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Jim Lanzone Leaves Ask to Join Redpoint Ventures as Entrepreneur in Residence

Rustybrick reports that Jim Safka has taken over as CEO of and that Jim Lanzone has joined Redpoint Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence. Some point to the recent increase traffic at traffic and ask why? It’s hard to tell exactly what terms Jim left under, nevertheless it’s great to see that he either left on his own or was given time to set up this new gig at Redpoint Ventures (if so class move by Mr. Diller). I promise not to overload you with business plan ideas right away but hey reach out to me via phone sometime soon…

In theory, the email admin guy only has to change the email account password – but time will tell there. 🙂

Mr. Safka is notable as the first Top 10 MBA executive of a major search engine (someone correct me if I’m wrong on this) and he gets points in my book for having spent time in Chicago as well as his Top 10 MBA is from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

IAC / gave full text bios of Mr. Safka and other executive appointments:

Jim Safka has been named CEO of Effective immediately, he will oversee’s global operations. He will also continue in his role as CEO of Primal Ventures, a new-venture entity that identifies seeds and incubates business opportunities for IAC.

Mr. Safka, 39, served as CEO of from 2004 to 2006. Under his leadership, the company grew revenue and operating income before amortization at an annual rate of 25% and 52% respectively. Today, has more than 15 million members in 35 countries. Prior to, he held senior management roles at AT&T Wireless and E*TRADE Financial Corporation, and brand and product management positions at Intuit, Alberto-Culver, Inc., Warner Bros. Inc., and Paramount Pictures. Mr. Safka holds an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in accounting from the University of Southern California.

Scott Garell has been named President of, where he will report to Mr. Safka and manage daily business operations worldwide. Since 2005, Mr. Garell has been CEO of IAC Consumer Applications & Portals. Under his leadership the Consumer Applications and Portals businesses (including Fun Web Products, Portals, Evite and Pronto) have grown by 74% in the past 3 years.

Prior to his role as CEO of IAC Consumer Applications & Portals, Mr. Garell, 42, served as Executive Vice President of domestic sites and search, where he managed the division’s destination sites (, iWon, and My Way), as well as the optimization of its proprietary information retrieval technologies and products across all brands. Mr. Garell joined IAC Search & Media in April 2004 as Senior Vice President of Marketing. Formerly, Mr. Garell served in senior roles at Computer Associates, Citysearch and Clorox. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of California at Berkeley.

John Park will replace Mr. Garell and is named President of IAC Consumer Applications and Portals, which includes Smiley Central, Webfetti, Zwinky, My Fun Cards, CursorMania, Popular Screensavers,, iWon, and My Way. Mr. Park is currently Executive Vice President and General Manager of Toolbars and Portals at IAC Consumer Applications & Portals and has served in various senior management roles in the company since 1999. Under his leadership, the Fun Web Products Business has become one of the fastest growing businesses at IAC.

Mr. Park, 38, joined IAC Search; Media from Interactive Search Holdings, which he joined in 1999 as Group Vice President of Product Management and where he was responsible for the original development of and, as well as the revamping of following the 2001 acquisition of the brand from @Home. Prior to ISH, Mr. Park held senior product development and management roles at Ameritrade, Prodigy Services and New York Web. He earned a BS in Information Systems and Management from New York University.

Peter Horan, CEO of IAC Media and Advertising since January 2007, will continue to oversee IAC Advertising Solutions as well as Evite, Pronto, IAC Mobile and Ask Sponsored Listings.

Mr. Horan, 52, has spent more than 30 years in media and advertising. As CEO of he pioneered the company’s turnaround and its sale to The New York Times Company. He served as President & CEO of, an Internet media company that was later acquired by JupiterMedia Corporation. Mr. Horan spent 10 years at International Data Group, a global technology media company, where he spearheaded relationships with top advertisers and served as Senior Vice President and Publisher of Computerworld. Prior to that, he spent more than 15 years in senior account management roles at leading advertising agencies, including BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather.

I look forward to meeting and learning about all these new senior executives and their plans. Good luck to Jim Lanzone, Jim Safka and everyone else in their new roles.

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Ask Launches AskEraser today officially announces AskEraser. What’s AskEraser?

When enabled by the user, AskEraser completely deletes all future search queries and associated cookie information from servers, including IP address, User ID, Session ID, and the complete text of their queries.

An AskEraser link is featured prominently in the upper right corner of the homepage and search results pages – clearly and constantly indicating to the user that their search activity will be ‘erased’ from servers. AskEraser remains ‘on’ for searches conducted across’s major search verticals: Web, Images, AskCity, News, Blogs, Video, and Maps & Directions – and can be turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ by the user at anytime.

AskEraser is a switch that enables you to turn off tracking on, it’s located in the upper right have corner of








Is this important? Yes. Will it convert users to Yes, but I don’t know when the tidal wave will occur.

What do you mean by you don’t know exactly when? What I mean is this an event driven asset that is likely to drive conversions of people when Google or another search engine has a larger data or privacy breach that creates considerable news. These types of things are almost guaranteed to happen in the future, but does that mean today or a decade from now? I can’t tell ya that. In the meantime, should continue to build budget for evangelist assets to convert one new user at a time – using the concept of “not how many but who” as Seth Godin points out in his new book Meatball Sundae. Good luck to Ask with the effort.

Barry Schwartz has a nice write up as well at Search Engine Land.

Some people have questioned the ability to have both privacy and bookmarks, a comment on Andy Beal’s blog asks this question:

Allen Taylor Says:
Yes, and there’s another reason this isn’t such great news. In order to use MyStuff you have to turn AskEraser off, which brings up an important personal security question. What if I save a website to MyStuff? Will the query performed to find that website be erased when I turn AskEraser back on? It seems I have a choice: I can have privacy or I can have bookmarks, but I can’t have both.

Could someone from Ask, say Gary Price or Patrick, please clarify this issue by answering Allen’s question?

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Ad Age Interviews IAC’s Barry Diller

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 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.

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IAC Split Up Conference Call Summary

In the call it was stated that Barry Diller will continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IAC. There are a ton of other reports. I won’t repeat all of that, I’ll just point out the conference call highlights. He’s quite animated and interesting to listen to, I wish he did loosely structured calls like this more often.

The new metric is query growthI find that to a strong signal about and other properties

– On Video – there is so much runway ahead

– Mobile – nobody has really started yet

– Internet advertising is effective and trackable

This is an exciting change for IAC, look for good things in 2008.

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Will You Attend SMX Local & Mobile Denver Next Week

I’ll be attending the first ever SMX Local & Mobile conference next week in Denver!!! Chris Sherman, who talks about why he is excited about the event in this post, and Greg Sterling have both put in a tremendous amount of work into researching and programming this highly unique and special event.

You may view the full agenda and you may still register for the event.

I arrive at Noon on Sunday (where is the Sunday pre-conference meetup – The Hyatt?) and hope to meet with as many attendees as possible before and during the event as I look forward to learning about people and seeing the demos in this soon to be revolutionary space.

See you in Denver! I’ll also have room for one or two on the way back to the airport as I’m renting a car while there.

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Bloglines Version 3.0 Beta Launched

Bloglines has relaunched with with a quicker and cleaner interface based on my short period of new usage this morning. I’m checking it out more right now. Gary Price has a nice summary of the new features at Resourceshelf and there is the official Bloglines announcement.

On a related topic, you may have noticed that I’ve relaunched my blog’s RSS feed using Feedburner’s Mybrand feature, I’ll be writing a more detailed post someday when I wrap up some last loose ends and have time.  The correct RSS feed that you should please switch to is now:

If you have a Bloglines account, please add my new feed to Bloglines. If you don’t, I’d ask that you please test out your new Bloglines account with my new feed as your test run.