Monday, February 7, 2005

Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines

Not confirmed yet, but it is thought that Ask Jeeves has bought Bloglines. I wrote about Bloglines before since it is my favorite RSS aggregator. Google should have bought it, but good move by Ask Jeeves.

Also an old but good post from Bill Burnham, "The Coming Blog Wars: Google vs. Yahoo."

For Yahoo and Google, the Internet’s two search titans, Blogs are rapidly becoming both an important distribution channel and a growing cost center. The battle to control this distribution channel, while at the same time reducing its costs, will intensify greatly this year and will most likely be characterized by some rapid fire acquisitions within the 'Blogsphere'.

It’s The Channel Stupid
According to Technorati, the number of blogs on the web has grown from about 100,000 two years ago to over 6,500,000 today with about 20,000 new blog being added every day. Over at Pew research, their latest study indicates that 27% of Internet users in the US, or 32 million people, are now reading blogs, up almost 150% in just one year.

Right now, Google owns the blog-channel thanks in part to its acquisition of Blogger, but mostly to its self-serve Adsense platform that allows bloggers to easily add paid placement and search services to their sites. (I set up both services on this site in 30 minutes with no human help or interaction.) While Google doesn’t say just how much of its revenues it generates via blogs, with growth numbers like those above it’s no doubt that Google’s “blog-related” revenues are growing quite quickly.

While Yahoo is rumored to be building a competitive offering to Adsense, for now it is limited to only serving large sites, so its blog-related revenues are likely miniscule, however Yahoo clearly is aware of the growing importance of blogs and knows that it must have a competitive response to Google’s Adsense platform.

If either player were able to control or at least significantly influence which paid placement services bloggers chose to incorporate into their sites, it would given them a substantial competitive advantage in their head-to-head competition and control over one of the fasting growing channels on the web.

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