When I first read that Lycos had kicked out Windows Live Search and replaced it with Ask.com, I thought that it was a story about midget wrestling, but David Utter at WebProNews says there’s more and it’s a biggie:
If Lycos as a name does not grab your attention right away, you may be missing the size of the scope of the deal that has Ask replacing a couple of pretty big names on the Lycos network.
Before the start of November, Lycos delivered search results from Microsoft’s Windows Live Search. Google delivered the sponsored search advertising to Lycos visitors.
That’s all changed now. Earlier today, Ask announced its deal with Lycos, booting out Google and Microsoft from that network. Again, you may think, “so what?”
“The query volume that Lycos generates is in the same ballpark as MySpace’s,” Andrew Moers, Ask VP for Business Development & Syndication Solutions, told WebProNews in an email interview. “It was a very competitive deal process and we worked hard to win this one.”
A high query volume means more ad exposures, which should lead to more clicks and more revenue.
Moers claims that comScore undercounts Lycos searches and while that is certainly possible, the proof will be in the dollars. Speaking of which, Ask’s parent, InterActiveCorp, reported sharply better 3Q results, particularly in their media and advertising unit which includes Ask.com. It also doesn’t hurt that IAC is owned by Barry Diller who provides a halo effect similar to Steve Jobs.
The net is that Ask.com has some spiffy new search features and is aggressively and apparently profitably making a move on fourth place in the search engine rankings by passing AOL in September even according to comScore. Next step, Microsoft who is in third place.