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Now *That's* Paid Search…

By - September 18, 2004

…of another kind. Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, which I’ve used in the past, apparently took part of its compensation for a 2001 executive search at Google in options. How they cut this deal I’d like to know, but they got 1.2 million shares at .30 each. They recently sold for $129 million. That is one lucrative search….

Jeeves Local Search Coming

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jeevesForums and such are buzzing with news that Ask has major new local stuff on the way. I’m planning to talk to them Monday, will have more of a report then. For now, check out this thread over at SEW.

Amazon Gives A9 Users a Discount

By - September 17, 2004

a9-logo-sm.gifIn my earlier post I mentioned that Amazon planned to market A9 this time round, but that they were not telling how. Now the first piece of the strategy seems to be out: Amazon is giving discounts to users of its A9 engine. I’m waiting for confirmation, but several sources claim this email to have come to A9 users from Amazon:

”[User name], since you’ve been using A9.com recently, virtually everything at Amazon.com is automatically an additional p/2% (1.57%) off for you. Collecting this discount is zero effort on your part. It will be applied automatically at checkout (it will happen whether you use the shopping cart or our 1-Click Shopping). You don’t need to do anything to get this discount except keep using A9.com as your regular search engine.

“We don’t advertise this additional discount that we give in exchange for using A9.com, so if you want your friends to know about it, please tell them. It is probably the only way they’ll find out. All they have to do is use A9.com as their regular search engine. They should make sure they are signed in to A9.com (it should be recognizing them by name) so that we can be certain they get credit for their visit.”

I didn’t get one, but then again, I haven’t checked my spam filters.

(hat tip to Search Engine Journal)

Search Engine Parody: Aks Jeeves

By - September 16, 2004

mungA hilarious send up of the Ask butler, the patrician tighty-whitey who recently has gone missing from Ask’s home page in some kind of PR stunt. Not work safe, and some might argue it’s racist, though I imagine that depends who’s behind it, and I have no idea who that might be (the site says “Mung 2003″ and is based off I-am-bored.com).

Hat tip: Beal.

SEW Blog

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The venerable newsletter bows a blog. Now *there’s* some monetization, on the right side!

Joe Kraus, Blogger

By - September 15, 2004

Joe Kraus, a co-founder of Excite, has started a blog, which will focus on lessons learned from a life of entrepreneurship. His first post is here. Joe is speaking at Web 2.0 – introducing his next company, in fact. Welcome to the personal publishing world, Joe!

FindWhat Announces Pay Per Call

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fwhatLong discussed, the idea of rolling phone leads into paid search comes closer to mass market reality with FindWhat’s announcement this week. From MediaPost:

Advertisers who use FindWhat.com don’t even need a Web site, because the company creates business profile pages that load when users query keywords relevant to an advertisers’ business. Yahoo!’s Overture offers LocalMatch, a product that makes a similar hosted contact page available to advertisers in its network.

When they sign up for FindWhat’s pay-per-call, advertisers provide their basic contact information–such as location, operating radius, which keywords they think are relevant to their business, and how much they’re willing to pay for each call. The minimum bid for pay-per-call is $2, according to FindWhat, a performance-based marketing technologies provider….

…FindWhat.com is the first major ad network to offer the new advertising technology, which belongs to tech firm Ingenio, Inc. The FindWhat.com partnership is a major win for Ingenio, which needs distribution if pay-per-call is going to get off the ground.

But here’s the interesting market data, for you infoporniacs:

According to local market research firm The Kelsey Group, 98 percent of the roughly 22 million businesses in the United States fall into the category of small- to-medium-sized enterprises–the precise targets for the local offerings of large ad networks like Google, Overture, and FindWhat.

Additional Kelsey data shows that small and medium-sized companies conduct most of their business locally. Eighty percent of small/medium companies make up 75 percent of their product buys and/or sales within a 50-mile radius of their business location.

Currently, only 350,000 advertisers participate in paid search worldwide. Tech providers and industry evangelists hope that the number is small because business owners don’t advertise on the Web unless they have a site; only about 30 percent of small or medium-sized businesses have a Web site, according to Kelsey.

Quiet Period Over, Hambrecht Speaks

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hambrechtSFGate interviews Bill Hambrecht, whose firm was an innovator in the auction style approach that Google pursued in its IPO. Google’s quiet period lifted earlier this week. Excerpts:

“That everyone who bid 85 or higher got the shares is a remarkable achievement in a world where hot issues are doled out in a favored way,” (Hambrecht said)….

….Ultimately, though, Google decided on a hybrid offering in which lead investment banks Morgan Stanley and CS First Boston required the largest U.S. investment firms to place their bids through those two banks exclusively.

That led to a process that was “a compromise between the interests of the (lead) bankers and the interests of the company,” Hambrecht said.

“It wasn’t an IPO auction in the purest sense,” he said. “I think it worked almost in spite of itself,” he said….

…Neither Hambrecht nor Corbus would disclose what the clearing price was for the entire auction, citing a confidentiality agreement with Google.

Pluck

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pluckChris Sherman gives Pluck, a kind of Furl-meets-aggregator-meets-search toolbar, a fine review over at SEW. Windows only….