Kayak.com Acquiring Rival SideStep.com

Travel search engine Kayak.com is paying $196 million to acquire its closest competitor SideStep.com. Both are search engines to help travelers find the best prices on airfare, hotels, and car rentals. Like most search engines, they make money with partnerships and advertising.

The deal was financed from many sources, starting with Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Accel Partners. SideStep investors include Norwest Venture Partners and Trident Capital. New investors Oak Investment Partners and Lehman Brothers Venture Partners.

They do plan to keep both sites separate in style and branding but combine some of their technology. Kayak looks more like a search engine, while SideStep is has a richer interface and more content (Kayak’s blog could use some influence from SideStep). Kayak has some plugins and widgets while SideStep has a review site and social network for travelers.

iTunes to Get Movie Rentals

UPDATE: Less than a year after launching, Walmart shut down their video download service. The reason – poor performance. “Download sales equaled about 1 percent of the $24.5 billion in DVD and home video sales and rentals in 2006, but industry experts expect downloads to grow to 10 percent within a decade.”

Finally – movie rentals are coming to iTunes. Yesterday, Twentieth Century Fox signed a deal with Apple so you’ll be able to download DVD releases on iTunes. In the past you could buy movies from Disney, Paramont, and others. This is the first iTunes rental service.

While Apple isn’t the first to offer this service, they have better distribution. According to MarketingVox, most people don’t relish watching a movie from their PC or iPod. As of last year just 3% of Americans have downloaded full-length movies. NetFlix was going to offer this service in 2005, but couldn’t get the studios to agree to license their content.

Pilgrim’s Picks for December 27

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying that time of year where you don’t work too hard, but it’s OK ‘cos the boss is sunning himself in Hawaii. ;-)

News is starting to pick up a little and we’ll have full service starting January 2nd. In the meantime, as promised, here’s what’s happening over the holidays.

Merry Christmas

I’d like to be among the first to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

I hope you are enjoying time with your loved ones and keep safe today.

Andy

Track Santa Claus Live!

As Janet first reported back at the beginning of December, kids of all ages can track Santa thanks to NORAD and Google.

At the “NORAD Tracks Santa” site, you can view Santa’s progress on Google Maps, and YouTube has videos from inside Santa’s sleigh!

NORAD is updating its Santa tracking every 5 minutes and it’s not too late to send Father Christmas an email.

Pilgrim’s Picks for December 24

There’s very little to report today–other than Santa is coming!

If you’re looking for some internet marketing news to keep you going through Christmas, here’s what’s buzzing on my link blog.


Search Insider Summit: Widgets!

Ever hear of widgets? It’s the buzzword of the year for the Web, but few still appreciate how to best use them. How can you use widgets to increase the inbound links to your site? Are there widget directories you can optimize for? What social media strategies are most effective?

Moderator: Bill Flitter, VP, Marketing, Founder, Pheedo

  • Steven Marder, CEO, Eurekster
  • Ben Pashman, VP Business Development, Gigya

Bill Flitter
RSS, new media, blogging, social media. That’s what Pheedo does. We help publishers analyze and use dist content. Thinking re: results
round and round widgets—’widgets’ used to be a generic term, but now it has a meaning

Brainstorming what we, the audience, want to know—we design the session.

  • What makes a great widget? What makes people want it?