GuruNet still offers a downloadable software product that allows
users to click on words in documents to view related information.
GuruNetplans to generate revenues from ads placed alongside its topic
entries, rather than from the subscription fees it previously charged
for the use of its premium service.
Answers.com has a clean interface and good presentation of material.
Its integration with a desktop client makes it a handy research tool.
But the barriers to entry don't look high. Wikipedia,
a user-generated encyclopedia, has greater breadth and depth of
coverage and a search function that also allows users to search for
names, places and people like Answers.com.
According to the company's most recent 10-Q,
GuruNet reported revenue of $53,163, cost of revenue of $157,854, and a
loss of $2,168,527 in its September 2004 quarter. Over the last nine
months, the company's cash flows from operating activities were
negative $3,092,838. In the last few trading days GuruNet's stock has
risen from about $6 to its close last night of $8.90, giving the
company an enterprise value of $41 million.
Trend: Search engines are becoming answer engines. MSN Search already offers search of its Encarta encyclopedia.
engines will race to add access to useful content (eg. Google's recent
library initiative) and to acquire proprietary content themselves.