In the News
There has been a spate of in the last two days about Yahoo’s revamped offering. Localized search… sound familiar? This was actually one of the hottest areas of interest when sites like Yahoo first came into existence. Back then, the paradigm was the yellow pages – and how to make them searchable. Companies like the long-since defunct BigBook recognized that there was a business here, but were too early to the game and didn’t really have the right model. For example, BigBook tried to introduce a VRML-based 3-D verion of its site (great idea!). Otherc companies, like Bigfoot, managed to survive the down years and may now be well-positioned to provide localized directories to the branded search players. What’s old is new again.
View – Yahoo! Local Beta [Yahoo!]
View – About Bigfoot [Bigfoot.com]
Read – Google News Results [Google News]
Read – BigBook Unbinds the Yellow Pages [Red Herring]
Company Update – Vibrant Media
The online division of Forbes.com must be getting much more press than it had expected in the slow late summer, including a link from the Yahoo.com’s home page and a New York Times story – “Marketing Entwined with Journalism on Forbes.com.” In brief, Forbes.com is running ads, within its news articles, served up by Vibrant Media. The ads resemble common hyperlinks but they are double-underlined, and clicking on them takes visitors to the sites of Forbes’ advertisers.
The controversy comes as no suprise to those who have done deals with Forbes.com. The group is widely regarded as the most aggressive print publication in the online world. Forbes sales people are highly incentivized to close deals quickly. We suspect that Forbes anticipated some degree of controversy and demanded a large up-front payment from Vibrant Media.
Some commentators, like Rafat Ali at Paidcontent.org, are calling for Forbes and others to put an end to this “fiasco.” However, the storm reminds us of the larger tempest that surrounded the launch of Overture (originally called GoTo.com), when commentators predicted a revolt by netizens. Larry Kramer at CBS Marketwatch is quick to criticize Forbes.com, meanwhile his own articles are buffetted by intrusive ads, including the dreaded launch page ultramercial. Forbes is and always has been aggressive, and it is also the 6th most trafficked business site on the Net. Let the market decide.
Read – Forbes.com Puts Ad Links in News Stories [AP]
Read – Marketing Entwined with Journalism on Forbes.com [NY Times]
Read – The Forbes.com Fiasco [PaidContent.org]
Vibrant Media advertising on Forbes.com
HQ: Palo Alto, CA
Action: Pulled $100M IPO due to poor market conditions.
HQ: Bordeaux, France
Action: $27M Series D for US acquisitions
Investors: Insight Venture Partners (lead) Banexi Ventures, Partech International, VPSA and Innoven Partennaires.
Sector: Semiconductors; chips used in iPods.
HQ: Santa Clara, CA
Action: Filed for $75M IPO
Underwriters: Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, Needham & Co. and SG Cowen & Co.
Sector: Enterprise software; knowledge management
HQ: Redwood City, CA
Action: $11M Series C
Investors: Invus Group and Global Catalyst Partners.
Sector: Enterpise Software; voice applications
HQ: San Bruno, CA
Action: $8 million in Series C funding
Investors: Walden International (lead) the round, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Alloy Ventures.
Sector: Medical Imaging
HQ: Cambridge, UK
Action: $9.1M Series A
Investors: Partnerships UK and Circus Capital Ltd. co-led.
Sector: Wireless; Satellite-based shipment tracking
HQ: Dulles, VA
Action: Additional $4M to Series C
Investors: Motorola Ventures, Inverness Capital Partners, Cordova Ventures and AIG Highstar.
HQ: Carlsbad, CA
Action: $4M Series A
Investors: Banque Populaire and Crédit Lyonnais.
Sector: eCommerce Software
HQ: San Diego, CA
Action: Series A; undisclosed amount
Investors: Windward Ventures and angels
Sector: Enterprise Software
HQ: Westford, MA
Action: Acquired Positive Software Systems
Sector: Online Marketing
HQ: Westlake Village, CA
Action: Acquired PriceRunner AB for $29M.
Sector: Enterprise Software
HQ: Chicago, IL
Action: Acquired Artesia Technologies for indisclosed amount.
HQ: Larkspur, CA
Action: Acquired Singapore-based LineFusion for undisclosed amount.