For Sale.
June 25, 2001 6:45 AM   Subscribe

For Sale. Pre-owned Search Engine $250,000,000 o.n.o

is hinting at an end of year IPO for a measley $250 million. Is this the beginning of the end of the dot-com crash?. Via The Register.
posted by fullerine (22 comments total)
Not unless they provide some inkling of how they plan to make money, something they haven't done yet at all. They've planted some vague stories in the media in the past about selling their search engine service to other dotcoms, as well as selling ads connected to certain search words, but that sort of incestous investment scam doesn't work any more. Unless they can prove they're going to be able to sell their technology to real companies somehow, this will never fly.
posted by aaron at 6:53 AM on June 25, 2001

How many search engines are there left standing?

I hope Google figures out a way to make $, since it's great, but it's probably great because it isn't making money.

Does anyone still use any other search engine?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:05 AM on June 25, 2001

I think the funniest search engine is MetaCrawler. Give it a try. It is absolutely terrible. It returns nothing whatsoever of relevance to your search criteria.

I thought MetaSpy was a funny idea though.
posted by Succa at 7:17 AM on June 25, 2001

How is selling ads and handling search features for companies who want to outsource it an "incestous investment scam"? Taking ads or whatever from Yahoo, etc, in return for doing that would be, but they don't, they take money. So... let's see... they charge customers money, and provide them services in return.. not that incestuous, not much of a scam.
posted by beefula at 7:24 AM on June 25, 2001

The best thing about metaspy was the "sherlock holmes flasher" graphic. Loved the magnifying glass on the floor. Details baby details.

Would anyone pay for Google?
posted by fullerine at 7:24 AM on June 25, 2001

Google already sells ads tied to keywords. Its actually not a bad deal, and they don't whore out the actual search results, just a box that appears above the search result and is clearly marked as advertising.

I did it for my website DangFunny Political Humor and for a few cents a click for those it really boosted traffic among people who typed in "political satire."

Whether this means they deserve $250,000 is an open question, but they do have revenue potential. The dot coms have fallen, but from a valuation point of view, many of them still haven't fallen enough.
posted by brucec at 7:26 AM on June 25, 2001

Here's the original article from the BBC. Says they have will have revenue of $50mill and will break even by the end of the year. If anyone is running a viable dot-biz that should actually be public, it's Google.
posted by owillis at 8:08 AM on June 25, 2001

Doesn't Yahoo already license Google? Presumably for cash as opposed to free banner ads (a pathetic scam from day one) or warrants.
posted by snarkout at 8:34 AM on June 25, 2001

Yeah, Yahoo uses Google, and i remember reading about how much more effective semi-inline text "Sponsored Link" ads were than banners... who knows. I'm thinking they're gonna need some real income to support those 8000+ machines and counting...
posted by techgnollogic at 10:08 AM on June 25, 2001

given google's current streak of independence, i suspect that the $250 million they are offering in the ipo represents a rather small percentage of the company. it will be great to see their ipo filing and find out how much money they're really making and spending.

(and were there really any dotcom ipos that floated more than a billion dollars worth of shares? i know there's a number of them that popped above that after the offering, but the only ipo that actually raised that much cash for the company that i recall was the one for ups.)
posted by jimw at 10:58 AM on June 25, 2001

this is pretty neat. it's google's beta image search engine. i've been playing around with this all day....
posted by iceblink at 1:46 PM on June 25, 2001

google is a truly good company, with a truly good product that delivers what it promises. They've expanded smartly, their technology is tops in the business, and they have a massive audience that is only a fraction of what it will be.

Anyone who buys into the "full dotcom crash" and thinks every company is close to worthless and can't make money because it doesn't follow every rule in the book is just as silly as the "full dotcom boom" idiots who created them and helped justify elements of the backlash.
posted by FPN at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2001

Yahoo licenses Google results, and they also sell site-specific search features. Plus, the Open Directory is used as a Yahoo substitute by many competitors. I feel comfortable with the annual revenue estimate in the article (did anyone read it?) of around $50M, give or take a few ten.

Amazing. A realistic float price for an IPO. Hang the suckers! Man the snark cannon!
posted by dhartung at 3:13 PM on June 25, 2001

I strongly agree with FPN

There are a lot of people out there that believe
"fundamentals" are the _ONLY_ thing that must be respected for a business to be successful. Unfortunately, some guy with bigger fundamentals (on paper) will come, kill the little company with less income because it doesn't have any new idea to sell, and usually doesn't know how to diversificate income sources.

DOT COM are DEAD. Technology companies are PROSPERING and only taking a minor hit from the market situation.

After all many dot coms where only big web pages with little content and with bright ideas, but with a little problem..they were runned by MARKETING GUYS who don't have a clue (naturally) on delivering anything else then VAPOR ; and they went after the capitalism "minor habens" who believed they could make big cash by risking little.

Technology is here to stay, and new dot coms will rule your ass !
posted by elpapacito at 3:14 PM on June 25, 2001

Paris: Other search engines I use from time to time include Altavista (still better at exact phrase searches, due to Google's concentration on extracting keywords), Excite (due to its grouping, or I should say, anti-grouping capabilities, though Google's improved), FAST search (fast, yes, but also tends to get more pages than Google on certain topics, though relevance can suffer), and for the occasional meta-search, dogpile. (Though before Google's ascendancy many people swore by metasearches, I've always found them cumbersome, and only use them as a backup.)

Google is fast, easy, and effective, and they've kept their interface darned clean. It's hard to beat. But I'm not going to tumble to a facile one-choice web very easily.
posted by dhartung at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2001

I agree with Dan on Google's revenue sources, but: Open Directory isn't Google, unless something has changed while I wasn't looking (entirely possible).
posted by rodii at 3:53 PM on June 25, 2001

'One-choice web'. Yeah Dhartung: What a thought :/. The page-rank system at the heart of googles methods does seem to be open to the possibility of abuse (even without abuse popularity of links so often doesn't equate to quality) and who knows what can happen in the future if new CEO's come in once it's treble its current size or whatever. In the same way that google needed to rise up from the search engine underground to so justifiably steal ample amounts of yahoos thunder and f*ck up its market presence a bit other ones need to do the same to google to keep things nice and healthy. My initial thoughts on this story though are that if they go public at this price and attain the 50 mil projections this year we're looking at a p/e ratio of around 5/1 - bargain in itself! Combine that with future growth prospects, proprietary technology, super-strong brand/ impeccable reputation based on quality and a unique position in the market and it seems amazingly undervalued especially considering how they already get 100 million hits a day!. I'd be forced to buy heaps. I already feel like i owe them money - in a shareware type way - so it'd be a case of killing two birds with one stone..

'Would anyone pay for Google?'

Too right. I'd be inconsolable if i lost access to my babe of a sexy google toolbar!. At least it'd motivate me to do some overdue editing of my host file i suppose (I'd point google at out of spite!).

And now they do it again - that image engine appears to be of their usual second-to-none top-notch quality!. Hang on... is that a donkey! and what IS that! [tilts his head]....... Urghghghghghghgh!!!
posted by Kino at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2001

As an afterthought: It's so refreshing to see an independent site/product/whatever as deserving of the status google has amongst the bigboys and its position in the market - so deserving of acclaim and popularity on the basis of its talents. As far as i'm concerned, and i know most of you will agree (to the point that it could almost be considered a 'fact'..) - google is the best, bar none.
posted by Kino at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2001

Hey iceblink, you're right! Google's beta image search is pretty cool, and pretty scary all at the same time.

Found a bunch of photos I've taken and images I've created. That's serious flashback... Didn't find any with me in them. I also didn't find any matching the name of any single girl I've ever dated. just checking up... :-)

Now, if you take Jakob Nielsen and add Bill Gates, you get Jakob Gates. Scary...
posted by fooljay at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2001

Or if Zsa Zsa Gabor decided she needed a new toyboy and married Jean Michel Jarre.. Zsa Zsa Jarre!. (Yikes.. Searched for that and it came up with one return..This!. Spookalistik!).
posted by Kino at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2001

My initial thoughts on this story though are that if they go public at this price and attain the 50 mil projections this year we're looking at a p/e ratio of around 5/1 - bargain in itself!

That's $50 million in revenue, not profits.
posted by snarkout at 5:10 PM on June 25, 2001

Ahhh, well, only a matter of time.
posted by Kino at 5:17 PM on June 25, 2001

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