SideStep Launches Activities Search

April 27, 2006

SideStep today launched Activities Search Beta which offers comprehensive, real time search and quick links to booking options for local entertainment in categories such as Museums, Sports, Outdoor & Adventure, Amusement & Theme Park, and Dining. The service also offers powerful filtering options such as duration (3 Hour tour or all day tour?), city (Visiting NYC? You might want to see Stamford, CT), and day (Rest the first couple days and then choose an Segway tour for the third day of your trip).

This service isn’t just for someone planning a vacation, but also for anyone who wants to book an activity in his or her local area. SideStep’s Activity Search would actually be a very strong stand alone offering, but has even more potential when integrated into flight and hotel searches.

You’d think that something like this is already out there…but I think that SideStep is the first to comprehensively aggregate disparate types of activities through search, provide advanced filtering capabilities, and then link to activity providers where you can buy tickets. It’s taking CitySearch to the next logical level.

Read my introduction to SideStep Activity Search over at VerticalSearch.net…it was written at around 1am this morning, so please excuse any errors.


Shopping.com’s Q1 2006 Revenue and Earnings

April 25, 2006

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not too impressed with Shopping.com at the moment. I think the company has incredible potential and after a wave of personnel changes (remember, it’s 6+ months after the eBay acquisition closed), Shopping.com should now be getting back to basics; providing a great user experience.

If you think I’ve been unfairly bearish on Shopping.com, it seems that I’m not the only one with this opinion. I think the eBay earnings call completely backs up my position.

-First, the announcement of eBay’s Q1 2006 results – the standard press release that eBay put on the wires – made Shopping.com look like the ugly step-child of eBay…

“Q1 was an excellent quarter for the company, with strong growth across our portfolio of businesses,” said Meg
Whitman, President and CEO of eBay Inc. “eBay, PayPal and Skype are successful businesses on their own,
and together they create additional opportunities for innovation and expansion.”

Is Meg saying that Shopping.com is not a successful business on its own? You can spin that any way you want, but that hurts.

Read the rest of this entry »


Scripps’ (SSP) Q1 Results

April 25, 2006

Scripps (NYSE: SSP) is up just over 2% in early morning trading (9:58am).

Here is Scripps’ first quarter earnings release.

Relevant Shopzilla numbers:

Interactive media revenue from the company’s online comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch, was $58.6 million for the first quarter. Segment profit was $13.9 million.

Interactive media results include revenue and a contribution to segment profit from uSwitch for the two-week period after it was acquired by Scripps on March 16. The company acquired Shopzilla on June 27, 2005. At Shopzilla, revenue was $55.6 million, up 107 percent on a pro forma basis.

This compares to Q1 2005 results of $26.9m in revenue and $6.3m in profit. I’m hoping Scripps breaks out segment profit for Shopzilla on the conference call so we can also do an apples to apples comparison of on that front.

I won’t be able to listen to the call this morning, but I’ll check out the transcript later on today. A quick look at year over year (Y/Y) growth for Scripps other businesses shows how important the interactive unit is. Revenue for:
Newspapers is up 2.3% Y/Y
Licensing and other media is down 8.6% Y/Y
Broadcast television is up 15.9% Y/Y

Without interactive media growth of 100%+, Scripps just looks like another old school media company.


IMing

April 24, 2006

My IM systems have been on the fritz. I just got back up and running. If you sent an IM to my Yahoo! handle in the last couple weeks, I wasn’t ignoring you.

Please try contacting me again.

Y! IM: brismi
AOL, Skype: brismiandrew


Bob Tedeschi’s Wiki Article In NYTimes

April 24, 2006

Tedeschi’s e-commerce report has become a must read the last couple months.

Today he covers Wikis from ShopWiki, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

Read the article


Catching Up – This Week In Shopping Search

April 24, 2006

Way behind on posts & emails. Sorry. Should be able to get caught up today…

What to expect this week:
-Closer look at ShopWiki (you’ve got the shopping engine facts, now let’s see what’s under the hood).
-Return to mobile. I introduced Frucall a couple weeks ago, this week it’s Slifter (consumer side)/GPShopper (marketer side).
-eBay’s conference call – where’s Shopping.com?
-Scripps’ conference call (Tuesday morning) – will Shopzilla continue to drive growth? Any further details on uSwitch?
-Thoughts on Ad:Tech
-and more…


Vertical Search Remains Hot

April 19, 2006

While I’m trying to keep ComparisonEngines focused on shopping search, I think it’s important to keep you up to speed on other verticals like job search and travel search.

-SimplyHired announced a $13.5m investment led by Fox Interactive Media (FIM) and Foundation Capital. This is a continuation of a trend in which old school media companies are investing in high growth vertical search engines. NYTimes and Indeed. Scripps and Shopzilla. IAC and Pronto.

-While most reporters picked up on all the bells and whistles that came with FareChase’s official launch, what’s more important is that FareChase results are now integrated into Yahoo! search results. This is a big step forward for travel search.

If you’re interested in vertical search, make sure to check out VerticalSearch.net, where I cover job search and travel search.


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