTo’s still losing money, but it expects the loss to be less than predicted, with revenues to likely exceed $45 million in the first quarter of this year.

Searching for Solid Ground at Terra Lycos
BusinessWeek, March 16, 2001

Challenges Terra Lycos faces in taking on both Yahoo and a declining ad market.

Yahoo Loses CEO & Other Search Financial News
The Search Engine Update, March 15, 2001

Yahoo CEO Tim Koogle is stepping down, and the company issued warnings that its revenue for the year will be well below original estimates. In response, a wave of stories have appeared about Yahoo’s fall from grace. A recap of stories.

Terra Lycos bets on portal power, March 14, 2001

Despite pessimism about the Internet in general, Terra Lycos says it will break even or post a profit this year.

Yahoo’s Head of Sales Resigns, March 14, 2001,,12_713031,00.html

Yahoo loses more executive staff, this time its chief sales and marketing officer.

Google’s Larry Page: Good Ideas Still Get Funded
Business Week, March 13, 2001

How Google got its financial start (120 hard drives charged to personal, friends and family credit cards) and plans to hit profitability later this year.

As the Web turns from free to fee

MSNBC, March 13, 2001

Companies, including portals, are hoping to make money by charging for some services that they previously offered for free.

Publishers React to Yahoo Revenue Cuts, March 12, 2001,,12_710311,00.html

Survey of how other portals are hoping to diversify earnings.

InFind Meta Search Closes Temporarily, Perhaps Permanently March 8, 2001

Forgot to list this article last time. InFind was a meta search site with a small but loyal following. Now it’s gone. Here’s why and a suggestion to try a new, similar service.

Yahoo Loses International Directors

The Search Engine Update, March 5, 2001

The heads of Yahoo Europe, Asia, Canada, Korea and Yahoo’s China operations have all resigned recently. Yahoo CEO Tim Koogle told the Financial Times of London last week that these were “lifestyle choices” rather than signs of problems with Yahoo’s international operations. Some analysts disagree. A recap of stories on the topic.

Inktomi Is Pricey for a Company That Has Hit the Reset Button, March 2, 2001

A look at Inktomi’s stock valuation and a change to keep employees happy with a new options offering.

WebTop sacks two thirds of workforce

The Register, March 1, 2001

UK-based search service WebTop cuts its staff to concentrate on business development.

MSN-UK Portal Likely to Charge Subscription Fee, Feb. 26, 2001,,8_598491,00.html

Like Yahoo, MSN is wondering whether it can make money from its portal through subscription fees. The UK edition doesn’t see email as a premium service, but news, sports and classified advertising content could be targeted.

Fees on Yahoo a tough sell
CBS Marketwatch, Feb. 22, 2001{AC96A364-BEE9-4E29-9FF8-91F024082FB5}

Since Yahoo introduced auction fees to generate new revenue, listings have dropped by 85 percent. However, Yahoo says sales have stayed the same, suggesting that quality listings attracting buyers continue to be posted.

Another Terra Lycos Departure, Feb. 22, 2001,1928,2001_595951,00.html

The COO of Terra Lycos departs, following two other high-profile resignations.

NBCi Losses Not As Bad As Predicted, Feb. 13, 2001,2198,3531_588251,00.html

NBCi said that its forecasted loss for the fourth-quarter was less than predicted.

Backflip changes name, business strategy, Feb. 11, 2001

Older article about the company behind bookmark-based search engine Backflip apparently getting a new name and planning to reposition their product attention on the wireless space.

Articles From 2000

AltaVista puts Raging Bull on block
CBS MarketWatch, Dec. 26, 2000

AltaVista is selling off its Raging Bull stock market site, just over one year from when it purchased it.

LookSmart big wheels rush for the exit door
The Age, Dec. 21, 2000

Interesting details on LookSmart executives selling off their stock

Memo details AltaVista management shake-up, changes, Dec. 15, 2000

AltaVista may split its business into two groups, one serving consumer web search and the other providing search solutions for businesses, according to a leaked memo.

Ask Jeeves shows staff the door
InfoWorld, Dec. 13, 2000

Ask Jeeves is laying off 180 employees — 25 percent of its staff — and is to split into two companies, one concentrating on the Ask Jeeves search solutions for businesses and the other focused on its own consumer search sites.

Will Google’s Purity Pay Off?
BusinessWeek, Dec. 7, 2000

This is supposed to be an analysis of how Google might make money, but the story leaves much to be desired. It starts by stating, “the company’s adamant refusal to use banner or other graphical ads eliminates what is the most lucrative income stream for rival search engines.” Ironically, the major search engines are falling all over themselves to find new alternative streams to make up for the fact that these same lucrative banner ad revenues appear to be in trouble. So, rather than this being a weakness for Google, the fact that it started out from the beginning with text ads might arguably be a strength.

The story also implies that Google has only just started to diversify past doing more than running its own web site. In reality, Google signed its first major deal to power Netscape back in June 1999 — notably, BEFORE its own site went officially live and out of beta in September of that year. The story itself cites that Google has over 100 web search partners, in addition to making money off of intranet search partners. So, Google appears to have a firm footing in three major search engine marketing spaces: consumer web wide search, portal powering and intranet/enterprise search. And this isn’t diversified?

The story ends with this: “Can it keep forswearing pay-for-placement deals that allow commercial sites to buy high rankings in searches? Yahoo has begun cutting these deals in droves, matching lesser competitor LookSmart.” Hmmm — Yahoo has no pay-for-placement deals at all. It does have a paid submission service, which is an entirely different thing — and LookSmart has actually been far more active at “cutting deals” around paid submission programs than Yahoo. But that misinformation pales compared to the fact that Google hasn’t forsaken pay-for-placement deals at all. Indeed, it has two major systems — the text banners and the self-serve AdWords program. Both let advertisers purchase actual placement near the main search results at Google.

Yahoo mulls charging for services, Nov. 17, 2000

Yahoo ponders whether it could charge for some of the services it currently offers for free. Sound familiar? Cast your mind back to 1998, when I suggested we might see this type of move in Turning Users Into Members.

Norways FAST IPO Shelved Until 2001

Kagan, Nov. 15, 2000

FAST puts its IPO plans on hold due to adverse market conditions.

Goodbye GuruNet, Hello Atomica, Nov. 7, 2000,2198,3531_504881,00.html

GuruNet is changing its focus from being a consumer-targeted lookup utility to instead developing its technology to help corporations with search needs. The company name has also changed, to Atomica. The GuruNet applet will continue to be provided to consumers via the Atomica web site.

AltaVista Refuels Drive To Profitability
Forbes, Sept. 18, 2000

AltaVista lays off 225
CNNfn, Sept. 15, 2000

AltaVista slashes work force by 25 percent, Sept. 15, 2000

Google Senses That It’s Time to Grow Up

San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 25, 2000

Profile on Google, focusing on what business directions it may head toward.

Yahoo stands alone in Web wars
USA Today, Aug. 24, 2000

Profile on how business is at Yahoo, which is probably feeling less-Teflon coated since this was written.

In Search of Google
Time, Aug. 21, 2000,3266,52544,00.html

Profile of life at Google and the rise in the service’s popularity.

RealNames cuts staff amid financial changes, June 28, 2000

New management trims costs at RealNames by cutting 20 percent of its staff. slashes staff, obtains additional financing
Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13, 2000

Directory cuts its staff by 30 percent and may focus efforts more tightly in some areas, such as shopping.

Ask Jeeves president resigns amid stock lows, May 31, 2000

Ask Jeeves president Ted Briscoe has resigned from the company.

Exits herald new era at Excite@Home, May 16, 2000

Covering the departure of some executives from Excite.

AltaVista searches for answers
Boston Herald, May 15, 2000

Licensing its search software is apparently AltaVista’s fastest growing business, now making up 10 percent of the company’s revenues.

ExciteAtHome Exodus Grows
San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2000

Covering the departure of some executives from Excite.

Web Search Turns Up 1M

New York Daily News, Feb. 16, 2000

iWon, which I featured last month, makes a Manhattan man a millionaire for using its service.

A year after big furor, a Lycos lovefest
Boston Globe, Feb. 11, 2000

A look at high demand for Lycos shares, a year after the collapse of the proposed Lycos/USA Networks merger.

Brand builder

Salon, Jan. 24, 2000

Portals: Old Dogs, New Tricks, New Name

Internet Stock Report, Jan. 20, 2000,1785,1941_290191,00.html

A look at the value of portals, with a special focus on Lycos.

Articles From 1999

Portal envy doesn’t always pay, Dec. 27, 1999

What to expect in 2000? Only two or three major portal sites, the analysts say. Of course, they say this every year, and every year they are wrong. Watch for 2000 to be ending with more major search and portal sites, not fewer — as has been the case every year since these predictions began in 1996.

Direct Hit files for IPO, Dec. 23, 1999

Direct Hit is ready to cash in on its popularity with a public offering. Some interesting facts from Direct Hit’s filing. About 70% of its revenue currently comes from Lycos (which owns Direct Hit’s flagship customer, HotBot). Former AltaVista chief technical officer Louis Monier sits on its Board of Advisors, which provides Direct Hit with feedback and guidance about technology and marketing. And, Direct Hit’s relatively new Vice President of Engineering held that same position at Lycos until this past October.

How kept a top idea guy

Red Herring, Sept. 8, 1999

Why did Amazon want Alexa? Still no specifics, but somewhere in all that data is a better way to improve electronic commerce, Amazon hopes.

Q&A: Ask Jeeves CEO Robert Wrubel

ZD Interactive Investor, July 2, 1999

Ask Jeeves went public, then its stock went on a nearly-record setting climb. Ask Jeeves CEO comments on the rise.

Ask Jeeves quadruples in debut
Redherring, July 2, 1999

More about the business side of Ask Jeeves.

Google’s search results: Kleiner and Sequoia

Red Herring, June 3, 1999

Google gets $25 million mostly from two major venture capital firms, and unusually, from firms with investments in other competing search engines.

LookSmart sees big IPO in its future

Bloomberg, May 19, 1999,4,36760,00.html

LookSmart plans to go public by the end of this year.

Searching for hits, dollars
MSNBC, May 12, 1999

A look at the development of new services such as Google and Direct Hit. Much will be familiar to readers of this newsletter, but there are some interesting quotes and discussions of recent IPOs.

Inktomi enjoys toiling in anonymity

USA Today, May 12, 1999

Profile of Inktomi and CEO Dave Peterschmidt.

Will broadband deals leave Yahoo behind?, May 10, 1999,5,36282,00.html

Forget high-speed Internet services. The real future could very well be in appealing to low-speed handheld devices like the Palm, which has a bigger audience than broadband right now. But if you’re a believer in broadband nirvana, here’s a look at Yahoo’s position on it.

Infoseek execs make an exit, April 27, 1999,4,0-35740,00.html

Several top executives have left Infoseek. Infoseek says its no big deal, while an analyst says otherwise.

Will Disney’s Go Network pay off?, April 22, 1999,4,0-35490,00.html

Have Infoseek and Disney diluted their web brands by merging them into the Go Network? Yes! No! Read the conflicting views.

Mapping Yahoo’s future, March 16, 1999,5,33555,00.html

A long interview with Yahoo President Jeff Mallett that covers where Yahoo has been and where it may be going, in relation to acquisitions and partnerships. It doesn’t really leave you feeling like you’ve learned much, however.

Intuit intends to sell entire stake in Excite
Bloomberg, Feb. 25, 1999,4,32915,00.html

Intuit plans to sell its 10 percent stake in Excite, which could make the company $500 million.

A Direct Hit on Inktomi?

Red Herring, Feb. 22, 1999

Covers how Inktomi will see a significant short-term drop in traffic from HotBot due to the Direct Hit changeover.

Searching In Dolby

Forbes, Feb. 20, 1999

Direct Hit’s main hurdle has been that portal mergers push back the completion of deals.

Can Compaq PC execs succeed in portals?, Feb. 2, 1999,4,31818,00.html

Many of the executives behind the new AltaVista company come from a computer hardware background. Are these the right people to run a media company, or do they need help? Analysts say so (and I’d agree).

Articles From 1998

A Small Quarterly Profit for Excite, But Investors Are Looking for Consistency
Internet World, Nov. 2, 1998

Excite finally shows a profit, but it still has a way to go.

Lycos to Planet: Save Yourself

Wired, August 14, 1998

Long and detailed article covering the breakup between Lycos and environmental content partner EnviroLink.

Yahoo’s Brand of Cool

Upside, July 20, 1998

Long and interesting article about the development of Yahoo as an Internet mega-brand, especially good for at least acknowledging (briefly) that this has something to do with the quality of its listings. There’s also a sidebar about Excite’s efforts to dethrone Yahoo.

Is it the browser or is it the portal?, July 20, 1998,4,24371,00.html

The content in Netscape’s new site mostly comes from Excite, but Netscape hopes to distinguish itself by establishing deals with other media companies.

Infoseek, Starwave may be match from Fantasyland

San Jose Mercury News, July 19, 1998

Infoseek is acquring Starwave as part of the Disney deal, but does Starwave think it will be running things? Details on why some observers believe so.

Can AltaVista stand alone?

ZD Net, July 9, 1998,3441,2118706,00.html

Should Compaq spin-off AltaVista to cash in on portalmania? Some analyst quotes.

Netscape Seeks Top Content Exec

Industry Standard, July 2, 1998,1270,982,00.html

Yahoo pioneers say work’s the thing
USA Today, July 2, 1998

They’re worth millions now, but the Yahoos keep working along as normal.

Whatever happened to MSN?, July 1, 1998,4,23791,00.html

With all the talk about Microsoft Start, what’s the deal with MSN? Looks like it’s to become just an access service, over the long-haul.

Creative Frenzy

New York Post, June 12, 1998

Short story on Excite, mainly worthwhile for the color, such as employees getting gas money for sticking Excite magnets on their cars.

Wired Looks for Niche in a World It Once Defined

Internet World, May 18, 1998

Wired Ventures is now on its own without Wired Magazine, and this article discusses how HotBot is a key strength in the company’s attempt to become profitable.

Racing to the start line, May 14, 1998,5,22073,00.html

A series of articles examining how everyone from search services to Disney are trying to position themselves as a key “portal” to the Internet. The idea is that Internet users start browsing from these portals, and thus they can command high ad rates or partnership fees by funneling traffic.

Web Portals Play Leapfrog
Wired News, April 17, 1998

Exceptionally good round-up on how the major search services are imitating each other yet also trying to distinguish themselves to build loyal market share.

One on One with Yahoo

Wired, July 9, 1998

Short interview with COO Jeff Mallett, on Yahoo’s current high valuation and ability to compete in the face of new and renewed competition.

Inktomi Raises $36 Million in Strong IPO

Internet World, June 15, 1998

Details on behind-the-scenes search results provider Inktomi going public.

Inktomi files to go public, April 16, 1998,4,21160,00.html

Details about Inktomi’s upcoming IPO. The firm powers the HotBot search engine and the soon-to-launch Microsoft service, among others.

How Yahoo Won the Search Wars
Fortune, March 2, 1998

Some nice history here on Yahoo’s origins and moves it has made in comparison to other search services. I’d disagree with the statement that Yahoo had the “worst technology,” since I tend to think humans are the best technology. Interesting statement about Yahoo wishing to deliver the “best of the web.” Past articles I’ve written have documented how easy it is for the “best” to go missing from searches. Also interesting is the statement that Yahoo “spends money on people, not computers.” Actually, it spends much more money on its marketing than on its editors.

Fresh Cash Infusion Invigorates Infoseek in Search Race
Internet World, Feb. 23, 1998

Infoseek has raised $40 million from selling stock and plans to use it to increase its market share. Analysts think its a good thing.

Compaq weighs options for AltaVista

InfoWorld, Jan. 29, 1998

Compaq buys Digital — now what’s it going to do with AltaVista? It’s too early to say, but the article covers some of the issues, briefly.

Infoseek Falls On 4Q Loss

TechInvestor, Jan. 23, 1998

Infoseek posts loss, to sell stock, Jan. 23, 1998,4,18411,00.html

Excite shrinks losses, Jan. 22, 1998,4,18373,00.html

Yahoo earnings beat expectations, Jan. 14, 1998,4,18108,00.html

Articles From 1997 & Earlier

It may be ‘Yikes!’ for Yahoo
MSNBC, Dec. 1997

An analyst explains why he thinks Yahoo’s stock is overvalued and due for a fall. One note: he misses out Yahoo-competitor Lycos recently showing a profit, when calling Yahoo a search engine rarity for not losing money.

Lycos Announces Profit — Second To Go Green
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 4, 1997

Barefoot millionaire boys, Nov. 10, 1997

A so-so interview with the creators of Yahoo. You’ve probably read most of this stuff elsewhere, but it remains striking that the founders remain so down-to-earth. Best part is at the end, with tales of those grateful for being listed send candy and other rewards. There’s no mention of what those who don’t get listed send.

In search of …..The Next Yahoo
Marketing Computers, Oct 97

A look, interesting look at Yahoo being the best-known brand on the Internet, and the challenges it faces to maintain that prestige.

AltaVista Searches for an Identity
Wired, Sept 19, 1997

AltaVista searches for new market, Sept. 18, 1997,4,14401,00.html

Infoseek Shifts Focus, But Entrenched Competitors Await

WebWeek, Sept. 15,1997

A good look at the challenges ahead of Infoseek, now that its management team has been rebuilt and it is firmly aimed back at the consumer market.

Lycos Trims Losses, Eyes Profitability
TechWeb, Aug. 29, 1997

Under the hoods of search engines, Aug. 28, 1997,4,13818,00.html

Quotes from a variety of analysts about the valuation of search engines, in light of current earnings and future expectations.

Excite stock rocketing, Aug. 28, 1997,4,13811,00.html

Directory Stocks Go Nutty
Wired News, Aug. 28, 1997

Lycos lights up search sector, Aug. 27, 1997,4,13797,00.html

End of Visa Deal Shows Yahoo’s Growing Self-Confidence
WebWeek, August 11, 1997

Sheds light on the huge payoff Yahoo gave Visa in July 1997 (see below), and why it was a good thing for Yahoo. Apparently, bailing out of the joint shopping site that the companies had planned freed Yahoo is free to sell placements within its site to online retailers such as Amazon.

Yahoo and Visa Form New Partnership
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 1997

Yahoo makes a huge payout to get out of one deal (see above) but announces another with the credit card company.

CEO expects Excite to break even, July 30, 1997,4,12873,00.html

Yahoo Transitions Marketplace Activities
Yahoo, July 29, 1997

Revised 2nd quarter numbers for Yahoo can be found here.

Excite Deals Mean Smaller Loss, July 21, 1997,4,12615,00.html

Infoseek losses miss mark, July 15, 1997,4,12422,00.html

Search engines urged to expand business model, July 9, 1997,4,12267,00.html?nd

Quotes analysts saying that search engines need to diversify away from online advertising revenues to ensure survival.

Yahoo beats the Street, July 9, 1997,4,12285,00.html

Which Way For Infoseek?

The Search Engine Report, July 2, 1997

A short look at how the management turnover at Infoseek reflects some of the decisions each search engine has had to make in terms of pursuing consumers or corporations.

Digital Nixes AltaVista IPO
TechWeb, June 25, 1997

Digital decided not to spin off its AltaVista Internet Software division as a separate company. Articles above and immediately below provide more information.

Digital likes AltaVista so much it can’t let go
InfoWorld Electric, Jun 24, 1997

Digital Press Release On Cancelled IPO
Digital, June 24, 1997

Yahoo-Visa deal on shaky ground
News.Com, June 20, 1997,4,11730,00.html

Reports on the demise of the plan for Yahoo and Visa to build an online shopping site called Marketplace.

Intuit Invests $40M In Excite

TechInvestor, June 11, 1997

Excite-Intuit Partnership
Excite, June 1997

Excite got a much-needed cash infusion from Intuit, the personal finance software maker. Intuit invested $39 million in Excite, for a 19% share of the company’s common shares. Both companies also announced a seven-year agreement to produce a new financial channel. The channel is to launch this summer.

You Can Find Lots on the Web, Except Maybe an Operating Profit
Washington Post, April 1997

Why Yahoo’s profit isn’t quite a profit.

The Engines That Couldn’t
SF Chronicle, April 1997
Link To Article (sorry, too long to display)

A nice story on search service stock prices.

Searching for success – or survival
MSNBC, April 1997

Summary of changes underway at the different services to make them more attractive.

Search engines still seek profits, Jan. 1997,4,6976,4000.html?nd

Search Engine Shakeout Seen
Netguide NewsCam Weekly, Sept. 1996

Slanted Search Results for Sale?
Netguide NewsCam Weekly, Sept. 1996

Open Text sells results, draws fire June 1996,4,1635,00.html

Techies Turn Into Newsies
Communications Week, April 1996

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