IAC Profits, But Misses Expectations

Q4 2008 was an important time for IAC—it was their first full quarter going it alone, after they spun off four businesses, a change announced in November 2007 that finally took effect in August 2008. And, as for everyone else, Q408 was not an easy time for the now solo company.

On the plus side, as the New York Times reports, IAC did post a profit: $227.4 million, or $1.57 per share for the company which now includes Match.com and Ask.com. In Q407, the then-much-larger company posted a loss of $369.9 million, or $2.53 per share.

However, some of this success comes with a definite price: the $493 million sale of 30% of a Japanese shopping network (with a benefit of $242.5 million from the sale). And the company’s revenue fell 7%, missing analysts’ predictions by almost $18 billion (a “modest miss” according to one analyst).

Worse still, Ask.com didn’t fare as well as their parent company did overall:

The company’s media and advertising unit — which includes search engine Ask.com — reported revenue sank 19 percent to $183.7 million. IAC said this was due in part to the removal of toolbars and search boxes from a variety of non-IAC sites as it moves to place them mostly on its own Web sites.

IAC also said that fewer searches were performed at proprietary Web properties such as Ask.com and at Fun Web Products sites. It attributed the drop in Ask.com searches to lower marketing spending.

IAC said revenue per search rose overall at its proprietary Web sites, but revenue per search at Ask.com dropped. The company attributed this to users clicking fewer times during visits to the site as they were able to find what they wanted more quickly in the wake of Ask.com’s relaunch in October.

For the full year, the company posted a loss.

What do you think? Is this the end for Ask.com? Or will their fortunes turn around with the economy (if they can just hold on long enough)?

  • http://www.motorcrunch.com/ motorbeam

    Are you sure about Q4? A quarter is 4 months together, so your talking about Q3 and not Q4?

    motorbeam’s last blog post..Mahindra To Launch Hybrid & Electric

  • Jordan McCollum

    A quarter is one fourth of a year. A year is 12 months, so one quarter of a year is three months, and each year has four quarters (hence the name “quarter”).

  • Ross Bradley

    *Is this the end for Ask.com? Or will their fortunes turn around with the economy (if they can just hold on long enough)?*

    Far from even considering your above thoughts to the negative, I’d see the ‘ask.com’ story as one being almost at what I’d even call, “a new beginning”. I see ask.com as almost the center-piece of the IACI’s total offerings. And with recent acquisitions like Dictionary.com the Co’s ‘unique user’ base is growing quickly. They (IACI), had also launched an ad network too, around July and appear to be concentrating on verticals of some sort. – http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-9975020-36.html

    The low key approach generally being taken by the ‘industry’ in relation to Ad networks, Exchanges and their exciting Global involvements that are now getting to fully ‘unfolding’, actually surprises me, and very much so. And this is a market now said to involve what is estimated as, a $65 billion global online advertising industry. Only just yesterday we were told in a MediaPost article, that one of those advertising technology companies (The Rubicon Project), is seeing phenomenal growth. They claim to reach more than 320 million unique Internet users and were awarded the the OnMedia top honor, of being ‘Company of the Year’.

    http://rubiconproject.com/press/company-of-the-year

    The Rubicon Project tell us that they have seen 80 percent revenue growth and say they have tripled their marketshare (Q/Q), and are now working with 1300 publishers and 375 of the 400 online ad networks. And Quantcast, (apparently), say it is now the third largest Internet platform behind Google and Yahoo, in terms of reach.

    So where does that leave IACI and ask.com? Particularly when it was reported recently that Google have dropped their adsence program with ask.com may make some wonder, I guess?

    I feel that with a search-box dropped on all page results of as many of it’s own vertical sites (perhaps even a “set” of vertical-ised results, handy or, close by?) and to then having those 40% “eye-balls” coming to them from “off-shore USA”, will make a huge difference. Especially, with what may be fully “geo-d” Ads back in their respective Country, State, City or, even down to a user’s IP address, is my understanding. (And a capability through Looksmart’s AdCenter for publishers – I believe?). This will then get to see both ask.com and IACI with much stronger revenues from such, in the not too distant future, IMO.

    Cheers