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IAC Will Buy About.com From New York Times

Doug, there were a lot players interested in About.com, how did you guys seal the deal?

Well I think it was a compelling combination for all of us involved. It’s historic for us because we’ve been moving from, really, a pure search place, back to our roots as Q&A, we see our users asking much more long-form questions, diving into content.

And when we saw About.com, which has some of the best contents on the web we knew it was great strategic fit for us and we think everyone saw the same thing.

Just for fun, I decided to search, ask today for how you change a flat tire. There were a few different searches that came up including an EHow video. Should we assume that E-How videos will be lower on the list and the About.com material is going to be higher?

Well look, we certainly want to give Ask users the best experience possible and we think that happens when they get About content. About content is written by over nine hundred editors who are experts in their fields, they’ve been at this on average for over eleven years. They really know their user base. It’s a very similar user base to About.com’s. so we’re excited about getting more About content higher on the Ask.com’s page.

Let’s just show people the com score search results in the US. Martin Sheen in the period of July. Google at the top of the list with more than two-thirds of the market. Ask had about three percent of the market but Google and Ask are key partners. You have been since 2007 and you use their technology. What about going forward? I think that’s an agreement that’s in place until 2016. What after that?

Well they’ve been a very good partner for us and they’ve helped us grow our business and I continue to see good things ahead. I think this deal helps build our business and that’s only good for both us and Google.

And what about deals for Ask.com? I mean, if you think about what IFC’s been doing over the last few years, in a lot ways it’s been making the business a little simpler. Should we assume because of this deal we’re going to see Ask.com doing a lot more acquisitions?

Well this is our second acquisition of the summer. I don’t know how many more we’ll do. We really are looking for companies that help build our core business, as I mentioned this one is very simple because our users come to us looking for content and we know that when they come to Ask.com and they stay engaged in the content we can provide them they become our most loyal users. About.com content has some of the highest engagement on the web and we think it makes a ton of sense to let users on Ask.com get to About.com sites and enjoy that content.

Doug, before we go, obviously we’ve been talking a lot about Apple vs. Samsung Doug and companies like Google have pushed with Android because mobile is so important. Where does Ask fit into that landscape. I mean, what are you doing to make sure the people are going to be searching your search engine on their phones as opposed to on their desktops?

Well look, mobile is exploding, it’s exploding for us, it’s exploding for About.com. What we think the right strategy is to be there to answer people’s questions ‘cause we know that happens even more often on mobile than it does on desktop. So our strategy around content really is focused on: where can we intercept a question wherever it exists and give a great quality answer and About.com helps us do that as much as anything.

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