Barry Diller underscored today “how difficult it is to operate twelve totally separate businesses that have commonality only in that they are interactive.”
The CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp. asserted to investors that IAC is up to the challenge and has the solution; Glue the businesses together, via Ask.com:
Ask.com is the connector, the glue, the spark that pulls together in one place all of the exclusive content and expertise we have been deep mining for the past ten years across our many brands. This integrated conglomerate is beginning to come together.
IAC on its Search & Media, Ask.com:
We’ve owned this business for seventeen months…
Expect to finish 2006 with 25% query growth on Ask.com U.S., due to product innovation…rebranding has moved base to a more commercially oriented user…
We will continue to invest in Ask in 2007 to continue taking share and for growth in 1) users, 2) queries and 3) revenues.
Diller on Ask.com:
Ask.com is the connecting glue for all of IAC’s enormous amount of unique content.
It is a good and differentiated product…and we have hired a truly great agency to get us world-class marketing.
We keep innovating. Today, we are putting out a test version of a new search concept called AskX which has the chance to really change habits and adoption. Go sneak a look at AskX.com and then tell me wether or not our small band of great developers can compete.
AskCity does more to explain what IAC can do that no other company or search engine can do. AskCity is fed by the great content of IAC: Citysearch, Ticketmaster, Servicemagic…and soon discounts from Entertainment Publications.
Ask will become a virtuous circle of information and commerce. It is the dream convergence. IAC’s 200+ million visitors become interdependent, cross-sharing traffic and users, capturing growth that would otherwise be up for grabs by our competitors.
Diller on future product road map of Ask bringing an “enormous amount of value-add information”:
AskX to be officially rolled-out in Q1, followed by AskNews.
IAC bought Collegehumor, has Veryshortlist.com…
A JV is in the works…Extremely aggressive on our part…won’t generate much in ’07, but in the next couple of years I think it will be a significant part of our business.
What about AskCity traction? Diller:
It is hard...we don't have a metric that comes that quickly...anecdotedly, it's been fantastically reviewed across the blogs...it is obviously a long-term thing...I don't think it on itself is going to drive anything particularly or quickly...can't track it exactly...