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Main > Archives > 2005 > February > AskJeeves Acquires BlogLines

Sunday, February 06, 2005

AskJeeves Acquires BlogLines

Supposedly the bloglines acquistion by AskJeeves rumor is true but it wasn't going to be announced until Monday or Tuesday. Not sure how it got leaked out but we'll see if it holds water. The acquisition is being discussed on a couple sites. Fergus Burns, the CEO of Nooked (rss service) gave me the tip on this one late Saturday evening. Here's what others are saying about Bloglines getting snatched up by AskJeeves.Bloglines [link to post]
Bloglines, perhaps the biggest online newsreader/RSS tool and single-handedly responsible for making the usage mainstream (well, at least as much as it is), is being sold to, yes-you-heard-it-right, AskJeeves, according to Mary Hodder. Ask Jeeves will be integrating Bloglines into their search system. More as news comes out...

First take: Well, Bloglines messed up (in my facts on this one) the chance of selling to the likes of Yahoo and Google, as soon as it named itself Bloglines. Talk about myopia in naming (I breathe it every day). Now about AskJeeves, it is trying desperately to get out the also-ran leagues: it tried to do it with the second-rate acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings, and where did it end up? At the same place where it started. Bloglines is its second attempt...(Notice how "second" is the operative word)...

Staci adds: I'm not at all surprised by the sale -- I actually thought about posting my own speculation of the week that Bloglines would go before MediaPost -- but have to admit to being nonplussed by the buyer. AskJeeves wasn't on any of my mental lists for this one. I have to think Bloglines could have done better strategically. OTOH, it should make Jeeves more attractive.

BTW, I heard from another blogger a couple of weeks ago who thought a sale might be in the works based on some search patterns he picked up. Neither of us could find enough to hang a legitimate report on, though.

A couple of other thoughts: As Mary points out, AskJeeves already has incorporated Blogines into its service, with a "search blogs" button that goes straight to the aggregator's search engine. The problem with that for me is that I think of Bloglines' search as its weakest link. If joining Ask means a vast improvement in that direction, then Bloglines becomes a more valuable service.

Selling is a great way to get around the problem of a viable business model. Mark Fletcher was on the verge of phasing in a version of adwords, which may turn out to be a good way to make money from Bloglines ... but selling should have a much faster return.

Jeeves likes RSS
And here's Napterization's [link to post]
That's the scoop. Ask Jeeves is integrating Bloglines into their search system (it's not yet live on their main site, til Monday as reported).

Noted however that on Ask Jeeves new blog (it's a baby, three days old!) at the top, blog search, and the sidebar, Top Blogs and Most Popular Links go straight to Bloglines.

So Mark Fletcher will be their newest employee (starting next week?). Congratulations, Mark and Bloglines! Oh, and welcome to the blogosphere, Jeeves!

One thing to note, Ask Jeeves, or any other search company, could build a system like this very quickly. What they would have trouble doing is getting all the data, structured, organized and pulled, going back more than say, a month. That's because blog posts fall off the front pages (depending on frequency of blogging and how many posts the blogger displays) and go into archives. If you think about how many kinds of blog software exist, which means many different kinds of data structures for the blog post data, which then it's very difficult to get all the various types of data structured into a single database, just imagine how all the variants of those professionally and homegrown blog publishing systems differ for archival posts. Lots of people customize their archives, as I have in MT and other blogs I participate in with Wordpress, Typepad, etc. Spidering and structuring archives is really tough, tougher than getting the stuff on the tops of blogs right. The point is, a comprehensive database of blogs structured well, going back a couple of years, is really valuable. As is the knowledge of how to put that database together, and run it, along with understanding why this kind of search is very different than those done by Google or Ask Jeeves, whose results don't understand the temporal qualities of blog data, or other aspects that make it different.

Also, I'm sure Jeeves is asking himself how I know this. I learned it from a couple of folks. Once that happened, it seemed reasonable to blog it.

I'll let you know if and what I hear as more comes out on this story.

By Jason Dowdell at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

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