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Ixquick: a Metaengine Searching for Revenues

30 August 2001 12:34
By Tornado Staff

Google will no longer be alone. The American Internet search engine giant will no longer be able to ignore meta-engines such as Indeed, the German magazine PC Professionnell has just assigned Ixquick an award for outright best out of 75 meta-engines. Its software performs searches on the Internet supplying its own results by integrating the data obtained from several search engines.

Ixquick was invented by an American student, and taken over in September 2000 by the Dutch group Surfboard Holding, through the acquisition, for just under $10 million, of the US company At that time Surfboard Holding already held and, meta search engines that are now incorporated into Ixquick’s platform. The Haarlem-based group now offers users four search engines on the web, including, all based on the Ixquick platform. The latter has 25 million pages viewed per month and according to the portal Traffick, specializing in search engine information, it is in fourth place in the meta-engine stakes, after, Profusion and Metacrawler.

Surfboard Holding, which was set up in 1998, closed two rounds of funding received in 1999 and 2000 from consortiums of investors led by Holland Venture. Founded and headed by the former president of the Dutch Association of venture capitalists, Rolf Deves, Holland Venture made its last investment in Surfboard Holding in November 2000, injecting around €11 million into the funds of the group led by Stephan Van der Velden, the very day after the acquisition of

Following its award from PC Professionnell, Surfboard is on the crest of a wave: “By the end of this year we will reach breakeven”, specifies the company’s CEO, Van der Velden. “Our business model consists of creating revenues for Ixquick through advertising and secondly through its technology licenses. In any case, if a good opportunity to sell Ixquick should arise, we would willingly evaluate it”.

Not by chance, Ixquick’s business model follows that of Google, the most successful search engine on the web, which attains at least half of its revenues, estimated at around $50 million in 2002, from advertising. But the Google’s success in online advertising is owed to a controversial system: advertisers are allowed to place their products at the top of the search results, simply by acquiring a series of key words which they link to the name of their company, at a price varying between $0.15 and 0.8. The result: the 100 million searches performed daily on the Internet through Google are in fact driven by specific commercial interests.

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