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Old 02-05-2005   #1
Josh
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Smile Ask Jeeves Acquires Bloglines

Napsterization's, Mary Hodder is reporting that Ask Jeeves has acquired Blogines, the web's most popular RSS aggregator.

http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000397.html

Assuming this is true, this is a big move for Jeeves. They have been hanging with the pack in terms of innovation, but this move can actually give them a competitive edge - and market share - in a hugely important growth area.

Looking forward, this can also give the butler some leverage in the personalized search market. Jeeves' barrier to entry there has been their inability to understand what sites people were looking at because their previous attempts at personalization/getting people to register for services have been pretty lame. Now, they have a best in class product to help understand individual surfing behavior and should subsequently be able to better target search results - and ads! This can really be the framework for entire suite of personal services that they have been lacking. Yes, I know about MyJeeves, but how many people do you knwo that actually use it?

As we noted on our post on SearchViews, this is a big move for Bloglines too, as many didn't expect them to be able to compete as a standalone product, now that Yahoo! and MSN have made aggressive moves into the RSS aggregation space.

Congrats to all involved.
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Old 02-05-2005   #2
MUSCLE13
 
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Wow thats pretty cool if it turns out to be correct. Thanks for the link. The second tier strikes back! Check out this article on Bloglines

http://www.webpronews.com/news/ebusi...reatPower.html
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Old 02-06-2005   #3
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News.com excerpt-

Bloggers are speculating that search site Ask Jeeves has acquired one of their own.

Ask Jeeves has bought Bloglines, a privately held start-up that aggregates personal Web sites, according to media blog Napsterization.org. Also, Ask Jeeves' Web site is pointing exclusively to Bloglines via several links for blogs.

An Ask Jeeves representative reached Sunday declined to comment on an acquisition, nor on a partnership between the two companies. However, publicly traded Ask Jeeves has scheduled an announcement for Monday.

http://news.com.com/Ask+Jeeves+to+bu...3-5565374.html
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Old 02-07-2005   #4
KeywordMonkey
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Ask Jeeves going all bloggy?

Interesting and a good move if they have bought Bloglines - I always thought Google should buy it and integrate it into GMail and Blogger.

Could we see a RSS search engine from Ask based on the data they would get within Bloglines? Or a My Yahoo style personal homepage with RSS feeds in it?

Lets hope they confirm or deny this soon.
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Old 02-08-2005   #5
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Done Deal

http://www.irconnect.com/askjinc/pag...s.html?d=72257
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Old 02-08-2005   #6
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My take -

1. Combine Teoma with Bloglines blog feed inventory and you get a great Blog Search engine that can be distributed through various Ask properties.

2. Multibrand strategy continues. Add Bloglines to the list of Ask, iWon, MyWay, MyWebsearch, Excite, Maxonline etc.
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Old 02-08-2005   #7
Lucas Wyrsch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh
Napsterization's, Mary Hodder is reporting that Ask Jeeves has acquired Blogines, the web's most popular RSS aggregator.

http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000397.html

Assuming this is true, this is a big move for Jeeves. They have been hanging with the pack in terms of innovation, but this move can actually give them a competitive edge - and market share - in a hugely important growth area.

Looking forward, this can also give the butler some leverage in the personalized search market. Jeeves' barrier to entry there has been their inability to understand what sites people were looking at because their previous attempts at personalization/getting people to register for services have been pretty lame. Now, they have a best in class product to help understand individual surfing behavior and should subsequently be able to better target search results - and ads! This can really be the framework for entire suite of personal services that they have been lacking. Yes, I know about MyJeeves, but how many people do you knwo that actually use it?

As we noted on our post on SearchViews, this is a big move for Bloglines too, as many didn't expect them to be able to compete as a standalone product, now that Yahoo! and MSN have made aggressive moves into the RSS aggregation space.

Congrats to all involved.
Hi Josh

It looks quite feasible that Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines!

Ask Jeeves Buys Blog Lines
Media blog Napsterization.org is reporting that Ask Jeeves has purchased Blog Lines for an undisclosed amount of money. "As of February 7, 2005, Bloglines said it had over 283 million articles indexed.
Ask Jeeves Fires Blog Salvo Techtree.com
Ask Jeeves reportedly to buy Bloglines CNET News.com
Ployer - TechWhack - BusinessWeek - SearchViews - all 13 related »

Regards

Lucas Wyrsch
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Old 02-08-2005   #8
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I'd like to see an "online information organisation and retrieval" solution funded by contextual ads (or a monthly subscription model for advanced features / extra storage) comprising

- Bloglines (like My Yahoo offers)
- RSS feed search (as noted above),
- stored searches (in My Jeeves now)
- news story alerst (like Google alerts)
- RSS of new search results for X (like MSN offer)
- URL storage with notes (like Furl)
- personalised news / weather / calendar page (like any portal since 1990s!)
- search results based on profile (local search) and personal interests as derived from above data (personalisation)

OK, so that's what I want in one place. Suggestions, comments?

For Ask, this could mean they gain more loyal users, and in turn more searches and so ad inventory to sell.
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Old 02-08-2005   #9
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Ask Jeeves has made it official -- Gary's posted more info on the SEW Blog: It's Official: Ask Jeeves Acquires Bloglines
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Old 02-08-2005   #10
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Interesting that Gary mentions Ask's past image beiong an obstacle; I'd agree (from a mainly UK perspective). The natural langauge idea got hyped and failed to meet searcher's (over inflated) expectations IMO.

I've noticed they mention Teoma's tehcnolgoy more on their site than in the past - maybe they should push Teoma.com more with a brand image as a "pure" search engine without the butler's luggage?
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Old 02-08-2005   #11
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When you search the web on Bloglines site now it brings you to Ask.com's results page including sponsered links. So they are already monetizing Bloglines in a way. I suspect Ask/Teoma will come up with a much better Blog Search for Bloglines as well. Just sampling Bloglines Blog search results and they seem pretty bad right now. I could see sponsered links eventually getting into Blog search.

If John Battelle is correct on his blog that Jeeves paid about $14 mil for Bloglines it seems like a great move to me. Already you got all the techies in the blogosphere talking about Jeeves for the first time in years and Ask web search is already on Bloglines first day of the transaction.

Hey anybody know who is going to get About.com? NY Times says they are on the block and all the big boys like Google Yahoo and AOL are after them. Jeeves was mentioned as a bidder as well. I wonder who will get About? Lots of user numbers. My first guess would be a fit with AOL or Yahoo.
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Old 02-09-2005   #12
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Silicon Beat has a nice 12 minute audio interview with Lanzone and Fletcher

http://www.siliconbeat.com/entries/2...interview.html
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Old 02-09-2005   #13
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From reading the news articles and listening to the audio interview it seems that Lanzone and a lot of Jeeves people are Bloglines addicts. Thats all well and good but one has to hope Jeeves entered this deal objectively and has a business plan for it. One thing that kind of raised my eyebrow is when I read Lanzone on the Jeeves blog quote the old Remington razor commercial - I loved the product so much I bought the company commercial. I certainly hope that the infatuation with Bloglines didn't cloud Jeeves business judgement. They still have to create a business plan for Bloglines. It needs a solid revenue model.
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Old 02-19-2005   #14
MUSCLE13
 
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One of the best articles I have seen. Looks to me like the next step in the personalization of the net.

http://www.clickz.com/experts/brand/...le.php/3484151

A couple of excerpts -

For industry-watchers, Bloglines and its ilk represent a fundamental change in media consumption -- from mass to micro, from push to pull, from human editing to machine editing.

The idea is that technology -- including XML feeds, recommendation engines, prospective search tools -- make it easier for consumers to find (and consume) niche content and products. So rather than a world of mass-market hits, we're living in a much broader universe in which each person's media and product consumption are tailored to his or her specific desires.
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Old 02-19-2005   #15
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This past article linked me to an older article which was quite interesting as well. Although I still don't see a current advertising model I can certainly see the traffic acquisition opportunity here.

http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3377821

Excerpt -

Fletcher added the company is gunning straight for the share-of-surfing now owned by behemoth search engines.

"Search portals are rooted in the past, and are ill-prepared to handle the tsunami of rich syndicated content that is now crashing onto the web," he said. "For many people, Bloglines is replacing traditional sites like Yahoo! and Google as their home page of choice because we do a better job of keeping them up to the minute on the topics they care about."
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Old 02-20-2005   #16
Lucas Wyrsch
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Hi Muscle13,
I understand the reason why Ask Jeeves bought Bloglines.com! They have an excellent RSS Feed data bank and they are well positioned in the blogosphere. After Google has bought blogger.com in 2003 and Microsoft employed Robert Scoble to coordinate the MSN internal blogosphere as a technical evangelist (his official job title), Ask Jeeves had to enter into the same business to keep connected. HighBeam.com employed Christopher Locke, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. I guess, Ask Jeeves knew what they did and they did what they had to do to keep track in the fast changing world of the blogosphere.
Don't you think the association of a search engine with a blog services provider as a brilliant combination of visionary opportunities?
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Old 02-20-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas Wyrsch
Don't you think the association of a search engine with a blog services provider as a brilliant combination of visionary opportunities?
Yes I can see the traffic opportunity and the blog search potential, but I still don't see a current advertising business model for RSS aggregators. If they get a revenue model its a great move. Don't see it yet.
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Old 02-20-2005   #18
Lucas Wyrsch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSCLE13
Yes I can see the traffic opportunity and the blog search potential, but I still don't see a current advertising business model for RSS aggregators. If they get a revenue model its a great move. Don't see it yet.
Hi Muscle13,

Don't you have a substantial part of explanation in the most recent moves
Quote:
US Newspaper Chains Pay Up for Web Companies
Newspaper publishers, often seen as stodgy and slow-growing, will pay whatever it takes to grab a bigger piece of the fast-growing online advertising market -- if two recent deals are any indication.
It's About.com Time Motley Fool
The Times Company Acquires About.com for $410 Million New York Times
CNN - Forbes - MarketWatch - Ployer - all 221 related »
of the big media. Advertisers will have to follow the trend and to go down into segmented blogs to have an optimal impact. It's not top down anymore as it used to be in corporate aristocracy but bottom up like in real democracies! It's a power shift from the top to the bottom, even for all advertisers and they have to adapt their business model. AdSense and AdWords are showing the trend with Applied Semantics, Inc., a company that was bought by Google in 2003!
BTW, two professors of the Stockholm School of Economics, Jonas Ridderstråle and Kjell A Nordström, describe this new business model fairly well in their book "Karaoke Capitalism"! Just read this interesting book and you will see the underlying business model.
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Old 02-20-2005   #19
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This deal is about indirect monetization... for now

While I have not read Karaoke Capitalism, Lucas has nailed the issue of the new, bottom up democratized media.

Ask Jeeves has done a few things with this acquisition, starting with acquiring all that RSS data. Of course, this is mostly user generated content, but 2004 was the year when blogs became "legitimized" sources of content - oftentimes, more reliable then the old top down media world. While the RSS aggregation service is fantastic on it's own, having this access to this database puts the butler in a good spot to be able to build out the world's best blog search engine, something that could differentiate themselves from the pack. Teoma is obviously a better pure search engine than Feedster, Technorati and the other companies that have been able to gain market share in that area.

This rich data can also be used to deliver more relevant ads. I'm not necessarily talking about within the Bloglines service, but rather in a behaviorally targeted environment, across the Jeeves network. I am a Bloglines user and if the system knows I subscribe to Search Engine Watch and a bunch of other search-related sites, I am going to get ads that are more targeted to my interests, regardless of the contextual mindset am in. In other words, I might be on a travel site, but I may get an advertisement for a bid management software, because even though I'm "off topic" I still fit the profile of someone who will be interested in the ad. This is one of the huge growth areas in the entire advertising world, online and off. If Jeeves can leverage this opportunity, either through a partnership with someone like Tacoda or through a homegrown solution, they'll be sitting a position where they can maximize ROI across their entire network of search - and non-search - sites.

Next, it can't be overlooked that Jeeves finally has a real retention play, other than just counting on their improved service to get people to keep coming back to the site. They previously relied on some tools that were not clear market leaders like the Jeeves Toolbar and Desktop Search to do this. Those were nice products, but there was no compelling reason to use them over Yahoo! or Google's offering. With Bloglines, they gain an existing userbase and a product that will enable them to continue to gain more subscribers. In a perfect world for Jeeves, they can then turn these users onto their flagship search product(s).

Now, I do agree with Muscle's comments about there not being a monetization strategy with the RSS aggregator from day one (for the record, I do believe the industry will figure this one out), but there are clearly other ancillary benefits that Jeeves gains from this deal.

Personally, I think that every search engine will need their own RSS search product and aggregator and it's a matter of time before Google and MSN get into the game too (remember, Yahoo is already there). The big risk Jeeves runs in this category is the same issue they run into every day: they are the little guy competing with companies with way more resources and more diversified business models. You have to admire them for giving it a shot though
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Old 02-20-2005   #20
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Hey the deal gives Jeeves first-mover status in the area which could be huge. And nobody doubts the traffic growth potential. I am one that always wants to see an articulated business plan for each brand though. That is the only way multibrand strategies ever work well. If Bloglines is to be successful it needs an ad revenue strategy on its own. Don't see it yet. I am hopeful it will happen.

I totally agree blogs are a huge popular segment. The question I have is will the RSS feed aggregators be able to monetize this? Do the blog sites have the leverage or do the aggregators have it? I just don't see it yet. Doesn't mean it won't happen.
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