News of Note – Oct. 6, 2004

Lots of news worth noting that I thought it was necessary to package it up in one blog post.

Idealab!, a technology incubator and holding company created by Bill Gross, the founder and former CEO of Overture Services, unveiled two new companies with search-related products at the Web 2.0 Conference taking place near San Francisco, Calif., this week. Of note, former Wired magazine reporter and current blogger John Battelle is Program Chair of the conference.

The companies are:

1. Perfect Market Technologies, Inc. and its innovative Snap search engine that could revolutionize the way the world finds information. I’m still not convinced it will do that, but it does have some innovative new features, such as cataloging, analyzing, and retrieving searchstream and clickstream data to sort search results for a given query. Its technology is powered by LookSmart, GigaBlast, and another Idealab! company called X1 Technologies. It purchased the domain name from industrial manufacturing and financial services conglomerate General Electric several months ago. GE and CNET Networks had previously run a joint-venture search engine of the same name that flamed out in grand style of the famed dot-com bust of 2001.

2. Insider Pages – a sort of social-networking meets search engine meets personalization and localization type site. Again, it shows promise but I’m not convinced it will be successful. It has a bit of a high-flying business model.

Also at Web 2.0, Excite co-founders Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer took the wraps off of their new company, JotSpot, Inc. JotSpot is a company that has developed a Wiki platform with multiple uses, from corporate intranets to e-mail message archiving.

Rojo Networks, Inc., debuted a service aptly-titled Rojo that allows users to manage online content similar to the way Furl works, but with the added twist: the ability to store information flow, or searchstream data, as well. As an aside, Furl was recently acquired for an undisclosed, although predictably small, sum by LookSmart., Inc., relaunched its quasi-popular search engine.

Yesterday, Blogger co-founder Evan Williams announced that Thursday, Oct. 7/04 would be his last day employed by Google. He’s leaving to go on sabbatical, travelling, reading, and blogging for an extended period of time. After that, he pretty much left it open-ended, saying he may eventually return to launch a new dot-com start-up. He seems to be following in the footsteps of Blogger co-founder Meg Hourihan, who announced in August she returned from her three month sabbatical in May but would no longer be employed in the high-tech sector. Instead, she took a pay cut and went from geek to chef.

From the dot-com industry to the forest sector. Vancouver, BC-based International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor) announced it has agreed to purchase Kelowna, BC-based Riverside Forest Products Ltd. (Riverside) for $396 million in cash and Interfor stock that is expected to be completed by the end of November, subject to shareholder approval and conditional upon 51% of Riverside shareholders tendering their shares to Interfor. It’s considered a white knight bid to counter privately-held Vernon, BC-based Tolko Industries Ltd.’s hostile bid for Riverside.


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