Internet news/analysis in brief

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Includes: AABA, ASKJ, CNVR, FLWS, GOOG, IAC, LKST, NILE, SHOP-OLD, XOXO
by: David Jackson

  • Barry Diller admits
    that the Ask Jeeves acquisition was at least partially defensive. " "We
    were worried that search could disintermediate our other brands," he
    told a business forum here [LA]. "What would prevent Google from having
    its own mortgage lender and taking us out of the equation?" Comments:
    (1) If Diller's worry is really about disintermediation by the search
    engines, then purchasing Ask Jeeves won't solve the problem - it's
    market share is too small. (2) "Google having its own mortgage
    business"? Does Diller understand Google?
  • Paul Kedrosky points out that the same day Google acquired Urchin Software for $30 million,  private equity firm Francisco Partners paid $95 million for competitor Webtrends. John Battelle predicts that WebTrends will be sold again soon. Comment: Kedrosky thinks Google's motivation was click-fraud prevention; I think it's generally improved ROI on ads.
  • Bloglines, now owned by Ask Jeeves (ticker: ASKJ) and soon to be swallowed by IAC (ticker: IACI) now offers RSS feeds of USPS, UPS and FedEx parcel tracking. "Bloglines readers can look forward to collecting more kinds of unique-to-me information on Bloglines in the near future, such as neighborhood weather updates and stock portfolio tracking." Comment: New and useful applications of RSS will make RSS aggregators more desirable, driving mainstream users to web offerings from ASKJ and Yahoo (ticker: YHOO).
  • Fortune asked 10 analysts from some of the nation's top-performing small-cap stock funds to name five picks they believe will outperform the market this year. Only two Internet stocks made it on to the list: Blue Nile (ticker: NILE) and ValueClick (ticker: VCLK).
  • LookSmart launched five vertical search content destinations. According to ClickZ: "The sites are targeted to consumer profiles the company identified as the most active on its FindArticles.com property. Three of the new sites are homework-oriented: www.teenja.com for teens; www.gradewinner.com for "tweens;" and www.24hourscholar.com for college students. The other two sites are aimed at parents: a general www.parentsurf.com, and the mom-oriented www.gobelle.com. All return results either from FindArticles.com or from the Web, with the former set as the default."
  • Shopping.com (ticker: SHOP) officially announced the launch of its comparison shopping service in France. A beta of the site has actually been up for a couple of weeks already. Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm long SHOP.
  • The Knot.com (ticker: KNOT) is moving from the over-the-counter market to the Nasdaq National Market.