View Poll Results: Will Microsoft buy Looksmart?

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  • Yes

    4 21.05%
  • No

    15 78.95%
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  1. #1
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    Rumors a few weeks ago, rumors said Microsoft had approached Google. But even if substantiated, we already knew that Google would say 'no' to Microsoft.

    But I propose something much more likely: Microsoft will buy Looksmart. Think about it, buying Looksmart would take care of two big issues, their paid listings, and algorhythmic search results.

    Three things happened that made me think this is very likely:
    1) Microsoft allegedly tried to buy Google, and was refused.
    2) Around the same time, Looksmart announced that it had keyword targeting abilities now.
    3) Also around the same time, Looksmart announced that MSN was ending it's syndication of Looksmart's paid inclusion listings.

    After the news of the deal being cut short, Looksmart's shares fell to around $1.50-$2 per share. Understandably, since MSN accounted for 70% of their revenue.

    So how about it? Will Microsoft's MSN unit buy Looksmart?

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Maybe out of bankrupsy court at 0.05 on a dollar

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I don't see the value of it.

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


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  4. #4
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    Haiko said: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I don't see the value of it.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    And nor do Microsoft. LookSmart made MSN a chunk of money but LS got dropped anyway. Various spokespersons for MSN said they'd run tests and relevancy was much improved by removing LookSmart. And they're right - the MSN.co.uk results (which haven't had Looksmart since mid-Oct) are far, far better than they were. Having very publically stated that this was the case, they aren't likely to go and buy Looksmart.

    Search Engine Marketing and Positioning - 1 Design 4 Life

  5. #5
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    I agree to some extent. IMO Looksmart's paid inclusion listings are very irrelavent at worst, and very commercially skewed at best.

    I think it's true that there is very little value now, but could be a good investment for Microsoft in the end.

    Wisenut, Looksmart's (supposed) answer to Google, has pretty good relavence. Apply the algorithm to a bigger index, and voila-- MSN results 1.0.

    Looksmart also has a rudimentary system for bidding on keywords now-- which is something MSN will need in the future. I believe they will dump Overture's listings in favor of something higher margin, and more controllable.

    I'm not saying that Looksmart is very valuable, I'm just saying they've got more developed than MSN does.

    And at the low low price of $1.47, these shares are flying off the shelves! We're practically giving this stock away! That's right it's a Looksmart Stock Inventory Blowout! It's a liquidation-- we must sell!

    Bryan Simonson
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  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I'm with Mike.. Looksmart has no future as a business, so really the only think to do is have a fire sale and extract what value there still is.

    However, there is some value in it still. The Zeal/Looksmart directory isn't too bad. Wisenut is a fairly decent search engine. Both of these would give Microsoft a leg up, but only really if you strip down Looksmart's assets to their intellectual property, rather than any other business worth.

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  7. #7
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    If I could afford it, I would buy Looksmart and scuttle it.

    If I could scuttle it first, I would soon be able to afford it anyway

    ------------------------------
    "It be's dat way sumtimes." ~ Coco B. Ware

  8. #8
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    Luckily, Senor Beef, they seem to have scuttled themselves. Oh, such a shame

    Search Engine Marketing and Positioning - 1 Design 4 Life

  9. #9
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    Google won't sell to Microsoft now, but Microsoft can still get Google when they IPO. Then MS might scuttle it, rename it, redirect it, use it for their MSN Search, put a big pic of Bill Gates on the Google home page laughing with the slogan "All your searches are belong to Microsoft", who knows.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> they seem to have scuttled themselves <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually I was thinking more along the lines of MSN losing their feed Sooner, that is.

    ------------------------------
    "It be's dat way sumtimes." ~ Coco B. Ware

  11. #11
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    ABW --

    Looksmart has drastically "improved" recently. Initially there was only "inclusion" listings into their results, with a flat rate of 15 cents for business listings, per click. I used them for a while, but traffic was pretty low, and I had no control over my listings.

    I took a look at them in the last couple weeks, and they've done some pretty major upgrades. On December 11th, they no longer charge for new listings (it was $45.00 I think before for each new listing you added), and you can now set your max CPC to whatever you want for higher rankings. They interface is very close to that of Overture (but more "Overture-Lite"). Looks like the MSN thing scared them pretty bad, and they were quick to hop in the action.

    Things I still don't like about Looksmart:

    . Still have to deposit money PER campaign (not aggregate), so if you have four campaigns running you have to set a monthly budget and then pay that whole month's budget up front.

    . Listing approval process is hidden (you can't see which keywords are approved and not approved when you submit them, they all seems to be approved and active, but they are not)

    . Bidding on keywords is not nearly as refined as Overture or Adwords...

    As far as Microsoft dropping Looksmart, I can't say they have any choice but to keep them at least for now. Microsoft will not put up Google Adwords, nor will they put up Overture/Yahoo ads as that defeats the purpose of their upcoming search engine.

    The MSN search is pretty shoddy. We rank very high on all search engines BUT for MSN. I still can't figure out how to SEO for them, as it seems the "candles" listings have been fixed in place for MONTHS and haven't been updated in a long, long time.

    As far as Microsoft buying Google once there is an IPO in some "hostile" takeover, that won't happen. Google will only be selling 10% or less of it's stock on it's first release of public shares, and those are bound to be VERY EXPENSIVE within 48 hours of public trading. Microsoft also is not in the history of hostile takeovers (I can't think of one). They tend to approach majority shareholders and buy controlling shares (enough for board seats) privately, and not through publicly issued shares.

    I do think Looksmart has a good future, all depending of course, if Microsoft develops it's own PPC engine. Looksmart has improved enough to be of interest to MS, in my opinion, and I wouldn't be surprised if MS doesn't buy them to get at least a good start in PPC for their own upcoming search engine... anything has to be better than the current MSN search...

    PS: See CandlePeople Full Page Ads at: http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=4356047725

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  12. #12
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    "Google will only be selling 10% or less of it's stock on it's first release of public shares,"

    Actually that's wrong, i think you're just guessing since no plans have been made yet. Some reports have said they will go the auction route
    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=4028752

    http://siliconvalley.internet.com/ne...le.php/3098341

    I work in lounge pants

  13. #13
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    I doubt MS will get their hands on Google, either in takeover sense, or a competitive sense.

    However, I do think that of all the branches outside of their core competency, MSN has the best chance to succeed. They've got a huge advantage with IE as the leading browser. But it's clear that they will have to own their own paid search provider.

    I originally believed that Yahoo! would develop their own paid search product and leave Overture in a ditch somewhere. I believed that the cost/benefit ratio was way too high for them to buy Overture. But they surprised me...

    This makes me think, "Jeez, Looksmart is chump change. Anybody could buy them." I think the installed user base would pay for the price of the company. MS would immediately jack up all prices of all listings to get back on MSN-- especially if it replaced Overture with it. With some changes, Looksmart could be very profitable (if owned by MS.)

    Bryan Simonson
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  14. #14
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    Microsoft has had several prior private offers to Google in the past -- obviously they've all beeb declined by Google.

    As noted by another poster, Microsoft doesn't tend to swoop in via a public hostile takeover bid - and the Google IPO is only for a minority offering of their outstanding shares anyway, not a controlling interest in the company.

    I think the smart money is still on Microsoft to simply wait for the market to rise, which its now doing in the $250mm+ market, where it will be more on the holistic Microsoft radar. They'll acquire and build from within.

    Google is best doing what they're doing--cashing in now while they still retain the coveted perception of the darling of search. In many ways, Google can only go down from here -- better to cash in now while they can.

  15. #15
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    I hear that MS are going to try and do it the hard way, scratch build their own search tech. That way, they own it totally, will work it into the OS a la IE, and use their desktop dominance to try and gain market share that way

    The MS search team have a free hand, a blank cheque and a simple mission : "Beat Google"

  16. #16
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    Yes, the desktop dominance is in their favor, but it takes more than just that.
    If they come up with a good search engine close to google's relevance, then google will have to work hard not to lose out to MSN....

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