February 18, 2005

Internet developments in brief

Quick links to news stories and analysis of relevance to Internet investors:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 18, 2005 at 12:12 AM in ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: EBAY, ticker: GOOG, ticker: MCHX | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 10, 2005

How much did Ask Jeeves pay for Bloglines?

Susan Mernit has three views of how much Ask Jeeves paid for Bloglines:

The new guessing game--what did the Bloglines acquisition cost?
Gary Stein at Jupiter says his "mole" thought $35-40 million.
Someone told me the asking price was rumored to be $40 million.
Someone else says he thought it went for $20-$25 million.

And Jason Calacanis says it's not worth anything.

Posted by David Jackson on February 10, 2005 at 09:35 AM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Did Ask Jeeves ask enough questions?

Only a day after Ask Jeeves announced its acquisition of Bloglines, CNET releases a preview of NewsBurst, its own web-based RSS reader. According to Steve Rubel, the launch of NewsBurst follows the launch of similar branded RSS readers by The Guardian and LA Times last week.

There's a simple reason content companies are trying to get into the RSS reader market:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 10, 2005 at 12:01 AM in Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: CNET, ticker: HOLL | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (2)

February 08, 2005

Forrester likes Ask Jeeves/Bloglines combination

So Forrester's Charlene Li likes Ask Jeeves' acquisition of Bloglines. Her reasons (excerpts in her words):

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Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 09:26 AM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves bid for About.com

The NY Times reports (free registration required) that Primedia's About.com unit is for sale, and final bids are due Tuesday. About.com was purchased by Primedia for $690 million in 2000. Here's a list of the (reported) bidders, and three quick comments:

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Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 08:46 AM in Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: GOOG, ticker: TWX, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ask Jeeves confirms acquisition of Bloglines

Ask Jeeves confirmed late yesterday that it would purchase Bloglines, following unauthorized reports (including this discussion from The Internet Stock Blog) earlier in the day. Here's the full text of the Ask Jeeves press release:

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Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 08:25 AM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) on search and advertising (quotes from the conf call)

Here's what Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowits said on ASKJ's Q4 earnings call about the search market, the online advertising market, and his company's strategy:

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Posted by David Jackson on February 8, 2005 at 07:27 AM in Conf call quotes, Sub-sector: Advertising, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 06, 2005

Ask Jeeves to acquire Bloglines?

Ask Jeeves, according to reports (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, others), will soon announce the acquisition of Bloglines. But would this acquisition make sense? Not necessarily. Here are two viewpoints:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 6, 2005 at 03:48 PM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

February 05, 2005

Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) just isn't Google

Search stock Ask Jeeves fell over 5% after the company reported results that met consensus estimates and maintained consensus guidance. Here's a quick recap of the results, and then reactions from two sell-side analysts, one of which explains why the stock fell:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on February 5, 2005 at 11:57 PM in Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2005

Search briefs

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Posted by David Jackson on January 23, 2005 at 08:45 PM in ticker: ASKJ, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: LOOK, ticker: TWX, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 20, 2005

Click-fraud and the search engine stocks

Click-fraud is becoming increasingly problematic for the search companies. Look at this comment from Google's CFO at an investor conference:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 20, 2005 at 11:06 PM in Sector Themes, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 12, 2005

Business Week article on desktop search underestimates risk to GOOG, YHOO and ASKJ

Following Yahoo!'s release of its desktop search earlier this week, Business Week now asks: Can Desktop Search Find Profits? It's answer: desktop search is a step on the road to the holy grail of search, namely universal search. (Search everything from one place.) But in the short run, there's no money it.

Wrong.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 12, 2005 at 10:54 PM in ticker: ASKJ, ticker: GOOG, ticker: MSFT, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 05, 2005

IBM to enter the online ad market?

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all recently filed new search-related patents. But so did IBM, Phillips and Xerox. Nathan Weinberg comments:

The most interesting one? Easily IBM’s filing for “System and method for dynamically optimizing a banner advertisement to counter competing advertisements“. What the system does is analyze a page and detect ads. Then it matches those ads against a database of the client’s competitor’s ads, and reformats the client’s ad to better compete against those ads. Brilliant!

He adds:

If IBM is planning on getting into the online ad game (and this patent is a big hint), this is exactly the million dollar idea any company needs to succeed.

Interesting. IBM's work on search was recently described in a NY Times article (free subscription required).

Posted by David Jackson on January 5, 2005 at 01:33 AM in ticker: ASKJ, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: LOOK, ticker: MAMA, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 03, 2005

Briefs updates on search, with implications

- Robin Good estimates that non-Microsoft browsers now have 30% share of the browser market  (Firefox has 20%), and that by the end of '05 Internet Explorer will no longer be the browser of choice for the majority of Internet users.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on January 3, 2005 at 12:01 AM in ticker: ASKJ, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: LOOK, ticker: MAMA, ticker: MSFT, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

December 30, 2004

Five Internet danger signs to watch for in 2005

The next few weeks will likely see a flurry of predictions for 2005, to the point where you'll be sick of reading them. So instead, I'm providing something which I hope will be more useful for investors in Internet stocks and managers of Internet companies: a checklist of danger signals for Internet investors to look out for next year. For each danger signal, I've specified which stocks will subsequently be at risk:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 30, 2004 at 11:03 PM in Sector Themes, Sub-sector: Content, Sub-sector: E-finance, Sub-sector: E-tailing, Sub-sector: Search, Sub-sector: Travel, ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: BFLY, ticker: CNET, ticker: CTRP, ticker: EBAY, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOLL, ticker: IACI, ticker: MSFT, ticker: NFLX, ticker: NILE, ticker: OSTK, ticker: PCLN, ticker: RATE, ticker: SHOP, ticker: TSCM, ticker: TZOO, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (4)

S&P's confused initiation of ASKJ

Standard & Poor's initiates coverage of Ask Jeeves  with a "hold" rating and a $32 price target. (Info via this Forbes news release.) The reason for the hold rating? Mounting competition. And also this:

Of greater concern to us is that one of Ask Jeeves' foremost competitors, Google, contributed 69% of revenues through the first nine months of 2004

Concern? This is really confused. Ask Jeeves gets lots of traffic. It monetizes that traffic by placing PPC ads from Google on its search pages. It shares the revenue from clicks on those ads with Google. That's almost free money to Google, so competition for this businesses is fierce. If Ask Jeeves didn't do the deal with Google, Overture would be banging on the door.

In fact, the percentage of revenues going to the affiliates (in this case Ask Jeeves) is going up, and that's a sure sign that the market power in these relationships is increasingly going to the party that controls the traffic rather than the party that provides the ads.

Why do so many analysts misunderstand these affiliate relationships? We've seen this before with Shopping.com.

Posted by David Jackson on December 30, 2004 at 11:48 AM in ticker: ASKJ | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

December 28, 2004

Can you say "frothy"?

Barron's Mark Veverka has a short retrospective (subcription required) of what happened to tech stocks in 2004, which he sums up in one word: Google. "Why all the fuss?" about Google, he asks.

Answer: The return of the 50-plus price-earnings multiple. Recently, Google was trading at 183.75; Yahoo! at 36.66 and Ask Jeeves (which you could have bought at 2 in 2003) at 25.62. At those prices, each boasted a ludicrous price-earnings ratio, based on its expected next-fiscal-year earnings. For Google, it was 54, for Yahoo!, 73, and for Ask Jeeves, 19 . Do you know anybody who even visits Ask.com?

And he later summarizes his views of these stocks with one question: "Can you say "frothy"?"

Posted by David Jackson on December 28, 2004 at 12:12 AM in Sector Outlook, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: GOOG, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 25, 2004

Three lessons from the Google Zeitgeist

Google's press center just published its Zeitgeist 2004, a summary of the most popular searches in 2004. This is important reading, despite the fact that's it's backward-looking. Here are three key points from the Google data:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 25, 2004 at 11:44 PM in Sector Themes, Sub-sector: Search, ticker: AMZN, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: EBAY, ticker: ECST, ticker: GOOG, ticker: HOLL, ticker: LOOK, ticker: OSTK, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

December 21, 2004

DoubleClick/Nielsen survey may imply comparison shopping surprise

DoubleClick released the results of a survey it commissioned from Nielsen / NetRatings. Yup, yet another online holiday shopping survey. So instead of summarizing the unsurprising results (online shopping is growing faster than offline shopping - dah!), here's the more interesting part:

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 21, 2004 at 11:19 AM in ticker: ASKJ, ticker: DCLK, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: MAMA, ticker: SHOP, ticker: YHOO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 15, 2004

Click-fraud & the public Internet companies

Two recent Internet conferences (Majestic's and Jupiter's) highlighted the growing problem of click-fraud. Speakers described how companies are hiring other people to click repeatedly on pay-per-click ads from their competitors. But nobody mentioned that the problem is far more acute with public companies. In fact, individuals can directly impact the financial results of public companies without it costing them a penny.

Continue reading...

Posted by David Jackson on December 15, 2004 at 11:39 AM in Sector Themes, ticker: ASKJ, ticker: ECST, ticker: FWHT, ticker: GOOG, ticker: LOOK, ticker: MAMA, ticker: OSTK, ticker: SHOP | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)