Friday, July 01, 2005

Ask Jeeves, TPI, MSN, etc. Agreements, Strategy, Excitement

Alright, so yesterday’s news of TPI’s upcoming Noxtrum search engine adventure, took more than a few by surprise, after they signed an agreement with MSN just 10 days back to provide MSN Paginas Amarillas (MSN Yellow Pages).

But when that seemed to be the peak, today’s developments proved to put yet another, much more mind-boggling twist to the situation. Let’s just say, it’s not about being faithful to one these days and competition is not always an obstacle.

Ask Jeeves has now made an alliance with a number of companies in Spain to prep them for their official marketing launch in September. El Corte Ingles, the shopping monster will provide the product search. This is a very solid move on Ask Jeeves part, considering El Corte Ingles’ longtime reputation and trust with the Spanish public, as a company that can be trusted—even online. Not to mention the traffic El Corte Ingles website enjoys. The partnership with Vocento will provide latest news, and Softonic, part of Grupo Intercom and the most popular free and paid software download service, will provide an additional attraction to the Ask Jeeves Spanish search engine.



But where it gets especially interesting and unforeseen is that Ask Jeeves has also signed an agreement with TPI to do none other than to use their Yellow Pages for LOCAL businesses’ contact information. This sets all theories upside down and overboard. What’s next for the Noxtrum search engine that TPI plans to put in action by the end of this year? Perhaps seeing potential competitors shake hands in strategic agreements is a very good thing, but it’s definitely not easy to digest. As mentioned in an earlier post, TPI definitely has the ball in their court, since they own the Yellow Pages, golden local information, in more ways than one.

When it comes to Noxtrum, sources in the sector are not very optimistic: “I do not believe that they are going to be very successful. It will be very difficult for them to compete with the global leaders, because these have hundreds of engineers trying to invent new things in search'. But let’s not get to discouraged; a new player in a growing market can only add to the fire.

The above is food for thought, but there is more exciting news on Ask Jeeves’ plans in Spain. And speaking of competition, Ask Jeeves is well aware of its upcoming challenges, and understands it’s not Google they’re going to be up against, who receives 94% of all of Spain’s searches. Miguel Acosta, European New Business Development Director for Ask Jeeves, in charge of Spain, says that “although we arrive after Yahoo and MSN, they are fresh and are the only search engine that offers a differentiated search experience for the consumer.” With that said, it’s official; Ask Jeeves will be making a marketing push in September and expects to spend over a million on the marketing campaign. After launching Ask Jeeves España (beta) for the first time in Spain this last April and now during the intense testing period, receiving some very professional input from experts like the founders of E-Dreams and Buongiorno MyAlert, they want to be come the alternative to the rest.

Finally, before the big push, Ask Jeeves will also close additional deals with important portals to consolidate traffic. Like in other countries, the idea in Spain is to generate profits solely through advertising. For that, Ask Jeeves España will continue to rely on Google’s AdWords technology in Spain, as they are already doing in the U.S. and U.K.

All in all, when summer has passed, the search engine frenzy will flood Spain with a different kind of heat.

Sources:

Cinco Días