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February 07, 2005

Welcome, Bloglines!

jeeves hearts bloglines

Early last year, Erik Collier, who leads our data engineering group, asked me if I'd tried a web-based feed aggregator called Bloglines. I said I'd read about it but hadn't tried it yet. He told me it was the most addictive site he'd ever used. What was I waiting for?

I've worked in the Internet industry about as long as it's been around, and most of that time I've worked for companies whose job it was, at least in part, to help people find things online. I'm the kind of person who reads every magazine and newspaper I can get my hands on. I even belonged to the secret society of people who were addicted to hitting "refresh" on Drudge over and over.

After one day of using Bloglines, I had to admit, Erik was so right. It quickly became a habit for me to visit - easily - 15 to 20 times a day. I was hooked. Pretty soon, we had an office full of Bloglines disciples.

A few months later, on an excruciatingly hot day in early September, I met Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher for lunch in my old hometown of San Carlos, CA.

You'll have to check out Winged Pig to see if Mark felt the same way, but from my perspective, we hit it off right away. We had a very practical discussion about the business he was building and how we envisioned feed aggregators, as well as the blogosphere, fitting into the future landscape of the Internet. (In the words of John Battelle, they were going to be a Big Deal.)

I broached the subject of buying them. Ask Jeeves hadn't made any movements into these areas yet, but we were hard at work building MyJeeves and Desktop Search, two pieces of the future landscape, and after we finished, we'd be ready for Step 2. Bloglines would be a crown jewel in Step 2.

"We've already rejected an offer," said Mark.

OK, then.

We spent the better part of Q4 flirting and moving the idea forward. Mark wanted to do more than just get a check for Bloglines and head off for Cabo. He wanted to build it into the "homepage of the 21st century." And he wanted a partner who would be committed to helping him get there.

Thankfully, Mark appreciated the evolution Ask Jeeves has undergone the past two or three years, as a business and a search technology, and he chose us as that partner. In turn, we became the Remington of the Internet. Remember that commercial? "I liked it so much I bought the company." That's us.

So, what are our plans for Bloglines?

First and most importantly, our primary focus will be on building the Bloglines service to fulfill his vision for it, adding resources to their toolbox to get there faster and better.

There will be no short-term changes to Bloglines that weren't already on their roadmap. Over the long-term, Mark will now, as general manager of Bloglines for AJ, Inc., be responsible for that roadmap in the future.

We will take our time determining the optimal business model for the service. We will continue to put the user experience first. As part of a bigger company there will be more options for Bloglines - from indirect monetization (through increased usage of our other brands) to direct if there is a model that makes sense for everyone.

In terms of integration with Ask Jeeves, one of our first priorities will be to pair the Bloglines team with our Teoma search technology team to build world-class blog search. We'll also help distribute Bloglines to a broader audience, from MyJeeves to the portal properties we own that collectively make Ask Jeeves the 7th ranked property on the Web.

We welcome any and all comments and advice from Bloglines fans out there. We've seen, heard, and appreciated the sentiments you've expressed this past weekend. Please let us know your thoughts by posting your comments below.

Jim Lanzone
SVP, Search Properties and Bloglines Addict ("Hello, Jim")

PS - Merch Alert! The first 200 people who email us with their name, address, and t-shirt size, will receive an "I Love Bloglines" t-shirt emblazoned with the design above. Send your email to Paul Loeffler at: [email protected] and he'll take care of you.

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Comments

Go Jeeves ...

Posted by: Jozef Imrich | Feb 8, 2005 3:29:02 AM

What a catch for Ask Jeeves!

Advertisers will LOVE feed-specific ads. They'll be like BlogAds, only cheaper, and without the need for editorial approval.

As a user, I'll hate them of course. But I guess you can offer a 'no ads' version for a yearly subscription.

Posted by: Zarathustra's Son | Feb 8, 2005 6:50:11 AM

I guess this is as good of time to ask as any...

I would love to be able to tags feeds instead of just folderizing them

Posted by: Hashim | Feb 8, 2005 9:30:46 AM

I love Bloglines! Bloglines is the most important part of my lifetime digital memory. I have 2554 feeds on my Bloglines account!

Posted by: Dimitar Vesselinov | Feb 8, 2005 1:43:13 PM

Congratulations AskJeeves, and keep blogging,guys.
=======================================
http://www.bukaboo.com/index.shtml

Posted by: Bukaboo.com | Feb 9, 2005 1:11:39 AM

Woo-hoo! I am so stoked about this. I've been hoping more search engines will pick up on the blog for my book, Why I Committed Suicide. This is a great move!

-Sam

Posted by: sam paul | Feb 9, 2005 2:14:15 PM

The writing style here on Ask Jeeves's blog is totally irritating...they drag and drag and beat aound the whole bloody bush! Google's blog is so much crisper and so full of life! Maybe that has to do with the work they do there!!

Posted by: Susheel | Feb 10, 2005 12:26:15 AM

The news is official. Search engine Ask Jeeves has bought Bloglines. We talked with Jeeves vice president Jim Lanzone and Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher about the deal earlier today. A link to the audio from that interview is below. Lanzone talks abo...

---------------
http://www.ptdd.com
http://www.yiwodisk.com

Posted by: ptdd group | Feb 18, 2005 9:02:39 PM

I love Bloglines! Bloglines is the most important part of my lifetime digital memory. I have 2554 feeds on my Bloglines account

Posted by: Web Hosting | Feb 19, 2005 1:24:56 AM

I love Bloglines! Bloglines is the most important part of my lifetime digital memory. I have 2554 feeds on my Bloglines account

dan
http://www.marketingtops.com
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Posted by: Web Hosting - MarketingTops.com | Feb 19, 2005 1:27:07 AM

this is the second blog for clapyrhans

Posted by: clapyrhans | May 1, 2005 11:24:20 AM

One of the more resilient residents of the search engine industry, Ask Jeeves, completed its acquisition of Bloglines, confirming the chatter circulating in the blogosphere and press
what abouy this?

Posted by: mp3find | Jun 8, 2005 1:32:08 PM

One of the more resilient residents of the search engine industry, Ask Jeeves, completed its acquisition of Bloglines, confirming the chatter circulating in the blogosphere and press
what abouy this?

Posted by: Baitbus | Sep 15, 2005 8:43:20 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of IAC Search & Media and may not have been reviewed in advance.

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