LookSmart Performs Despite MSN Split and Acquisitions
LookSmart more or less broke even last quarter to the surprise of many analysts after LookSmart announced their financial results for the third quarter which ended on September 30, 2004. LookSmart currently provides paid search results through a distribution network that includes Lycos, CNET, InfoSpace (Excite, MetaCrawler, Webcrawler), Cox Interactive, Apple’s Sherlock, U.C. Berkeley and LookSmart.com.
The one BIG PARTNER which was missing from this list was Microsoft MSN, which LookSmart lost this year when MSN decided to get serious on search and develop their own search engine, serving Overture and MSN paid results. According to LookSmart’s third quarter results they did however continue to grow their distribution network, adding eight new partners during the third quarter.
LookSmart also made some rather interesting acquisitions over the year. One being NetNanny, the parental control software, used by parents, schools, libraries and other institutions to filter pornographic and other inappropriate content from the Web. Net Nanny search is built on a LookSmart-powered search index.
The other acquisition was a bit more cutting edge than parental web controls and may be introducing LookSmart results to a more tech savvy web user base. Furl.net, an innovative service that enables users to save a full-text copy of any page on the Web, then search and share that data. Furl allows members to simply and securely save copies of online articles, product information, electronic receipts, favorite Web sites and other interesting or important pages. Members can instantly find what they need by searching their personal archive and the entire Web, through the Furl toolbar or directly at Furl.net, from any computer. Furl also provides many options to share and discover compelling information via email subscriptions, RSS feeds, blog integration and personalized recommendations.
According to the earnings report, LookSmart reported total revenue of $17.5 million for the third quarter of 2004, which is ahead of its prior guidance of $16.0 to $17.0 million and includes no material revenue from MSN or discontinued international operations, as anticipated.
This represents a slight increase compared to core business revenue (excluding MSN and discontinued international operations) of $17.4 million in the second quarter of 2004 and an 82% increase from $9.6 million in the third quarter of 2003. For the nine months ended September 30, 2004, revenue from LookSmart’s core business was $51.1 million, up 77% from $28.9 million in the same period of 2003.