Market Share

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-07-09 Print this article Print

You mentioned using IP addresses as a way of figuring out location. To what extent are you guys using that technology? Ive heard about it from Google … Theres Digital Envoy out there, and a lot of companies out there that license that technology to people.
Have you implemented it?
Yeah, we do it for a couple of different things on our site. Its very important, especially as you get into local and geo-targeting. Its all going to be an important step, again, in that anonymous view of the world. Youre just one of many; youre not an individual person. I read an article yesterday that people are now getting concerned because based on your cell phone, [people] can find out exactly where you are. With satellites, they can actually see you. We just have to realize that we have to take our time, we have to do it right and we have to be very concerned about the privacy of our customers. I wanted to move a little bit more into the acquisition because I know you guys finished that at the beginning of May. It really increased your distribution, your market share. It doubled from [the acquisition]. How much of the decision to acquire Interactive Search Holdings was really a plan to just increase market share versus do you see it adding some kind of new technology or services for you? First of all, it absolutely is about market share. If you walk around this office and ask people what their mission is, its about market share. We believe we have a great product, and we want to get it in front of more consumers. Thats easy. This is a company that didnt have any of these registration systems, didnt have e-mail, didnt have any content connections. This allows us now to go at the user with lots of different experiences. But again, with search being centric to what were trying to do. So, by picking up a portal like My Way, we now have a very clean portal. It has content feeds, it has e-mail, it has registration [and] it has a personalized home page. It gives us the ability to connect with the user in different ways. We need to be a full-service kind of house, but we want to do it all from that white box. Our goal is to get everybody to enter the Web through the white search box. We saw great properties and some undervalued brands in there. But its really about [the fact that] theyve got ad-serving technologies, theyve got portal technologies, they have desktop technologies, they have e-mail technologies [and] they have registration. It gives us all these assets that we as a small company could start to build on. But as you said, theres a lot of services that Ask Jeeves itself has never had. You hadnt offered consumer e-mail or any of the portal services. So, are you looking, moving forward, to have all these brands out there, or are you looking for ways for all of these services to merge together? Were going to keep the brands out there because we think theyre great. And were going to try to merge the technologies to offer a lot more services. But our goal is to really find ways to give the consumers what they want in different wrappers, in different shells, with different content [and] with different ways to get at that content. But really build off platforms. We want to build out an ad-serving platform, we want to build out an e-mail platform, we want to build out a search platform. We want to build out these platforms so we can apply them both domestically and globally across a lot of properties … The Interactive Search Holdings group of Ask Jeeves, are they remaining separate divisions? No. What were going to focus on is [having] the business in three buckets. Were going to focus on sites, so were going to manage the destinations. Although theyll be different, theyll be managed by the same group of people. So, the same person managing the My Way portal is managing [in an] underneath-the-umbrella kind of thing. I want to be able to leverage the technologies, but I also want to be able to make sure the user experiences are different yet compatible. Were going to manage the business from a desktop perspective, which is, "How do I get more applications onto the desktop?" And then, Im going to build out an advertising services business around the fact that I now am doing quite a bit of revenue directly and not just through Google anymore. I have MaxOnline, which is a rep group. I have the Ask Jeeves syndication network. So, I am now allowed to leverage my sales organization and start selling for lots of sites. Next Page: Making search an end-to-end function.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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