Natural Search Blog


Local Search Behemoth InfoSpace Cashed Out

Last year when InfoSpace decided to sell off Switchboard, other directories, and their mobile services, I wondered if they were just cashing out. Yesterday’s New York Times article, “Once an Internet Giant, InfoSpace Dismantles Itself“, would appear to verify that they did indeed cash out.

Infospace (more…)

Verizon Hijacks Mistyped Domains

I was stunned today to read this report by Martin Bosworth at Consumeraffiars.com on how Verizon is delivering up custom search results pages to fiber-optic users when they misspell domain names. Since I started working from home here in the Dallas area this Spring, I’d upgraded to Verizon’s FiOS service, so this change would affect me directly. Indeed, after a moment’s worth of testing, I see that I am being sent to a Verizon search results page when I type in a domain name that doesn’t exist:

Verizon Hijacking Mistyped Domains
(click to enlarge)

It’s not all that surprising that Verizon might do this, since they oppose net neutrality, but for users like myself, this is highly undesirable. I’ve been highly complimentary about Verizon’s FiOS service, because I’ve had excellent speed and high quality from it. I work from home providing expertise around internet technologies, so it’s vital that I be able to clearly experience the internet just as the majority of the rest of internet users out there, so having Verizon meddling with what’s delivered up to me is not cool.

If you all recall, another company did something quite similar to this back in 2003: Verisign previously did something quite similar when they abruptly launched their “Site Finder” service which (more…)

Infospace to Merge with Marchex?

MarchexAt least, that’s what this Forbes article theorizes as one possible explanation, quoting a Wall Street analyst:

“Scott Sutherland, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, said the most likely scenario is that the company will take InfoSpace private to save money or merge with the search and media company, Marchex, whose executives are former executives at InfoSpace.”

Just yesterday, I expressed a bit of confusion about why InfoSpace made deals to sell off their mobile services to Motricity, and sell off directory services to Idearc’s Superpages… (more…)

Is InfoSpace Cashing Out?

First it was announced that InfoSpace was selling Switchboard and other directory properties of theirs to Idearc for $225 million. Today InfoSpace announces that they’re selling off their mobile services business for $135 million.

Infospace

InfoSpace’s release says that they’re selling off the mobile services “…to focus on online search”. They’re apparently going to also give a chunk of this change back to their shareholders in a dividend.

This just makes me wonder, is Infospace cashing out?

Local search has been one of Infospace’s strengths over time — they even changed their core website a few years ago to focus on local search & yellow pages more — prior to that they’d been a more general search engine (they still own general meta search engines like Dogpile.com).

Also, this mobile service sale seems odd since the rest of the internet marketing industry is starting to hyper-focus on mobile search and services.

Even though “yellow pages” directories are not exactly the same thing as local search, you’d expect for InfoSpace to hold onto the assets (and hold onto the mobile services), or to sell the assets to use the money to capitalize on the search areas where they want to focus. So, why are they doing this?

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