Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines: Kool-aid Drinkers Pontificate
I was traveling on Saturday and came late to the news that Ask Jeeves is acquiring Bloglines. I'm an obsessive Bloglines user and am excited about the possibilities of the union. Ask Jeeves is typically dismissed by people who think Google can do no wrong. This is a simpleton's take on a little company who is up against the cash fat big three. So I decided to take some time to go over the numerous blog entries discussing the purchase and I found that the comments generally fall within three buckets:
These posts typically view the deal as a great fit for both companies. Bloglines would most likely find it difficult or impossible to survive on its own and Ask Jeeves needs an established personalization platform to give a shot in the arm to its MyJeeves product. In addition, Ask Jeeves can now add Bloglines feed search to their SERP thereby adding much needed "live web" coverage it has lacked.
These posts generally revolve around a fear that Ask Jeeves is going to ruin something they love. I find these posts to be quite strange. Why would Ask Jeeves buy a proven product to then turn around and ruin it? I have a feeling that if Yahoo or Google bought Bloglines the same hand wringing would not be going on or at least not with the same level of concern. Also, where is their faith in Mark Fletcher? According to rumors he is joining the team and I expect he will make a great product better with the additional resources.
These posts are generally from robotic searchers (don't try out alternatives) who perhaps can't see that the search world is bigger than Google. They typically act surprised that Ask Jeeves is around or that it is relevant in anyway. My advice to these people is to take some time to seriously compare the search engines and keep up with the industry. I think they'll find that they all engines have strengths and weaknesses and that no single search engine can satisfy every search.
Congratulations to all involved in the deal. It is one of the most important moves of the year so far and I can't wait to see what evolves out of it.