Ask.com has announced that it will be purchasing the online reference network of Lexico Publishing Group, which owns and operates Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and Reference.com.The move marks one of the first by the new IAC homegrown Safka regime of Ask.com, and Ask.com CEO Jim Safka says that the Lexico properties are an excellent fit into the Ask.com model, especially with “highly profitable, with high double-digit growth for a couple years.”
Truth be told, this is an impressive move by Ask.com because Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and Reference.com will fit perfectly into the Ask.com 3D Blended Model of total information in search results, and if Ask.com uses Lexico information in their Smart Answers, they are keeping searches within IAC / Ask.com properties which are well respected across the web.
The acquisition should lift Ask.com’s user numbers by 11%, to a total monthly visitor count of somewhere around 145 million [CNET]
Furthermore, Lexico has a thriving browser toolbar download business, especially with students, a market which Ask.com has done a very fine job of monetizing.
All in all, despite Ask.com not yet releasing the terms of the acquisition, a very intelligent move by Ask.com and CEO Safka. I hope for more similar announcements to come out of the company.