Last week, I wrote about the breakup of IAC by Barry Diller. At the time I stated:
He’s quite animated and interesting to listen to, I wish he did loosely structured calls like this more often.
Today Adage released an interview with Mr. Diller. In it he adds some sensibility to the Facebook valuation discussions, confirms that the Google sponsored listings deal is for five years and discusses how he’d like to buy AOL. I’d love to pick his brain on the future of Ask in a more detailed interview. It’s clear that he is shaking up a lot of things and it will be interesting to watch this breakup as it progresses for clues as to how the company will be run going forward.
Ad Age: You in the past have had a pretty good grasp on speculation. What do you think of the valuations being thrown around about a site like Facebook?
Mr. Diller: Those are not valuations based on anything fundamental; those are valuations based upon rather enormous hopes and dreams. Not that they won’t necessarily come true, but at this point, that’s what they are in terms of revenue and profits getting to the level that would sustain a very high asset value. … The physics would demand that this becomes more rational at some point, I think maybe sooner rather than later. But again, that’s a prediction based on nothing but hot air, to mix many different metaphors.
Ad Age: I can’t let you go without asking about Ask. Are you happy with how Ask.com is doing?
Mr. Diller: We feel great. We’ve been able to grow queries second only to Google. We’ve increased retention, frequency. All the metrics for Ask are very good. Now we have a new five-year arrangement with Google on the sponsored listings that’s going to be very, very remunerative to us. Ask is going to be able to continue to innovate.