For the Last Time, Were Not an ASP!

When three letters can imply bad news, a software firm searches for a better ID.

Mondosoft, a Danish company that makes a remotely hosted search engine for large Web sites, is doing a little searching of its own these days.

Having made a name for itself by directly selling its service to some big clients, including the Oakland Raiders and The Washington Times, Mondosoft Inc. is on the prowl for channel partners.

And while Mondosofts software, MondoSearch, is designed for remote hosting, the shaky status of the application service provider model is making the company a bit leery about being labeled an ASP.

"To be honest, for a very long time we were very vocal about being an ASP or about delivering ASP software," says Jens Haugaard, Mondosofts executive VP of sales and business development. "But after we saw whats happened in the ASP arena ... we do not want to be compared with those ASPs. We like a new term: Internet business services, a model thats only for software born as Internet software. Mondosoft was Internet-abled from the beginning."

MondoSearch conducts ultradetailed searches in 12 languages in multiple file formats—including sound and graphics files. The search engine is one of the first products officially endorsed by Microsoft for its Commerce Server 2000.

It has been delivered mainly as an outsourced application hosted by Mondosoft itself. Mondosoft has about 1,000 customers, divided between the United States and Scandinavia, says Haugaard.

Up until recently, Mondosoft has shied away from the channel, preferring to directly sell its product. Those days are ending.

"Weve decided this is the right point in time to go for the indirect sales approach," says Haugaard. He says the company is looking for ASPs as partners, but is being picky about who it signs up. "Were looking for ASPs who are hosting Web sites and have Web sites by the hundreds."

Next month, Mondosoft will formally announce its first "full-service" ASP partner, InterNoded which hosts about 250 Web sites.

Mondosoft gets high marks from analysts. "The company is a smart one and they know what theyre doing," says Avi Rappoport, principal analyst at

MondoSoft considers its primary competitors to be AltaVista, Atomz Search and Searchbutton. Of the three, only AltaVista is not considered to be a remotely hosted search engine.

"Today we do the hosting," says Haugaard. "But hosting is not a strategic thing for us. We are a software company. We want to sell it to partners and the partners can be the ASP. ... They can co-host it with some local partners."

While Haugaard isnt keen about the company being lumped in with other questionable ASPs, he remains bullish about outsourcing, particularly due to the worlds shortage of IT experts. "I believe the ASP model will survive," he says.