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Submit Express Newsletter #60
March 28, 2003



1- News Summary: Overture, Google and MSN
2- Overture Goes on Buying Spree, Raises Minimum Bids
3- Google Buys Blogger/Pyra Labs
4- MSN Extends Inktomi Contract
5- Go.com and Disney to be powered by Google


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1- News Summary: Overture, Google and MSN

In the last couple of months, we had yet more merger news in the Search Engine.  Search engine giant Google expands its services and audience base by the purchase of Blogger/Pyra Labs.  Not to fall to short behind, Overture announces the purchase Alta Vista and the Web Search Unit of Norway's Fast Search and Transfer (AllTheWeb.com).  Please see full stories below.  Far from over, we may see several new buyouts in the near future. Stay posted for more information.

We would also like to announce that we are going to be exhibiting in the Internet World Conference next month in San Jose April 15-17. As always, we are offering free passes to our readers (a $25.00 value). You can download the pass below:


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2-  Overture Goes on Buying Spree / Raises Minimum Bids

Overtures buying spree started with the buyout of web portal AltaVista from CMGI Inc. Announced February 18, 2003.  According to their press release, the acquisition of AltaVista will:

"...enable Overture to offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites, as well as additional marketing opportunities to the company's large base of advertisers.

AltaVista's advanced algorithmic search technology, which crawls the Web and returns relevant search results in response to users' queries, strategically complements Overture's market-leading technology in commercial search.

Additionally, AltaVista's Web site will allow Overture to test and refine new products and services in a live setting, and its suite of search-related technology patents will help support Overture's entry into algorithmic search."

Without missing a beat, Overture purchased the Web Search Unit of Norway's Fast Search and Transfer. Announced 02/25/2003.  Here is what Overture had to say about all this:

"Through this combination, Overture expects to be at the forefront of the industry in offering a full suite of paid placement, paid inclusion and algorithmic web search products and services for syndication to portals, ISPs and other search destination sites. At the same time, the company's 80,000 advertisers will benefit by gaining access to new products and sources of distribution that will drive additional customer leads."

"Overture said it will utilize both the FAST and AltaVista sites to advance the company's product development process. The company will use FAST's technology showcase site, AlltheWeb.com, to test and experiment with advanced approaches in search. At the same time, the company will use the AltaVista.com site, which operates on a larger scale, to refine implementations for new products and improve presentation to consumers."

This move by Overture was not surprising to us, as it appears to be a strategic move to better compete with Google.  Since Google started offering pay-per-click advertising, it has been a major competitor to Overture. Last year AOL signed up Google as it's search provider, replacing Overture, as Google was able to offer its free search content as well.  Now Overture will be able to better compete against Google. According to an Overture representative, the purchase of AltaVista also gives Overture a better leverage against some patent law suites that Google has filed against Overture. AltaVista owns more than 52 search engine related algorithm patents that Overture can use against Google.

In other Overture news, on February 26, 2003, Overture's raised the minimum bid from 5c to 10c a click. Old ads are grand fathered in, but modifying them will move the price to the new minimum.

Overture also simplified the way you add new keywords to your account by adding a new search term suggestion feature. You enter your primary keyword and Overture finds related terms from their search term suggestion tool and sorts them by volume. Then you just select which terms you want to add to your account.

New bid management limitations were also introduced. The new system limits the following:

  - Checking keyword position limited to 48 times per day.
  - Keyword account retrieval limited to 24 per day for each username.
  - Keyword retrieval limited to 6 per day for each account.
  - Bid changing is also now restricted to 24 per keyword per day.

Bid management software users will most likely require and update to the software to meet new quid lines.

See more on these stories below:

Overture to Acquire Search Engine AltaVista http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/030218/180671_1.html

Overture to Acquire Web Search Unit of Fast Search & Transfer http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/030225/255332_1.html



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3- Google Buys Blogger Pyra Labs

On February 17, 2003 Google announced the purchase of software company Pyra Labs. Pyra makes the popular Blogger software that people use for posting personal content to their own blog (aka, weblog) sites.

The primary purpose Google gives for this purchase is to extend their AdWords network into content-based sites - and they've wasted no time putting their plan into action.

Shortly after the deal was announced, AdWords ads began showing up on Blogger sites. In addition, their new network has the ads running on HowStuffWorks and the Weather Underground.

For an example, see the top banner that lists two text ads at: http://sunnieegurl.blogspot.com/

They call the new system of distribution "The Content-Targeted AdvertisingT" service is what they call the new system and they have opted in advertisers into the new network with free bonus clicks until March 12th. Google wants their advertisers to try the traffic out before opting-out of the content sites.

For more details on AdWords Content-Targeted Advertising, see https://adwords.google.com/select/ct.html

See more info about this deal at: http://www.blogger.com/about/blogger_google_faq.pyra


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4- MSN Extends Inktomi Contract

MSN has extended its agreement with Inktomi through December 2005. Whether this is an exclusive  arrangement or if Microsoft can substitute another engine during that time or is yet to be seen.

The deal give a much needed jolt to Inktomi and especially to their new "parent" Yahoo, who was otherwise facing the possibility of losing MSN as a customer.

Anyway, at least for the interim, traffic generated via Inktomi is set to increase due to the engine being used at both MSN and, expectedly in the near future, Yahoo!


5- Go.com and Disney to be powered by Google

On March 10, 2003 Google announced that it would be providing sponsorship results to Walt Disney Internet Group Web Properties - Disney.com, FamilyFun.com, Go.com and Movies.com.

If you are a long time internet user, you may remember that Go.com (formerly
Infoseek) was a major search engine, ranking even as one of the top internet portals a few years back. Infoseek was bought out by Disney, which then changed the name to Go.com and decided to discontinue offering free search results from its Infoseek technology as it found it non-profitable. Instead, Go.com became partners with Overture to offer sponsored search results - a very odd combination, as months earlier Overture had won a trademark lawsuit against Go.com, for the similarity of GoTo.com and Go.com logos and domain names.

Disney's partnership with Overture ended recently and consequently replaced by Google results.

As a side note, rumor has it that Disney is close to selling the Infoseek brand and search technology to an interested buyer. Disney had previously not agreed to sell Infoseek to a group of Go.com employees who has showed interested in acquiring it.

For more details see: http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/disney.html


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