A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including search engine Accoona files for $80.5 million IPO, Yahoo! will host the very first “web-only” presidential debate on September 12, Google News will allow comments on news stories, Marchex acquires PPCall provider VoiceStar, and finally, Google offers a paid shared storage program that will allow users of Picasa and GMail to up their storage limits.
- Search Engine, Accoona Files For $80.5 Million IPO – Accoona, one of the smaller crawler based search engines in the space, has filed Friday for an initial public offering of its common stock. The proposed maximum offering price would be roughly $80.5 million. Besides a crawler based search engine, Accoona does online-lead generation and has an e-commerce consumer electronics retail business. They plan to list their shares on the NASDAQ under the symbol “ACNA.”
- Yahoo! To Hold Web-Only Presidential Debate - The Register reports that Yahoo! will host the first ever “web-only” presidential debate. The September 12 streaming-video event will feature all eight Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Questions can be submitted in video format much in the same way as the recent CNN/YouTube, however, this debate will only be viewable online. Viewers will also have the option of customizing what they see. For example if Barack Obama is the only candidate they want to see, they will have that option (I assume after live broadcast). They will also be able to filter by topics.
- Google News Will Now Allow Comments - Do you sense the probability for abuse? The ability to comment on Google News stories in the same way one can comment on blog entries? Before you get too excited, Google will only allow people and organizations who are part of the story to actually comment. Apparently if you can prove that you are somehow connected to any given story and want to send your comments in, Google will allow them. So it is not an automated process but a manual, and one that many think will put a great burden on Google’s human resources. Danny Sullivan says, “Google doesn’t know what they’re getting into.” Frank Shaw, who basically controls all Microsoft PR, says this this idea “stupid” and predicts it will never get out of beta. Oh, and those who are approved to comment will not get any links back to their site. A bad idea, at least the way Google is proposing it? I think so.
- Marchex Acquires PPCall Provider VoiceStar - $28 million and Marchex now has an additional weapon in their arsenal. They have agreed to acquire VoiceStar, a company that offers a pay per call service that helps companies track activity from marketing efforts. Using trackable phone numbers, whenever one of those phone number is dialed by a consumer who sees a relevant advertisement (online or offline), the calls are routed through VoiceStar’s servers to the advertiser. From that point, the call is tracked, monitored, recorded and billed. Thus the term “pay per call.” VoiceStar was after me for several months to offer their services to our clients. I actually think it is a valuable service in providing marketers even more ways to track their efforts and measure ROI. Learn more at the official press release.
- Google Offers Paid Storage Solution - The official Google Blog made an announcement yesterday that they would be offering a paid storage solution. The storage is related to their Picasa and GMail product which already offer a combined 3.8 GB of storage for free (1GB for Picasa, 2.8GB for Gmail). However if you need more you can have it, so long a you are willing to pay for it. The prices? 6 GB ($20.00 per year), 25 GB ($75.00 per year), 100 GB ($250.00 per year) and 250 GB ($500.00 per year). The downfall to this is that you can only use the extra storage for content normally associated with Gmail and Picasa. In other words there is no direct access aside from these two programs. Sure you could email yourself files you wish to store but an easier solution would be to allow direct access to upload files.