Ansearch fronts challenge in Australian search market

Optum Health, an information technology service provider for the health, finance and resource industries, has announced that it has entered into a "heads of agreement" to acquire Melbourne based search company Ansearch.Optum said the search engine is "ideally positioned to compete against Sensis, Google and Yahoo for a stake in the Australian search directories market", a market that, according to the Audit Bureau of Verification Services, is worth AU$300 million per year.

Optum Health, an information technology service provider for the health, finance and resource industries, has announced that it has entered into a "heads of agreement" to acquire Melbourne based search company Ansearch.

Optum said the search engine is "ideally positioned to compete against Sensis, Google and Yahoo for a stake in the Australian search directories market", a market that, according to the Audit Bureau of Verification Services, is worth AU$300 million per year.

Chairman of Optum, Peter Jermyn, said the acquisition will enable the company to "expand its project base" and "pursue new revenue streams in online advertising, affiliate programs and search technology licensing".

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire Ansearch. With its know-how we can capitalise on the commercial opportunities created by new search engine technology and the demand from web users for better online searching," he said.

Ansearch is the parent company of the Australian search engine Mysearch.com.au. The site was created in 1999 and, according to Optum, operates as a "test bed for new and revolutionary search engine and web-marketing technologies".

Optum said, subject to key conditions, Ansearch will launch a new search engine November this year under the Ansearch brand, designed to attract a minimum of 500,000 "unique visitors per month" within the first six months of operation.

Founder and chief executive officer of Ansearch, Dean Jones, said half a million visitors per month was the "credibility threshold" for any new search engine looking to attract advertising dollars.

"With Optum's involvement and public company status we now have the capacity profile and financial incentive to accelerate Ansearch's development," said Jones. "We can drive visitor growth and build a compelling business case for online advertisers."

"We will focus on developing additional revenue streams from search technology licensing and enterprise applications".

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